Community Based Adaptation in Action: A case study from Bangladesh: Project Summary Report (Phase I) Improved Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change for Sustainable Livelihoods in the Agriculture Sector
Climate change is happening and bringing with it alterations in climatic risk patterns. The impact of climate change has potential to undermine development achievements and threaten the food security of tens of millions of people, especially those living in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment report recognized a trend towards increasing climate variability associated with more extreme weather events that are likely to have direct affect on rural livelihoods, particularly in LDCs.
As one of the most climate-sensitive sectors, agriculture is under pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop sustainable adaptation strategies to counterbalance future impacts of climate change. It is imperative to identify and institutionalize mechanisms that enable the most vulnerable farmers and local communities to cope with climate change impacts. This means that farmers and local communities must be supported in preparing themselves for the changing situations and taking the steps that will improve their ability to protect their livelihoods. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Awareness raising and capacity-building processes are urgently needed at all levels that will support long-term learning processes and, at the same time, take the broad range of eco-systems and socio-economic conditions into consideration.
Decentralized programmes seem most appropriate to promote local adaptation, within the framework of coherent national policies. With this in mind, specific attention should be given to the development of location-specific adaptation options that can manage future anticipated risks and take bio-physical, socio-economic and socio-cultural factors into consideration. A more systematic and consistent application of already known sustainable agricultural, forestry and fisheries practices may serve as suitable entry point to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of changing climates and environmental conditions.
Knowledge gaps remain as to how long these practices would be able to counteract the impacts of climate change, and how best to design and promote adaptation processes, in view of uncertainty in climate change scenarios and location-specific impacts. However, immediate action is needed to manage the existing and future risks within the framework of broader understanding on the most likely impacts of climate change.
Case studies of adaptation processes are needed that will add to gathering, disseminating and replicating good practices, especially for the most vulnerable. This report presents such a case study undertaken Bangladesh, implemented jointly by the Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension and FAO under the umbrella of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP). It provides a summary of the approaches and processes undertaken to inform farmers about climate change and promote their local adaptation strategies. It also presents the lessons learned from the implementation process, as well as good practice options identified and valued by farmers for drought risk management in the context of climate change.
Stephan Baas, Selvaraju Ramasamy