Review of Climate Change Adaptation Practices in South Asia | Climate Resilience

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Climate change is predicted to have severe consequences for South Asia, particularly in agriculture, which employs more than 60 per cent of the region’s labour force. Adaptation efforts in South Asia have so far been fragmented, lacking a strong link between national climate change strategies and plans, and existing disaster risk reduction, agricultural, and other relevant policies. This disconnect partly stems from a lack of conceptual understanding and partly from the ongoing debate as to what constitutes adaptation and what represents good and sustainable development. Focusing on five countries in the region (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), this review captures examples of good practice in climate change adaptation programming, in order to inform Oxfam’s learning, enabling it and other organisations to replicate some of these good practices in their own programmes and to advocate their adequate financing and governance.
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  1 Review of Climate Change Adaptation Practices in South Asia , Oxfam Research Report, November 2011 Oxfam Research Reports Review of Climate Change  Adaptation Practices in South Asia Charlotte Sterrett   Climate Concern, Melbourne, Australia 16 November 2011   www.oxfam.org  2 Review of Climate Change Adaptation Practices in South Asia , Oxfam Research Report, November 2011 Contents Acronyms and abbreviations ............................................................................................. 3   Executive summary .............................................................................................................. 4   1 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 8   2   Framing adaptation: Oxfam’s approach .............................................................. 12   3   Approaches, methodologies, and tools ................................................................ 16   4   Adaptation in South Asia: taking stock ............................................................... 26   5   Lessons about good practice from South Asia .................................................. 52   6   Gaps in current knowledge and what is needed .............................................. 55   Bibliography ....................................................................................................................... 89   Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................... 95   Notes ..................................................................................................................................... 96    3 Review of Climate Change Adaptation Practices in South Asia , Oxfam Research Report, November 2011  Acronyms and abbreviations ACCRA Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance ADB Asian Development Bank ALM Adaptation Learning Mechanism ARCAB Action Research for Community Adaptation in Bangladesh BCAS Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies BCCSAP Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan CAP community action plan CBA community-based adaptation CBO community-based organisation CCA climate change adaptation CEDRA Climate Change and Environmental Degradation Risk and Adaptation Assessment CRiSTAL Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods CSDRM Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management CVCA Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis DDC District Development Council DfID UK Government Department for International Development DRR disaster risk reduction EbA Ecosystem-based Adaptation EIA Environmental Impact Assessment GDP gross domestic product GEF Global Environment Facility GLOF Glacial Lake Outburst Flood IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LAC Local Adaptive Capacity LAPA Local Adaptation Plan of Action LI-BIRD Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development LDC least-developed country NAPA National Adaptation Programme of Action NGO non-government organisation NRM natural resource management PCVA Participatory Capacity and Vulnerability Analysis RDPI Rural Development Policy Institute RVCC Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change SDC Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation SLD Shared Learning Dialogues SLA Sustainable Livelihoods Approach SRI System of Rice Intensification TRM Tidal River Management UNDP United Nations Development Programme UNEP United Nations Environment Programme UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change V2R Vulnerability to Resilience VDC Village Development Committee WWF World Wildlife Fund  4 Review of Climate Change Adaptation Practices in South Asia , Oxfam Research Report, November 2011 Executive summary Despite all its progress over the last quarter century, South Asia remains home to four out of every 10 of the world’s poor; 600 million of South Asia’s 1.5 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day. 1  Almost half the children below five are underweight, accounting for more than half of the world’s undernourished children. 2  Imbalances in economic growth, inequality among castes, classes, between genders, and a region beset by disasters, have added to the suffering of the poor and those most vulnerable and marginalised. Climate change is predicted to have severe consequences for South Asia, particularly in agriculture, which employs more than 60 per cent of the region’s labour force. 3  Some of the predicted impacts of climate change include increased variability in both monsoon and winter rainfall patterns; increase in average temperatures, with warmer winters; increased salinity in coastal areas as a result of rising seas and reduced discharge of major rivers; weakening ecosystems; the recession of glaciers in the Himalayas; and increased frequency and/or severity of extreme weather events (floods, cyclones, and droughts). 4 , 5  Adaptation efforts in South Asia have so far been fragmented, lacking a strong link between national climate change strategies, plans, and existing disaster risk reduction, agricultural, and other relevant policies. This disconnect partly stems from a lack of conceptual understanding and partly due to the ongoing debate as to what constitutes adaptation, and what represents good and sustainable development. Focusing on five countries in the region (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), this review captures examples of good practices in climate change adaptation (CCA) programming, in order to inform Oxfam’s learning, thereby enabling it and other organisations to replicate some of these good practices in their own programmes and to advocate their adequate financing and governance. Drawing on internet resources, reports, and material gathered from a variety of organisations, as well as from field-work in Bangladesh and Nepal, 64 adaptation projects and programmes were analysed. Out of these, 14 were found to be examples of good practice. Good practice in South Asia The review identified seven key lessons about good practice in the region: 1.   Participatory assessment and analysis of vulnerability and capacity: Good practice is based on a solid assessment of the vulnerabilities, needs, and capacities of actors involved. Initiatives that begin with understanding the current vulnerability of communities to existing development challenges, together with climate change issues, help build a solid foundation from which to work. Climate change cannot be dealt with in isolation. One must also keep in mind the complex interdependence of sustainable livelihoods, disasters, water, and natural resources that would eventually help frame adaptation strategy in ways that communities can understand. This in turn helps communities to think about how to become ‘climate smart’ rather than regarding climate as one more burden they have to deal with. Drawing upon community experiences of the recent past and current experiences of climate variability can also help communities appreciate the extent of climate change. That would only help such communities prepare ahead for adaptation; 2.   Focus on poor, vulnerable, and marginalised beneficiaries:  Good practice means targeting and working with the most vulnerable, including women and socially-marginalised groups. Focus on the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalised communities is important because of their high dependency on climate-sensitive resources and their lack of access
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