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Women farmer advocacy dialogue session revised

Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change: Lessons from Kenya

Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change: Lessons from Kenya 

The 9th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) was held in Nairobi in April 2015 under the theme “measuring and enhancing effective adaptation”.  This is a series of annual CBA conferences focusing on various pillars of climate change adaptation including finance and communication.  The conference provides a platform for practitioners in climate change adaptation such as civil society, youth, policy makers, researchers and development partners to explore challenges and opportunities and share knowledge and experiences. The Malawi delegation comprised of other members from civil society including CISONECC, government and development partners. The conference brought together 400 participants from 90 countries.  

Community based Adaptation to climate change is aimed at empowering communities to use their own knowledge, systems and capacities to adapt to climate change. Prior to the conference participants went on a three day field trip to the countryside of Nairobi to engage with communities that are practising climate change adaptation strategies. Communities in Kenya utilize climate change information to make decisions on Agricultural production and to adapt to climate change. This meant changes in their long time traditional ways of agricultural production and water management. Just as in Malawi communities in the eastern province of Makueni county, were depended on maize for food and for income. 

Climate systems in the region have changed and could not support efficient maize production, later on using the available varieties due to change in temperatures and erratic rainfall. The research institution KALRO (Kenya Agricultural and livestock research organization) assisted the communities in developing appropriate plant varieties for production and the generation and use of climate information. Weather data is translated by the researchers and various experts to develop an “advisory” that consist of seasonal predictions of rain fall patterns and provide options to farmers on which crops and varieties to plant, when and how. Besides the advisory, communities have taken up improved agricultural practices such as irrigation, mulching, terrace making, manure making, crop diversification and livestock production. 

Rain water harvesting is a common practice in the region with no formal water systems. Communities harvest rainwater through modern and traditional technologies. Water from rooftops never goes to waste in such communities. Harvested water is used for crop production, livestock feed production, domestic use and fish farming. The research institutions and extension system assists the communities in choosing and developing appropriate technologies. Nevertheless, not all community members have adopted have these technologies. 

Contrary to most livelihood programmes, communities in these initiatives selected their pathways for adaptation from the information and options that they were given by research. In addition, farmers made substantial investments in some technologies such as irrigation systems and their resources such as land. 

The 3 day conference included interactive sessions on gender, vulnerable groups, climate information systems, role of private sector, measuring adaptation, practicing ecosystem based adaptation and options for adaptation. CISONECC particularly under the Southern Voices on adaptation programme promoted the Joint principles on Adaptation to the 400 participants. The principles commonly known as JPA are a set of 7 principles that CSOs consider as a best practice for adaptation planning. They range from inclusive participation, adequate finance, effective institutions, gender and social issues, role of the communities, use of climate information and appropriate investments for climate change adaptation. Outcomes of the conference included releasing the Nairobi declaration on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change which highlights the significance of addressing the adaptation needs of the poor and most vulnerable groups in international agreements on sustainable development, finance and climate change. 

The declaration comes at a time when world leaders will be adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September and agree on a new Global Climate Change in December.

Paris delivers a Climate Deal

PARIS ADOPTS A NEW CLIMATE DEAL

The momentum among CSOs ahead of COP 21 heightened during the course of the year, 2015.   CSOs, policy makers, researchers and interested groups alike looked forward for COP 21 to deliver a global climate agreement. This will mark a milestone in addressing climate change globally and in its totality. Against this background, CISONECC worked closely with the Government of Malawi and CSOs in SADC and Africa region to influence UNFCCC process. In addition CISONECC was part of the We have Faith ACT now for Climate justice Campaign, Women. Food. Climate campaign whose aim was to influence COP 21 and related processes. The network was also been involved in the INDC process, GCF processes and organized the National Stakeholder dialogue on Climate change and COP 21. 

Why COP 21?

COP 21 is the fourth and last series of the COPs under the ADP (Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) which was set at COP 17 in Durban with the mandate for negotiating an agreement in the form of “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties. The climate agreement to be set in Paris at COP 21 will come into effect in 2020. 

Since COP 17, several strides have been made towards shaping the 2015 climate agreement with the major debate lying on the adaptation and mitigation parity, adaptation finance, the inclusion of loss and damage, and lately the INDCs. 

At the last COP 20 in Lima, parties adopted the “Lima call for Climate Action” which sets in motion the negotiations towards a 2015 agreement, including the process for submitting and reviewing INDCs. The decision, though not adequate, also encourages enhancing pre-2020 ambition.

After 2 weeks of negotiations, countries adopted the Paris climate deal which is historical. However, the question lies in the adequacy of the agreement to address current and future impacts of climate change in countries like Malawi. We had this to say in our preliminary analysis: 

“The Paris agreement adopted during COP 21 in France, sets a historical standard in achieving the global goal of addressing climate change. It is weak in critical areas, such as finance and support to developing countries. However, the agreement has minimal requirements for countries to commit to seriously addressing and curbing climate change. The loopholes in the agreement, significant for Africa, such as financing and a trend in the failure for countries to fulfill their commitments and obligations need to be patched before the agreement enters into force”

You can download the new climate deal from our resource centre. We would like to hear your views on the new agreement.