Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Science 'is key to community-based adaptation'

Science must come to the rescue of communities trying to adapt to climate change, which have so far relied on anecdotal help through sharing experiences with each other. Although there is extensive evidence on how local communities are adapting, it is loosely gathered. It also lacks the rigorous analysis that could help formulate national and sub-national policies, and initiate local action, the 5th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change, in Bangladesh, heard. According to the organisers, the conference marked a transition from a phase of sharing lessons from the field to one of analysis. "We may not have all the answers on what constitutes community-based adaptation. But we are getting better at understanding what it is not," he said. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told the meeting it was a neglected area worldwide. He said there are also knowledge gaps on the impacts of climate change at the community level; the adaptive capacity of communities; the link between adaptation, and socio-economic development and vulnerability; and the categorisation of types of adaptation measures. A peer-reviewed book based on inputs from the meeting will be published and sections of it will be used for the adaptation chapters of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, scheduled for 2014.

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