Participatory Learning and Action 60 - Community-based adaptation to climate change

Journal / Periodical

Participatory Learning and Action 60 - Community-based adaptation to climate change

AUTHORS: Guest editors: Hannah Reid, Mozaharul Alam, Rachel Berger, Terry Cannon, Saleemul Huq and Angela Milligan


October 2011


Scientists are clear that climate change is happening, and that it is due to emissions of greenhouse gases produced largely by industrialised countries. Those likely to be worst affected are the world’s poorest countries, especially poor and marginalised communities within these countries. Ironically it is these poor countries and people who have contributed least to the problem of climate change, because of their very low greenhouse gas emissions, but who will suffer most from its consequences. Even if emissions are severely curbed, climate change will still occur. The industrialised countries have accepted they have a responsibility to help poor and vulnerable countries to adapt. However, until recently, most adaptation efforts have been top-down, and little attention has been paid to communities’ experiences of climate change and their efforts to cope with their changing environments. This special issue of Participatory Learning and Action focuses on recent approaches to climate change adaptation which are community-based and participatory, building on the priorities, knowledge, and capacities of local people. It discusses how community-based approaches to climate change have emerged, and the similarities and differences between CBA and other participatory development and disaster risk reduction approaches. It highlights innovative participatory methods which are developing to help communities analyse the causes and effects of climate change, integrate scientific and community knowledge of climate change, and plan adaptation measures. Whilst CBA is a relatively new field, some lessons and challenges are beginning to emerge, including how to integrate disaster risk reduction, livelihoods and climate change adaptation work, climate change knowledge gaps, issues around the type and quality of participation, and the need for policies and institutions that support CBA.