Published | 4th September 2014

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ALP learning event- Community Based Adaptation (CBA) and Resilience in African Drylands

Climate change is a threat to human development in the drylands of East and Southern Africa (ESA). It is leading to increases in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods and is further increasing the vulnerability and exposure of pastoralists and dryland farmers and their resources (land, water and livestock) to new risks. Since the climate is projected to continue changing, communities living and deriving livelihoods from drylands urgently need to enhance their climatic resilience. At the same time, governments and other stakeholders need to implement climate resilient and disaster risk management strategies to ensure that the climate does not diminish the development gains made to date and negatively impact on future development.

The Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa (ALP), implemented by CARE International, in collaboration with CARE Ethiopia, the CGIAR Research program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) organized a four-day learning event between 1st – 4th September 2014 in Addis Ababa for practitioners, researchers and policy makers working in the drylands of ESA.

Participants were drawn from 11 countries in ESA and a range of disciplines including climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, sustainable and eco-system based development and social protection.

Participants at the learning event collectively developed eight key recommendations for policy and practice. In brief, these were:

  1. Enhancing community ownership, aspirations and capacities is critical for enabling continuous adaptation to the uncertainties of climate change;
  2. Adaptation must recognise and analyse differences in vulnerabilities and capacities, promote equity and ensure inclusive participation;
  3. Risk management approaches need to take account of climate information and be mainstreamed into development planning;
  4. Local and scientific knowledge provide valuable information for adaptation decisions and should be more accessible, combined and mainstreamed;
  5. Multi-level and cross sector stakeholder interactions are essential for making flexible and responsive decisions;
  6. The use of relevant climate information improves decision making in the face of uncertainty through anticipating and responding to future risks, impacts and changing needs;
  7. Governance and policy frameworks are needed which integrate coordination across development, adaptation, risk and emergency response, in line with local development priorities; and
  8. Measuring resilience should go beyond numbers to focus on transformation of practices, systems and structures.
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