Mar 292011

Blogging from Bangladesh

With the above mentioned theme, fifth International Conference on Community based adaptation is being held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The first CBA earlier organized in 2005 in Bangladesh with around 50 participants has now become one of the largest gatherings of scientist, experts, policy makers and practitioners of community based adaptation (CBA). More than 350 participation from more than 60 countries from all continents and the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the formal inauguration on 28 March has added value to the conference.

Following the tradition of CBA conference, earlier participants were sent to eight different sites of Bangladesh to sense the real impact and community adaptation responses and practices. Followed by the field visit, the technical session started form 28 March.  According to the organizers, with many other world leaders Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of IPCC will be joining the concluding session on 31 March.

As adaptation to climate change has become more and more accepted as a necessary response to the adverse impacts of climate change around the world and it was realized that some of the most vulnerable communities will be the poor communities in both developing and developed nations. Limited resources to tackle with this impact are always a main problem for the countries like ours, which makes us more vulnerable. With this realizations and considering the community needs for effective community based adaptation practices also with growing interest of stakeholders all around the world Bangladesh center for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and IIED have already organized three CBA conferences in Bangladesh. Fourth CBA was held in Tanzania with the participation of over 180 experts and practitioners. The aim of these conferences were to facilitate sharing of latest knowledge and experiences about CBA and widen partnership among actors for mainstreaming CBA into development, poverty alleviation, livelihood promotion and disaster risk reduction. Also, with its contribution in advancing sustainable development at local, national and regional scale.

There are altogether 22 parallel and plenary sessions with the sharing of ongoing adaptation practices from all around the world. Sharing of experience of role of community radio in climate change adaptation at Malawi, adaptation practices in costal bank of Bangladesh up to the learning of tolls and resources for CBA practice already practiced in different parts of the world has helped the participants to redefine their knowledge and understanding on the field of Adaptations.

While taking about homeland, we also have numbers of ongoing activities on adaptation in Nepal. A study report of adaptation practiced by slope management and shifting cultivation done by LIBIRD in western Nepal was presented on the very first day of the technical session. Likewise, a study done by IIED on climate change and gender mainstreaming in Nepal was the attraction for many participants to know closely about the women and their current situation in Nepal.  Around 15 Nepali participants representing various organizations are participating the conference.

Very different from other conferences, the organizers have said that this conference will not come up with any recommendation or declaration requesting others to do so many things. One of the organizers, Dr. Salemul Hug during the stocktaking on the second day said, “We will say what we will do, we will not tell others what they have to do”. To minimize the carbon footprint of the conference the organizers has also set an example by their commitment to support poor and vulnerable people on northern Bangladesh by providing them with resources for their ongoing projects on Community based adaptation.

Any observer from outside can clearly observe a very well coordination between concerned authority of government and the local organizations, which we lack in our country. But on the other side, while taking about Himalayas or up to bay of Bangal the impact are similar, and at the end of the day it is we all who will lose and suffers. As a recommendation from the fifth CBA participant, our government need to be very pro active in facilitating diverse activities and initiatives within the country acknowledging the role of diverse stakeholders and also the organizations need to streamline the activities so that the beneficiaries will be the needy people vulnerable to the impacts.

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