Community Based Adaptation (CBA)
Most of CARE’s climate change programme practice is around adaptation – building the adaptive capacity of individuals and communities in order to reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
CARE promotes Community-Based Adaptation to climate change, in particular, because we believe it to be a highly effective approach, for the following reasons:
- Generating adaptation strategies with communities and other local stakeholders improves the uptake and sustainability of the process because communities develop a strong sense of ownership and their priorities are met.
- Enhancing communities’ awareness and understanding of climate change and uncertainty enables them to create responsive plans and make more flexible and context-appropriate decisions.
- Embedding new knowledge and understanding into existing community structures expands and strengthens those structures as well as institutional mechanisms.
CARE has developed a series of CBA strategies and tools, based on what practitioners have experienced and learned over the past few years. The most notable of these resources are available in the ‘tools’ section, and outlined below to show how our approach has developed through time:
1. CARE’s Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) Framework was first presented in 2009. The framework describes a range of enabling factors (climate-resilient livelihoods, disaster risk reduction (DRR), local adaptive and organisational capacity development, an enabling national policy environment, a good knowledge of climate change, and the addressing of underlying causes of vulnerability) that need to be in place for effective community-based adaptation to occur. These enabling factors are achieved through the use of four interrelated strategies:
- promotion of climate-resilient livelihoods strategies
- disaster risk reduction strategies to reduce the impact of hazards on vulnerable households
- capacity development for local civil society and government institutions
- advocacy and social mobilisation to address the underlying causes of vulnerability.
2. The Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) Handbook (2009) is our most popular practitioner tool. The approach provides insights into the complex array of climatic, environmental, social, economic and political factors that determine people’s vulnerability to climate change. This information then enables the community, project staff, partners and policy makers to target resources and interventions where they are needed most.
3. CARE published its CBA Project Toolkit in 2011. This is a step-by-step guide to designing, implementing and monitoring CBA projects. It includes a set of project standards and proposed milestones and indicators to help practitioners plan activities and track the progress made in building adaptive capacity. These resources reflect the fact that adaptation is a dynamic process that involves mapping the assets and conditions that must be in place for communities to manage current climate variability as well as adapt to longer-term climate change.
4. CARE produced a toolkit in 2011, directly responding to the needs of practitioners wanting to integrate climate change adaptation measures into other development sectors, such as disaster risk reduction (DRR) and food and nutrition security. This toolkit enables climate change information, climate vulnerability analysis and climate-resilient livelihood options and technologies to be introduced into ongoing development projects, thus improving their effectiveness and longer-term sustainability.
5. Many developments in CARE’s approach to CBA have come directly from project experience. For example, in 2011 CARE Vietnam piloted a new approach to participatory planning for watershed management that proved extremely effective and of relevance for most types of CBA project. The Visioning Approach is now widely used within CARE to encourage community engagement with adaptation planning.