The Eighth International Conference on CBA, Kathmandu

Community-based adaptation (CBA) empowers communities to take action to address climate change based on their own decision-making processes, priorities, knowledge and needs. This is particularly important in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and across Asia, where vulnerability to climate change impacts is high. Although CBA is an emerging area, many efforts are being made to develop participatory methodologies, raise awareness about climate change and foster adaptive capacity at local levels. CBA is increasingly being promoted and adopted at project levels and beyond, with programme level interventions and mainstreaming into government planning occurring in some countries. This is essential if CBA is to be more than a few scattered projects and benefit the many millions of vulnerable people who are facing a climate change constrained future. 

Sharing experience and knowledge from project, programme and mainstreaming activities amongst practitioners, policymakers, researchers, governments, donors, the private sector and the communities at risk is essential. In view of this, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies established a series of international CBA conferences. These have been held in LDCs such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and Tanzania. The eighth and most recent international CBA conference was held from 24-30th April in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Nepal has many innovative approaches to climate change policy making and planning, such as Local Adaptation Plans of Action (LAPAs) and the legal requirement for 80% of adaptation funding to reach local levels. The conference provided an opportunity to showcase some of these approaches. Clean Energy Nepal joined the organising team, and the Government of Nepal hosted the conference, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Nepal, the Right Honourable Sushil Koirala. Mamadou Honadia, Chair of Adaptation Fund Board, and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC also attended. In total nearly 500 people from roughly 63 countries came to Kathmandu and over 20 co-sponsors and other contributing organizations provided support. Over 1000 people took part remotely as Virtual Internet Participants (VIPs) receiving emailed daily summaries, and updates through blogs, twitter, filmed interviews, and live web streaming of some sessions. 

Three days of field visits to different communities and ecosystems across Nepal proceeded the hotel-based sessions. These sessions utilized a variety of different formats such as plenary sessions, parallel sessions, poster sessions, film sessions, high level panels and interactive “out-of-the-box” sessions.

The conference theme was ‘Financing Local Adaptation’ and, as such, the sessions addressed the following topics: securing finance by mainstreaming adaptation into national and sub-national government development planning; challenges faced by funding agencies supporting local adaptation; building institutional capacity and improving governance to access and spend adaptation finance; reaching the most vulnerable; securing private sector finance for local adaptation; low-cost options for CBA;  accounting for natural capital in CBA; financing adaptation in the LDCs; engaging the private sector through microfinance for adaptation; financing local adaptation in urban centres; financing disaster risk reduction and CBA – what synergies?; ensuring accountability and transparency when financing local adaptation; evidence of effectiveness; and, civil society advocacy on financing CBA.

The 9th international CBA conference will be held in Kenya in April/May 2015. The theme will be ‘Measuring CBA Effectiveness’.

More information on CBA conferences can be found here.


By: Hannah Reid, Research Associate (IIED), ICCCAD June Newsletter 2014