Governments support Community Based Adaptation

THE 7th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA7) concluded in Dhaka on April 25 with a keynote speech by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, on the need to focus on "Climate Justice." She now chairs the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice and is carrying out a series of global dialogues to ensure that climate justice is at the heart of any climate change agreement that emerges in 2015. The dialogue in Dhaka involved over 300 delegates from around the world who were attending CBA7.

The CBA conference was inaugurated on April 22 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who also gave a strong call for justice and equity. In particular she underscored the need for governments and civil society to work closely together at both national as well as global levels. She also supported the theme of this year's conference, which was "Mainstreaming CBA in to national and local planning."

The International CBA Conferences are held annually and are organised jointly by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS). Last year's conference (CBA6) was held in Hanoi, Vietnam. This year's conference attracted over 250 international participants and 50 national participants who spend four days discussing various themes and topics in plenary and parallel sessions. Topics included water, agriculture, gender, urban, equity and many others.

This year, in addition to the 300 or so participants physically at the conference, there was a new category of virtual internet participants (VIP) who registered for interactive sessions over the internet. There were over 1,500 VIPs registered from all over the world.

Many of the sessions were also live webcast and the videos uploaded to the conference website (www.iied.org/cba7 ) where more than 7,000 people watched over the internet.

Thus for those four days, Dhaka was the "Adaptation Capital of the World."

Among the many activities and discussions at this year's conference, the most significant by far was the presence of over 50 government representatives from Asia, Africa and Latin America and their decision to form a "Government Group on Climate Change Mainstreaming," thus emphasising that governments now support and endorse the notion of mainstreaming CBA into national and local planning. This international Government Group will be coordinated by the Planning Commission of Bangladesh.

The successful conclusion of CBA7 once again put Bangladesh at the centre of world attention and brought governments on board for what had hitherto been largely a civil society driver process.

Next year's Conference (CBA8) will be held in Nepal and the theme will be "Financing CBA."

The writer is Senior Fellow at the London based International Institute for Environment and Development and Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, at the Independent University, Bangladesh. E-mail: [email protected]


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