Moving from what to do to how to do it in DRR and CCA

August 10th, 2016

One of the major themes that has been emerging in these courses for the past two weeks is the challenges of how to do adaptation. Action is needed. We know, for example, pretty clearly why we need to begin preparing early. There is an adaptation “gap” that is emerging that could serve to slow development by an entire generation in some instances. The population growth among cities, not mega-cities per se but especially in the secondary cities, look to double in the next two decades. The services that such  populations of about 3 billion people will need that are not currently planned for, presents a tall order for any basic urban managers and other actors seeking to create livable spaces. The growing focus on cities has not diminished the importance of rural areas however. Those areas beyond the exponentially expanding urban and peri-urban cores have not become any less important, particularly with respect to agriculture and food security.

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What do we know about adaptation and resilience?

Beyond the why of adaptation, we also know the what about adaptation. Climate models and a great deal of research has talked about what to do with the prospects of different change scenarios of certain degrees. There are also numerous frameworks for conducting these analyses, such as the risk and vulnerability frameworks. In the early iterations of this course we thoroughly discuss the why and the what of adaptation. We look at change, and we explore different models and prospects that climate and development are likely to create. The more exciting part of the course however, has been the discussions about how to do adaptation.

We discuss these aspects in two different ways. The first relates to how to develop strategies. And we apply shared learning perspectives with participants under the premise that while climate is a global process, adaptation is always local. Therefore we have looked at how to justify program at multiple scales. Whether it is a regional analysis using global top-down modeling data, or a village level assessment of bottom-up in depth community interviews, the vulnerability framework presented in the workshop makes room for all participants to develop the approaches that will work for them. We look at direct and indirect impacts, exploring the specificity of exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity, overall vulnerability and resilience. The emphasis is on learning how to collect data from those sources that are available, and how to find information that helps stakeholders know what’s important and why. The emphasis is on process.

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The most effective part of the training has also been the action research aspects of arriving at a community to conduct transects to develop rapid vulnerability assessments, and conduct problem/objective trees to begin assigning key priorities for action. We see that this how has been an invaluable part of the experience for the instructors and the participants. Together we truly feel that we are learning from each other about important aspects of adaptation that are not as yet, well understood.

Tomorrow we are off to the most flood prone zones of Bandung city. This area has received notable attention in the past two years for the increasing incidence of flooding on these communities.

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