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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Nairobi opens its doors to CBA9 conference

By Milcah Rajula and Bob Aston
The 9th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA9): Measuring and enhancing effective adaptation taking place at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya got underway on April 27, 2015 with the inaugural plenary session 1 which was graced by Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, United Nations Development Program (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.
More than 400 participants from 90 countries have come together at CBA9 to discuss and share best practice on how to measure and enhance effective adaptation to climate change.

Milcah Rajula at the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) exhibition stand
Speaking during the opening session, Mr. Thiaw noted that every small change at the community-level on adaptation contributes over time to global success. He said that the climate conference which will be held later during the year in Paris will determine the future trajectory that the world will take. He noted that people should be ready to sign a landmark climate agreement during the Paris Climate Conference.
He said that adaptation has long been considered as a local issue although this is now changing as much of the world’s attention has now been focused on how strongly countries need to commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
”Even if we cap our emissions today we will still be affected by climate change unless we adapt. All nations, no matter rich or poor will need to design and develop their adaptation plans,” said Mr. Thiaw.
He said that man-made structures such as sea walls, with minimal consideration of the contribution of ecosystems are not necessarily efficient nor sustainable. He noted that communities and ecosystems need to adapt efficiently to climate change.
“Local communities have unique knowledge in identifying the ecosystem services that underpin livelihoods and ensure their good management. Such knowledge is often overlooked if not ignored by scientists and experts. Adaptation measures should be ecosystem-based and community-based,” said Mr. Thiaw.
He noted that measuring the impact of adaptation projects and their efficiency is not always easy but continued to urge climate change stakeholders to learn more about enhancing the efficiency of adaptation measures through monitoring and evaluation tools.
Milcah Rajula from ALIN explaining to a participant about Joto Afrika's publication
Funding is critical in bringing about a sustainable development that excludes no one, especially at the community level where people face difficulties in accessing or benefiting from natural resources. Additionally, indigenous knowledge from the community level needs to be tapped and documented as it is in tacit form
African countries: Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa, are already committing some domestic resources to adaptation efforts. He stressed that the main challenge now will be to mobilize private finance for adaptation, including ecosystem-based adaptation.
“Global support on adaptation incorporating financing, technology, and knowledge could go a long way toward advancing countries' sustainable development aspirations,” said Mr. Thiaw.
Participants are reporting on the latest research and their project work from across different sectors and countries, highlighting the fact that there are different ways of measuring the success of community-based adaptation.
Participants were able to choose from six different sessions which included: measuring, linking and learning about adaptation effectiveness across; climate information services for effective adaptation; gender and vulnerable groups; community adaptation indicators for sustainable and healthy food systems; food security and nutrition and learning when things don’t go according to plan.
IIED and partners: BCAS, created the CBA conferences to highlight that effective adaptation to climate change takes place at community level. Past CBA conferences have focused on scaling up best practices, ensuring a scientific basis to action, communicating and mainstreaming CBA and ensuring adaptation funding reaches community level.
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