CBA15 opens with LDC chair warning that 2021 is a critical year for action

The chair of the Least Developed Countries Group on climate change has warned that while the world’s attention has been on COVID-19, the crises on climate, biodiversity loss and poverty continue – and the stakes have never been higher than today.

News, 14 June 2021

Sonam P. Wangdi, chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group at the UN climate negotiations, was speaking at the opening plenary of the 15th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA15)

Wangdi, of Bhutan, said this year was a critical year for action on climate, biodiversity loss and poverty. He said: "While our attention has been on the pandemic, these crises have not left us.”

A tremendous opportunity

Wangdi said: "This year, our collective desire to bounce back stronger from the pandemic presents a tremendous opportunity. The COP15 on biological diversity and COP26 on climate change will be held towards the end of this year. 

"We must use these moments to recommit ourselves and call the major economic leaders to provide leadership to deliver ambitious NDCs [nationally determined contributions] to close the ambition gap, to keep the 1.5° Celsius goal within reach, and to scale up support for real actions on the ground – in particular for locally led adaptation actions.”

The LDC Group represents the 46 nations that are most vulnerable to climate change, despite having done the least to cause it. 

CBA15 is bringing together practitioners, grassroots representatives, local and national government policymakers and donors to discuss how we can drive ambition for a climate-resilient future. The event features five days of discussions, workshops and training sessions. Over 325 participants from more than 50 countries are attending. 

Wangdi said vulnerable and marginalised people suffer the most and are the hardest hit by the crises on climate, biodiversity and poverty. Wangdi said last year's conference, CBA14, had included discussions on developing a set of principles on how climate adaptation can meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Since then, the eight principles for locally led adaptation have been endorsed by more than 40 governments and organisations around the world.

Last month a communique issued by the foreign ministers of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) said the G7 “welcomes the principles for locally led adaptation".

Wangdi said CBA15 was an opportunity to explore what the eight principles mean in practice. He said: “At this CBA... we will seek your perspectives on what needs to change to ensure all people can thrive in prosperous, resilient societies."

"CBA15 is an opportunity for practitioners to be heard on these important issues. It is you, the practitioners and representatives of your communities who are on the frontline of climate change impacts. It is you who have the knowledge and experience we need to inform future progress.”

Conference programme and themes

CBA15 is taking place online from 14-18 June 2021. The opening session was open to the public, and was designed to set the stage for an engaging, interactive conference.

The conference will feature five main themes

  • Climate finance: What does improved access to climate finance look like at the local level, and what do different actors need to do to achieve the change we urgently need?
  • Innovation for adaptation: How can we build partnerships that prioritise and sustain community-led innovation?
  • Responsive policy: How can policy from local to global be refocused so that it prioritises locally-led action and local knowledge?
  • Nature-based solutions: Nature-based solutions for adaptation: how can local communities drive NbS for resilient food systems?
  • Youth inclusion: How can we mainstream and scale youth participation so that they can be equal and capable decision makers for community-based adaptation?

You can review the full conference agenda and register to attend online. A full recording of the opening plenary session of CBA15 is also available on IIED's YouTube channel.