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Special seminar: What happens now for climate change adaptation?


What happens now with Climate Change Adaptation (and Loss & Damage)?

Open discussion on these crises to share thinking and ideas on what needs to happen

Delivered by Terry Cannon, Institute of Development Studies at University of Sussex

Discussion points for the event:

Claims that adaptation is under way have been made for more than twenty years, with little sign of success. The main ‘flavours’ of adaptation appear to be restricted to:

  • ‘Community-based adaptation’ (CBA) mostly delivered by NGOs (and some UN agencies) with little indication that they can be scaled up or disseminated. This model assumes that adaptation can be achieved through the NGO model, where it is impossible to have sufficient geographical extent (or funding). CBA has more recently been rebranded as ‘Locally-led adaptation’ (LLA) in parallel with Locally-led development… Not sure it has made any difference….
  • Agricultural interventions (e.g. CCAFS) that research and propose changes to crop varieties (and sometimes farm systems). These initiatives tend to favour agri-business approaches and usually fail to take account of land tenure / land control issues (i.e. are not suitable for the hundreds of millions of landless and marginal households in much of the global South). They are also often not able to improve the situation of women, whose roles and opportunities are embedded in male-dominated systems of power and ownership.
  • Technical approaches based on civil engineering projects that claim to be able to support adaptation by controlling floods and storms (as in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam etc). These are liable to the standard criticisms of such tech-fixes (inappropriate, often not funded for crucial maintenance, biased in terms of class and gender impacts). Often these projects (as in Bangladesh) require the government to take out a loan, so in effect they are paying twice for the harms caused by global warming…

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