Are the Joint Principles for Adaptation sufficiently pro-active and far-sighted? Will their adoption by civil society and government help to address the climate-induced poverty tipping points foreseen in the future?
These were some of the critical issues raised in the out-of-the-box session Principles and radical options for adaptation – issues for assessing effectiveness on 28th April during the 9th conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA9) in Nairobi.
Well over 100 participants joined and engaged actively in the session – and it was an exciting opportunity for the 14 Southern Voices partners at the CBA9 to present and test the Joint Principles for Adaptation in a discussion with a very engaged public.
What is radical adaptation?
The concept of radical adaptation is about climate and development and thinking ahead – according to IIEDs Dr. Simon Anderson who was co-organising the session and introducing the topic.
Radical adaptation raise the focus from the project and community level and the incremental adaptation solutions adopted here – and looks ahead to analyse how climate induced tipping points can be managed at the level of society – by managing internal migration, social protection systems etc. It is based on principles of environmental justice.
Are the JPA radical – and should it be?
Joint Principles for Adaptation are aimed to inform adaptation frameworks at national level – so as the radical adaptation concept they look beyond the local level.
They were briefly introduced by Herbert Mwalukomo – Southern Voices regional facilitator for Africa. The breakout discussion at each table was guided by facilitators from IIED and Southern Voices - who posed three questions to the group:
- What needs to be done to make adaptation far-reaching and far-sighted?
- How does this go beyond usual adaptation practice?
- How do the attributes identified by our group challenge the ideas of good adaptation practice (as represented by the JPA)?
Out – of the box radical highlights
After an intense discussion, each group presented at a time one recommendation of radical highlights, which was flipcharted by the Raja Jarrah - consultant for Southern Voices.
Some of the most spectacular are listed here and grouped in categories for the purpose of oversight.
- Break down the silos of disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, humanitarian assistance and development
- Work at landscape and ecosystem level
- All adaptation to have mitigation co-benefits and vice versa
- Flexible policies and plans to allow for uncertain future and long term (20+ yrs) planning
Focus on power and the political economy
- Radical adaptation must be political and power shifts are needed for inclusive decision-making
- Radical adaptation will have the most winners and losers, and require provisions to address inequities
- In extreme situations culture may need to be challenged, sometimes even democratic consensus
- Multi-generational accountability is required
- Communities to be involved in monitoring and evaluation – leading to empowerment
- Communities should have the power to form social movements
Promoting the JPA at the CBA9
For the Southern Voices on Adaptation project the session provided an excellent opportunity to share the JPA with a very engaged audience, and afterwards a lot of interest was mobilized around them, including suggestions for new elements and criteria to be added.
Another opportunity for this was the poster session – where a poster prepared by the SVA Secretariat was presented both in the CBA9 plenary and in the exhibition space by CISONECC Coordinator Heather Maseko.
With 17 participants at the conference, Southern Voices on Climate Change was considered as one of the CBA9 co-sponsors. Our participants engaged actively in the sessions of the CBA9 and made connections and friends with many other actors in the adaptation community. A great deal of the Climate Change Advocacy Toolkits and the Leaflets with Joint Principles for Adaptation were distributed at the CBA9 as well.