Community Based Adaptation (CBA)

CBA Climate-Smart Farming (Photo: E. Parry, 2015)

CBA Climate-Smart Farming, including water planning that enables the farm to carry-on as usual for as long as 40 days of drought; Thailand. (Photo: E. Parry, 2015)

Community Based Adaptation (CBA) embodies local community action on climate adaptation initiatives. This may involve participatory learning and problem-solving (including creative trial-and-error approaches), documentation and sharing, collaborative planning and local implementation of climate adaptation initiatives.

Some examples of Community Based Adaptation may be local adaptive planning around changing rainy seasons with modified agricultural planting seasons as well as adjusted crop choice, sometimes termed climate-smart food production; community disaster risk trainings to store water and food stuffs on high-and-dry lands to cope with increase of floods; local redesign of building structures to mitigate losses from high-intensity cyclones, floods, or soil erosion; community cooperation on mangrove and native biodiversity restoration, increasing resilience to coastal erosion while creating local sustainable livelihoods.

CBA can be locally derived or managed, reflective of local cultures / eco-cultures / bio-cultures (perceptions of, and relationships to, humans and non-humans and nature) and societal functions. This offers an opportunity for sustainable and sustaining, self-organising and evolving local engagement on climate change adaptation, guided by local knowledge and wisdom, including Indigenous and other forms of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) relating to adaptive management of complex social-ecologies of specific populations. 

This CBA Theme spaces also opens consideration of 'local' community based climate action within local-to-local network engagement of climate iniatives wherein the diversity and local endogeneity remains, yet is enhanced through wider network collaboration and sharing.

Above is an example of community developed climate-smart agriculture collaboratively evolved across a network of local farmers in a Karen village bordering Myanmar and Thailand. CBA approaches include a merging of organic techniques with traditional ecological knowledge for adaptive management. Farmers interspersed trees and other plants to help mitigate against landslides becoming more common in these hills, with higher temperatures, protracted drought and fires, followed by heavy rainfall. (Photo: E.Parry, 2014).


The CBA Conferences

This CBA Theme on the weADAPT platform was launched in conjunction with, and celebration of, the CBA13 conference (and the series of conferences building a CBA community) in Ethiopia, which focused on 'Local Solutions Inspiring Global Action'. Click here for details of and resources from CBA 13 and other past CBA conferences.  

The 15th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA15) took place online from June 14th - June 18th 2021. 

The key messages that came out of CBA 15 as summarized by Sam Greene of IIED, are as follows:

  • Changing the focus of the intermediaries: CBA15 participants believe intermediaries should stop trying to be the decision makers and the bridge that links funding to communities and community institutions. Communities themselves need to develop direct access to the funds to have real power. Intermediaries can support communities to access funds more regularly and at greater volumes.
  • Build the skills for monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL): A key takeaway from CBA was that engaging the community can make MEL more effective by enabling them to set indicators for success and be part of evaluation, which will build ownership, and the learning can inform their ongoing adaptation strategies.
  • Funds should invest in understanding contexts and building trust: Communities are not homogenous, and interventions need to take the time to carry out gender and intersectional analysis to understand this diversity, to understand local agency, and then design interventions accordingly.
  • Close the gap: Participants stressed that decision makers must move beyond promising policy announcements to ensuring that they are translated into real outcomes that reduce vulnerability where it is experienced the most.



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Get daily updates from #CBA13 at:

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Members are welcome to comment here on the CBA Theme page, and / or to start a forum discussion. For information on how to start a forum discussion around CBA, click here. Discussion around any CBA-related topics are welcome here, from climate finance to modeling and action, to dealing with challenges, coming up with creative solutions, or anything CBA-related you'd like to know more about, share, or explore. Welcome!

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Tomorrow 1st May, 9 am BST, please join the New Highlander School moderated discussion: CBA models for climate action: what works, what doesn't, and what does it teach us?

We will be using this forum to host the first of a regular monthly moderated discussion forum on CBA issues. To find out what time this will be held where you are, search from the international meeting planner!



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