Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Adaptation as a race against time

Naimul Haq in IPS: Adaptation and mitigation. Identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and by scientists as the two major responses to address the problem, these were also the twin preoccupations of a climate change conference held recently in Dhaka. Some 200 environmentalists, scientists, policymakers, academics, government and non-government officials as well as international development partners converged on the capital city of Bangladesh to discuss ways community-based adaptation (CBA) could be made more holistic, incorporating sectors such as food, water, education, health, energy, livelihood opportunities, poverty reduction and social mobilisation.

A joint initiative of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) – a research, policy and implementation organisation in Dhaka – and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a UK-based think-tank which works in partnership with fellow organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Dhaka plenary was the seventh edition of the CBA conference or CBA-7.

“As time goes by, climate change impacts will only get more severe,” Atiq Rahman, executive director of BCAS and co-chair of the Climate Action Network South Asia, told IPS. “If the industrialised nations do not take their roles seriously, then it could lead to catastrophic consequences.”

Speaker after speaker underlined the urgency of addressing the needs of communities vulnerable to climate change. There was not a moment to be lost, they emphasised: the time to act was now. “It is a race against time,” said Tracy Kajumba, a capacity-building and advocacy coordinator for the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA) in Uganda.

“The earlier we get into action, the better it will be. Otherwise, the cost of adaptation will only become higher, leading to population displacement, conflict and increased poverty, and hence huge global tensions,” she commented to IPS. World leaders also needed to invest more, both in terms of commitment and funds, the experts agreed...

The Bahadur Shah Park water tank in Old Dhaka, shot by Rashed Ali, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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