Developing nations put climate change adaptation at the centre of planning

Representatives from governments in Africa and Asia have formed a network to support their efforts to factor climate change into national development planning.

News, 25 April 2013
Community-based adaptation in Bangladesh. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/PANOS

Community-based adaptation in Bangladesh. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/PANOS

The group developed its strategy at the 7th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change, which ended today in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Government Network on Climate Change Mainstreaming and Development includes members from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, The Gambia and Zanzibar – and will expand to include other countries.

The network exists to enable policymakers and planners in countries at risk from climate change to share information and collaborate in ways that can strengthen their policies and plans by ensuring they consider how climate change could affect development.

The network has developed a framework for assessing and planning how to integrate climate into the business of national and sub-national planning professionals. The building blocks of the framework are political will, information and awareness, and resources for programmes and projects. The network is open to any government staff, from all countries.

"This is a like-minded government network, who are committed to mainstream climate change into development planning for resilient nations," says Mousumi Pervin. "The key driving force of the group is to exchange knowledge and practices from their country perspectives, so they can learn and help to bring tangible results for development".

The CBA7 conference – organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies (BCAS) -- brought together over 250 international practitioners, scientists, government and non-government policy and decision makers.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina opened the conference with a strong call for rich countries to help poorer ones to adapt to climate change, but also pointed out that developing nations were already leading the way in adaptation.

"This year's event was especially important in bringing on board significant participation from governments, who now join the civil society based groups that have been mostly involved so far," says Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED’s climate change group. "This seventh annual meeting has demonstrated how far and fast the community of practice has grown over just a few short years."

Conference delegates – and online participants who followed the conference over the internet –learnt about ways that people around the world are adapting to climate change in both rural and urban settings, and how governments can embed adaptation in all policy arenas.

"The conference was very useful both in terms of the things I learned that could be replicated at country level and through the interactive networking opportunities it created," says Lamin Jobe from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in The Gambia. "It has inspired me to advocate for mainstreaming monitoring and evaluation into our climate change planning and implementation processes."

"Bangladesh has reasserted itself as the adaptation capital of the world," says Atiq Rahman, director of BCAS. "The issues of climate, development and vulnerability of the poor must be central to future decision making process. There must be assured, adequate and sustainable financial resources for the poorest of the world impacted by climate change induced extreme events."

Next year’s conference will take place in Nepal and its theme will be 'financing adaptation'.