International climate adaptation conference calls for governments, NGOs and infrastructure investors to work with urban community federations to mainstream and finance local adaptation

Press release, 28 April 2016

The 10th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA10), closed on 28 April in Bangladesh urging NGOs, infrastructure investors and government to work with community federations for mainstreaming local level adaptation and ensuring that finance reaches those most vulnerable to climate change in urban settlements.

An image of Saleemul Huq at the podium giving a speech. On the final day of the CBA10 conference, he called for federations and communities of the urban poor to be better utilised by urban developers, climate change practitioners and local government to mainstream local adaptation (Photo: ICCCAD, Creative Commons, via Flickr)

More than 300 delegates from across the world attended CBA10 in Dhaka from 21-28 April. CBA10 is the latest in a series of international conferences looking at how local communities can and do adapt to climate change.

This year, for the first time, the conference had an urban focus, with the theme of 'enhancing urban community resilience'.

Discussions at the conference highlighted examples of federations and communities of the urban poor coming together to organise themselves and provide an opportunity for urban developers, climate change practitioners and local government to mainstream local adaptation.

Delegates showed that with the right support, these federations can and do build resilience to climate change, and help strengthen the cities they live in. Working with community federations of the urban poor is a 'bottom up' approach to achieve adaptation at scale, which also has benefits for pro-poor urban development.

In many developing countries, shack and slum dwellers associations have the potential to scale up community-based adaptation projects and initiatives and continue the work started by development agencies. These community federations are also important resources for infrastructure development, as they can mobilise support and provide important inputs into building solutions to urban infrastructure challenges, such as housing, sewage and waste management.

Urban community federations represent very poor communities living in cities and should be an important intermediary to ensure that climate finance reaches those who need it the most. 

The concluding ceremony saw representatives from a range of public, civil society, private, local, regional, international agencies, and governmental and non-governmental organisations – agreed and presented a summary of outcomes and recommendations from the conference.

Speakers at CBA10 also reiterated the need to build on the opportunities presented by the Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by 175 countries in New York last week.

Quotes

Rudy Haddad, Homeless People's Federation of the Philippines, says: "We are very grateful to be here at the CBA conference and the learning from here will help strengthen the process of CBA back home. Communities should be the driver in making adaptation sustainable, maintaining links with the government and other stakeholders. Communities can influence donors to fund capacity building to scale up and popularise the issue of climate change in cities."

Saleemul Huq, IIED senior fellow and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), says: "Urban poor communities have begun to work at scale in towns and cities within countries as well as across countries. It is important that national and international policymakers and funders support them to build resilient cities. Without the involvement of the urban poor no city will be resilient."

  • Watch Huq's closing speech, during which he summarised the key statements and outcomes of the conference, on IIED's YouTube channel

Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), says: "We are pleased to successfully conclude the 10th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation. When we first started, climate change was originally perceived to be an environmental problem, but developing countries soon recognised that the poorest communities were going to be most affected by its impact. At that time, there was very little space for that discourse to happen, hence we initiated the process of community-based adaptation which is an integration of climate change, development and poverty."

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UNFCCC, says: "The pipeline of capacity building you have established is creating the leaders and champions of tomorrow. These are the leaders that can and must seize the Paris opportunity. The opportunity is here, the challenge is clear, and the moment is now.

"We must not lose sight of the vulnerable communities – urban and rural – that stand to benefit… from enabling effective adaptation practices and policies."

Notes to editors

The closing plenary session for CBA10 was chaired by Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of BCAS. Speakers included:

  • Saleemul Huq, IIED senior fellow and director of ICCCAD
  • Christiana Figueres, executive secretary, UNFCCC (video address)
  • Kamal Uddin Ahmed, honourable secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh government
  • Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP and president, Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • Rashed Khan Menon, honourable minister, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Bangladesh government

CBA10 was hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, and organised by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) jointly with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS).

The organisers of CBA10 are grateful to the following organisations for their generous funding of the conference: ActionAid, BBC Media Action, CARE, The GEF Small Grants Programme, Hariyo Ban Project, Irish Aid, Islamic Relief Bangladesh, Practical Action, The Rockefeller Foundation, Trust for Nature, UNDP, UNEP, USAID, and WWF.

The Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies is a leading research and policy institute in the non-government sector of Bangladesh. It is independent, non-profit and specialises in policy analysis, action research and project implementation for sustainable development at local, national, regional and global levels.

The Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) is Bangladesh's leading private university with an explicit focus on research and global partnerships. They are a full service university with a current enrolment of 5,500 students, 8,900 alumni and 250 faculty members.

The International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) is a research and training institute for climate change and development, with a focus on adaptation. Based at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) and established in 2009, it conducts research, capacity building and network building with a focus on the global South. The centre draws on local experience, knowledge and research into climate change adaptation in Bangladesh – one of the countries worst affected by climate change. 

IIED is a policy and action research organisation promoting sustainable development and linking local priorities to global challenges. We are based in London and work on five continents with some of the world’s most vulnerable people to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them.