ACDI/VOCA Presents Climate Adaptation Methodology at InterAction Forum
Climate change poses significant challenges in developing countries, including changes in growing seasons, desertification, migration and even natural disasters such as droughts.
Responding to such a variety of far-reaching effects requires a holistic, coordinated effort that engages all sectors of a community.
New Methodology Focuses on Community-Based Adaptation
On August 11 ACDI/VOCA’s Jennifer Norfolk presented a new methodology for community-based climate change adaptation at InterAction’s 2011 Annual Forum in Washington, D.C.
Norfolk used as a model the Communities Engaged to Drive Adaptation Responses, or CEDAR, approach, which incorporates many of ACDI/VOCA’s best practices from community-driven development.
“In our experience, effective action demands the involvement and leadership of participating communities, so we engage community stakeholders in participatory activities that identify, prioritize and lead sustainable responses to climate change,” says Norfolk, who co-chairs ACDI/VOCA’s Climate Change Community of Practice.
Effective Action Demands Effective Communities
The approach is based on the premise that the greatest barriers to effective response to climate change are lack of awareness of solutions, inability to access and afford those solutions, and lack of communal capacity and leadership to actualize needed change.
Norfolk said the CEDAR approach proceeds as follows:
- Step 1: We identify vulnerabilities through participatory processes that engage all sectors and groups in the communities.
- Step 2: We assist communities in articulating solutions and discussing their feasibility.
- Step 3: We build community adaptation networks comprising leaders from each group and sector in the area to spearhead adaptation activities, learning and information dissemination.
- Step 4: We support community adaptation networks in implementing community-designed solutions.
- Step 5: We scale up by linking community adaptation networks to each other and to broader initiatives.
Climate Change and Development Linked
The workshop, opened by the U.S. Agency for International Development, was organized in association with the Environment Workgroup of the Washington Chapter of the Society for International Development. With 190 members, InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations working in development.
As the event program observed, “Climate change and development are inextricably linked.” Many experts claim that climate change is a factor in the long-developing drought in the Horn of Africa. That disaster raises the stakes for climate change adaptation responses that matter to local communities and that are likely to be sustained.