The ARCAB Program

While the work of ICCCAD spans many countries and engages people from the local to the international levels, our program on Action Research for Community Adaptation in Bangladesh (ARCAB) has a very specific focus on helping the most vulnerable communities adapt to climate change. Our research under ARCAB aims to generate and disseminate new knowledge on best practices for community-based adaptation (CBA). There is no better place than Bangladesh to harness the collective knowledge of communities, civil society, academics, and others, whose daily experiences with an unpredictable climate offer many important lessons. Through partnerships with our international NGO Action Partners and a wide range of Research Partners, ARCAB is fostering a long-term vision of ongoing action research that will inform adaptation solutions for vulnerable communities for decades to come.

In recent months, the ARCAB team has been working on a number of initiatives. The seventh international conference on community-based adaptation (CBA7), held in Dhaka from April 22-25 this year, provided a great opportunity to bring together many of the experts working on our ARCAB research themes. International and national researchers from our themes on livelihoods, cost-benefit analysis, adaptive agriculture, urban adaptation, and mainstreaming met on the margins of the conference to discuss their activities. The urban research team led by David Dodman at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has recently completed its field study and data collection activities and is now working on data analysis. Our team focused on a cost-benefit analysis of CBA, led by Rodney Lunduka at IIED, is in the process of finalizing survey tools and will soon conduct field visits to examine the economic impacts of a cluster village and climate-resilient handloom factory project. An emerging research theme on climate insurance, led by Iqbal Ali, also made good progress through a number of productive discussions and a scoping visit.

We were also very excited to host international climate expert Terry Cannon in Dhaka for a two-day ARCAB Research Methods Workshop. The workshop was attended by representatives from several of our Action Partners. It covered core aspects of good research, including how to frame research questions and hypotheses, how to apply critical thinking methods to drive high-quality research, and the importance of NGOs turning more attention to pursuing rigorous research and evaluating the impact of their projects. In addition, ARCAB continues to support Action Partners in developing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks for CBA activities. Following the publication earlier this year of the ARCAB report,Moving Towards Transformed Resilience, ARCAB M&E expert Lucy Faulkner has presented our framework at conferences in Nepal and Germany, as well a webinar presented by SEA Change in partnership with CARE.

In the field, our dedicated team lead by Sarder Shafiqul Alam continues to work in numerous upazilas to conduct community-based vulnerability and risk assessments, create action plans, and share the outcomes with local government officials. Furthermore, our work on local climate finance for adaptation is continuing with our Catalytic Project, which aims to build partnerships and engage in advocacy with the government and other key decision-makers. Three partners have now joined our Working Group on this topic: ActionAid Bangladesh, Islamic Relief Bangladesh, and Plan Bangladesh. We continue to pursue partnerships with organizations that share our goals of improving local governance of climate change adaptation planning and increasing local access to climate funds. We are also pleased to announce that Reaj Morshed has recently joined ARCAB as our Coordinator for Financing Local Adaptation.

As always, ARCAB invites organizations working on CBA to join our coalition and become involved in these efforts. As one example, we are excited to be starting a new partnership with VSO in Bangladesh, and we look forward to fruitful collaboration and mutual learning among all our partners in the years to come.

By: Kevan Christensen, Visiting Researcher, ICCCAD June Newsletter 2013