Lessons from vulnerable communities show how to adapt to climate-change

News, 21 March 2011

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, will next week open an international conference at which more than 250 delegates will share the latest knowledge on how vulnerable communities can adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Dr Hasan Mahmud, Bangladesh's Minister of Environment and Forests will be a special guest in the inaugural session of the 5th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change, which takes place in Dhaka from 28-31 March.

Other speakers will include Dr Rajendra Pachauri chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Eusuf Nassef, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.

The conference — organised by Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and the International Institute for Environment and Development — will be webcast live on the IIED website.

It will have four days of themed discussions after three days of visits to community based adaptation projects in vulnerable areas of Bangladesh.

Rising seas, extreme weather, melting glaciers and changing patterns of disease threaten human health, food supplies, livelihoods, economies worldwide, but especially in the world’s poorest communities that have done least to cause the problem.

"While the world’s biggest polluters delay action on climate change, communities in the most vulnerable countries are already facing impacts," says Dr Hannah Reid, a senior researcher in IIED's climate change group. "Governments there need to include plans to adapt to climate change in their national development strategies but first they need to know what works best and how to finance effective actions."

Speakers at the conference will share lessons from adaptation projects in settings as diverse as the highlands of Peru and Nepal, the coasts of Bangladesh, Fiji and the Philippines, the small-scale farms of South Africa and Mali, and the urban centres of India and Vietnam.

"The conference will highlight the ways for governments, donors and civil society organisations to help the poorest communities to increase their resilience to the changing climate," says Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED’s climate change group. "People around the world are already adapting to climate change. We need to share knowledge and experience between policymakers, researchers and development agencies so that communities worldwide can benefit."

If you are not attending we have a variety of ways you can follow the conference proceedings:

Live webcast
With the assistance of One Climate we will be offering a live webcast of conference proceedings. The webcast will be available both on the IIED website and on One World’s website.

There will be a daily video log from Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED's climate change group, and from other participants. These will be posted on conference page of the IIED website.

IIED staff and others will be blogging during the conference so be sure to regularly check in with IIED's Due South blog.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) report
ENB reporters will attend the conference and compile a special report which will be distributed through ENB networks and available to download from the IISD website.

Download the full programme [PDF]

Watch Saleemul Huq’s short video message about the conference

Download the publication from last year's conference


For more information or interviews, please contact:
Dr. Atiq Rahman, BCAS +880-2-8851237 (or atiq.rahman@bcas.net)
Dr Saleemul Huq, IIED, +44 207 3882117 (or saleemul.huq@iied.org)
Dr Hannah Reid, IIED, +44 207 3882117 (or hannah.reid@iied.org)
Md. Golam Rabbani, BCAS+880-2-8851237 (golam.rabbani@bcas.net)

Notes to editors

The conferences co-sponsors are: Adaptation Knowledge Platform; Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance; Asia Development Bank (ADB); Asia Foundation; Asia Pacific Adaptation Network; British council; Care; Christian aid; Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); Comic Relief; Commonwealth Foundation; Department of Foreign Affairs (Ireland); DFID Bangladesh; Ecosystem Livelihood Adaptation Network (ELAN); Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO); Google; Institute for Global Environment Strategies (IGES); Oxfam; Nature Climate Change; Plan UK; Practical action ; Save the children; Stockholm Environment Institute; Tear fund; The Development Fund; The Nature Conservancy; The Rockefeller Foundation; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations Volunteers; University of Copenhagen; World Bank; World Food Programme (WFP); World Health Organisation (WHO); World Resource Institute (WRI); Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Norwegian Agency for Development (Norad).

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see: www.iied.org).

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