Kathmandu Declaration: recommendations for financing communities most vulnerable to climate change

At the close of the 8th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA8) in April 2014, delegates released a declaration that called for a radical shift in flows of finance to ensure the most vulnerable communities can adapt to climate change.

News, 14 May 2014
IIED senior fellow Saleemul Huq announces the Kathmandu Declaration to delegates at CBA8 in Nepal in April 2014 (Photo: Stephanie Andrei)

IIED senior fellow Saleemul Huq announces the Kathmandu Declaration to delegates at CBA8 in Nepal in April 2014 (Photo: Stephanie Andrei)

CBA8 was hosted by the International Institute for Environment and Development and aimed to share the latest developments in community-based adaptation financing, planning and best practice in different sectors and countries.

More than 400 participants from over 60 countries attended the event which took place in Kathmandu, Nepal from 24-30 April 2014 and brought together practitioners, researchers and policymakers who helped to formulate the Kathmandu Declaration, which includes among its key recommendations that:

  • Funding must reach local communities and target the most vulnerable. Financing local adaptation can only succeed if it is led by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged countries and communities, tailoring approaches to context-specific needs, and capitalising on communities' values and strengths
  • The needs and priorities of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and groups, including the poor, women, children, youth, indigenous people, landless people, persons with disabilities, whose capacity should be strengthened to access resources for adaptation should be programmatically prioritised
  • Stakeholders must be able to access information about availability, deployment and utilisation of adaptation funding to ensure mutual accountability and transparency, including tracking financial flows at all stages
  • There is a need to guard against maladaptation. Strong environmental and social safeguards and robust multi-stakeholder consultation processes are required to ensure that adaptation interventions do not increase the vulnerability both within and across national borders, and limit the wellbeing and choices of future generations.

The declaration includes further recommendations for strengthening international and national finance for local adaptation, and for promoting private sector investments in community-based adaptation.

"The Kathmandu Declaration has three major asks, two to the global community and one to the national and sub-national," says IIED senior fellow Saleemul Huq. "Firstly, it asks the global community to increase the financial input that is going into adaptation, as opposed to mitigation, and secondly, of the finance that is going to adaptation at a global level, our demand is that at least 50 per cent should be directed to the most vulnerable. At ;the global level, that means the most vulnerable countries, such as the least developed countries, and at the national level that means the most vulnerable communities within countries.

"Our third target of advocacy is the national governments, which are the ones that will decide what to do with the money they get and generate for themselves for adaptation, and we're asking them to allocate 50 per cent to the most vulnerable communities, to monitor how that is spent, and to report how that is spent.

"We are asking everyone to take a look at the Kathmandu Declaration, take it to heart, take it to the appropriate people and demand that funding for adaptation is increased, that the funding that is available is allocated to the most vulnerable, and that at least 50 per cent of adaptation funds go to the most vulnerable countries and people."

Saleemul Huq announces the Kathmandu Declaration

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, welcomed the Kathmandu Declaration and said current funding for adaptation was "pathetically insufficient". She urged countries to include community-based adaptation in their National Adaptation Plans.

Read the full Kathmandu Declaration on Financing Local Adaptation to Climate Change