The ‘A’ Factor: accountability for locally led adaptation – episode 2 of podcast mini-series

In the second episode of ‘Locally led adaptation – a time for action’, organisations that have signed up to the principles of locally led adaptation are held to account by two expert judges. Will their plans for tracking progress on putting local people in control of local level adaptation make the grade?

Article, 20 May 2021

IIED has released the second podcast in the mini-series ‘Locally led adaptation – a time for action’.

In this episode, ‘The ‘A’ Factor: accountability for locally led adaptation’, IIED’s Aditya Bahadur is joined by four global practitioners and researchers from organisations that have endorsed the eight principles for locally led adaptation to climate change. Each spells out what they propose to do to enable local people to be in the driving seat of climate adaptation decision-making, and how they will be able to show they are achieving these aims.

The episode’s innovative format is modelled on the UK television programme ‘The X Factor’. On this occasion, the ‘A’ factor stands for 'accountability', and after each ‘contestant’ has presented their plans, two expert ‘judges’ hold them to account. Do they think their ideas will work? What do the judges like and what needs to change?

Judge Lisa Schipper’s reacted to one contestant’s pitch by saying "I think that Colin has painted a fantastic fantasy…" while judge Sheela Patel had even tougher words about another presentation: "I am… I’m taking deep breaths because there is nothing more disempowering than the whole monitoring and evaluation hypocrisy that we see today in development". Listen to the episode to find out more.

This initiative emerges after 40 governments and leading organisations endorsed the principles for locally led adaptation at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021. In the first episode, ‘From principles to practice: commitments from donor organisations’, representatives of three donor organisations that endorsed the principles discussed what they intended to do differently to put the principles into practice.

Image showing the faces of six people

Expert views

Participants in episode 2 are:

Dr Lisa Schipper, an environmental social science research fellow at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. She has been researching adaptation and maladaptation to climate change in developing countries for over two decades, and looks at gender, religion and culture to understand what drives vulnerability

Sheela Patel, the founder and director of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) India, in Mumbai, and works in partnership with the National Slum Dweller Federation and Mahila Milan. She is widely recognised – nationally and internationally – for seeking urgent attention to the issues of urban poverty, housing and infrastructure onto the radar of governments, bilateral and international agencies, foundations and other organisations. 

Colin McQuistan, head of climate and resilience at Practical Action. He has worked extensively on issues related to the poverty-justice dimensions of sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. His main areas of interest are in systems approaches, complexity, resilience, natural capital and the challenge of climate change.

Professor Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and professor at the Independent University Bangladesh. He is an expert in adaptation to climate change in the most vulnerable developing countries, has been a lead author of the third, fourth and fifth assessment reports of the IPCC and advises the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group in the UNFCCC.

Tamara Coger, senior associate in World Resources Institute's Climate Resilience Practice, where she helps to lead the institute’s work on locally led adaptation. She also supports WRI’s portfolio of adaptation research and programmes, including a focus on adaptation measurement and evaluation.

Simon Addison, principal researcher and team leader in IIED's climate governance and finance team, where he leads research and policy initiatives to develop innovative solutions to the climate emergency in low income countries, with a focus on the governance of climate risk and how to design and finance effective, locally-led adaptation action.


You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows: 

The podcast is also available on IIED's YouTube channel.

Further listening

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Listen to our Make Change Happen podcast, which provides informal insights into IIED’s work to create positive change and make the complex issues we face more accessible to wider audiences.