The Second National Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change

Bangladesh has established itself as a leader in both CBA research and practice. The country now hosts a national CBA conference every two years, in support of the international CBA conference that has been occurring annually since 2006. In 2012, Bangladesh organized the first National conference on CBA where more than 8 INGOs and many research institutions were given an open floor to showcase their relevant projects and research.

The Second National Conference on CBA to Climate Change was held only recently on the 19th and 20th of April, 2014 in Spectra Convention Centre, Gulshan, Dhaka. Around 300 participants, including academics, practitioners, researchers and CBA communities from around the country and beyond took part at the conference. The two day event provided knowledge sharing spaces through nine different thematic sessions: Climate Resilient Livelihoods: CCA and DRR Experiences; Water, Sanitation, Health and Climate Change; Adaptation Impact and Climate Justice; Community Based Initiative on Climate and Disaster Resilience; Issues Around Climate Change Adaptation; Climate Resilience; Financing Local Adaptation to Climate Change; Adaptive Agriculture and Food Security; Youth and Climate Resilient Bangladesh. Each session provided the opportunity for 4-5 presenters to share their papers on CBA after which the chairs and co-chairs opened the floor for question and answer sessions along with interactive discussions. Later the sittings were wrapped up with summarised keynotes and reflections from the facilitators of the sessions.

The initiative was jointly managed by Action Research for Community Adaptation in Bangladesh (ARCAB), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). The conference aimed to bring CBA stakeholders together and enhance knowledge sharing amongst all relevant actors in Bangladesh, capture the latest learning on CBA, engage with relevant policy makers and, most crucially, disseminate the lessons learnt.

On the first day of the conference, the program was initiated by Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive director of BCAS, and later, Dr Saleemul Huq, Director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), paved the way. Dr. Shamsul Alam, Honourable Member, General Economic Division, Planning Commission and Mr. Mesbahul Alam, Honourable Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, GoB were present as the Special guests at the Opening Session which was inaugurated by Honourable Minister Mr. Hasanul Huq Inu, Ministry of Information, the Chief Guest of the session.

On the 20th April, Mr. Md. Shafiqur Rahman Patwari, Honourable Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoB attended the Closing Session as the Special Guest, and Honourable Minister Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal, Ministry of Planning, graced the event by attending the last thematic session and closing the conference.

The second annual conference had it all: glamour, effort to bring change, productivity and, of course, knowledge sharing and interaction. One can still, however, wonder about the future steps that are to be taken from the outcomes of such a successful event and that surely is something to look forward to.

Written by: Nawmi Mannon, Research Officer, ICCCAD June Newsletter 2014