Climate Change and Forests in the Congo Basin: Synergies between Adaptation and Mitigation (COBAM)

Submitted by Michael Rastall | published 13th Aug 2012 | last updated 28th Oct 2016
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Photo by Tahia Devisscher (2011)

Introduction

The COBAM project aims to provide policymakers, practitioners and local communities with the information, analysis and tools they need to implement policies and projects for adaptation to climate change and reduction of carbon emissions in the forests of the Congo Basin, with equitable impacts and co-benefits – including poverty reduction, enhancement of ecosystem services, and protection of local livelihoods and rights.

Baseline Assessment

Between 2011 and 2012, vulnerability assessments were conducted through collaboration between project partners (international and local researchers), community members and local authorities in five selected landscapes. These assessments are based on participatory methods applied at community level in the project sites. The first step of the process is to define the main issues that may be affecting the communities. This is followed by several exercises that aim to explore: social capital, local production systems, use and management of natural resources, actor-resource relationships, multiple disturbances and trends (over the last three decades), differentiated vulnerability of different social actors in the sites and their coping capacity. The results are presented to the local actors and validated, as well as complemented with a cross-scale system analysis that links the results to national-level assessments conducted in 2011.

Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Analysis

The next phase of the project builds on the baseline assessments to understand vulnerability and adaptive capacity in more depth. This phase consists of focus groups discussions at the community level and a series of interviews at the household level in three selected landscapes of the project. The qualitative methods used in this phase explore in greater extent the implications of climate change for the livelihoods of people who live within and close to forest environments in these sites. This phase will be completed by the end of 2012.

Next Steps

Analyses on current vulnerability will serve as the basis to explore future vulnerability and adaptation strategies applying knowledge elicitation tools (KnETs), agent-based modelling and participatory scenario building. These methods will also help to explore possible synergies and conflicts that may emerge between climate adaptation and mitigation strategies through avoided deforestation and forest degradation. Identified co-benefits will serve to inform national policies and local pilot strategies in the five selected sites. As the project moves along to the next phases, we will continue uploading information here, so keep visiting us in the future for updates on the research.

Vulnerability assessments

Publications

Throughout the project, several publications have been produced:

Multi-media

Slideshow from CIFOR on gender approaches in the COBAM project