There is a picture of houses built on stilts in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on the website for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). This image is just one example of how organizations like IIED help vulnerable, rural and urban centers adapt to climate change. IIED is holding their 10th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA10) April 21 – 28 in Dhaka. CBA conferences have been held since 2004 in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Vietnam, Nepal and Kenya. Last year more than 400 participants from over 90 countries attended CBA9 and hundreds more followed conference events and interacted online.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Enhancing urban community resilience.” Collaborating with IIED is Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).
The main focus of CBA10 is to support and engage small businesses to help them become resilient to the future impacts of climate change. “Over the years the CBA conferences have tended to focus on rural communities, so we have chosen the theme for CBA10 to be ‘Enhancing resilience of urban communities’ because more than half the world population is now urban,” says Dr. Saleemul Huq, senior fellow at IIED.
Many of the sessions at CBA10 will be updates to the latest developments in urban cities and communities across the globe. Especially vital and interesting are three days of field trips to CBA projects in different ecosystems across Bangladesh. Participants spend three days and two nights in groups hosted by a local community who share their adaptation activities. This is a challenge to manage (last year 200 participants visited communities around Kenya), but feedback shows this is by far the most rewarding part of the event.This hands on component is invaluable because one can see areas heavily impacted by drought and flooding, and forested and urban areas that are striving to become more resilient. Last year CBA9 was in Nairobi, Kenya where field trips included visiting Lake Naivasha to see sustainable fisheries management and water harvesting, Narok to see how communities are adapting to drought and changing rain patterns, and forest conservation and reforestation around Mount Kenya. Keynote speakers at CBA10 include Prof. David Satterthwaite, senior fellow, Human Settlements Group, IIED; Dr Andrew Norton, director, IIED; Prof. Omar Rahman, vice chancellor, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB); Kaveh Zahedi, director and regional representative, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).