ubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 November 2023 – A new report, Stories of Resilience: Lessons from Local Adaptation Practice 2023 released today by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) finds that global and national systems are not changing fast enough in response to the needs of local communities racing to adapt to climate change to secure their survival. Local adaptation leaders are working hard to transform lives and livelihoods in the face of the changing climate, but find their gains are precarious where they lack the enabling environment (legislative, financial, institutional, technical, and capacity-related) to lock in such transformations.
The findings are based on over 200 stories submitted by champions of locally led adaptation which tell of progress and gaps in adaptation at the local level. Many local adaptation leaders reported they are struggling to find the necessary support and resources to enable them to scale and extend their work to other communities. The stories also show that in comparison to sectoral top-down adaptation efforts, local champions are implementing holistic approaches that account for the linkages between climate change as a driver of exclusion and marginalization and its impact on the mental health of communities.
Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, commenting on the study’s findings said: “At COP28, it is important for global leaders to recognize that no global stocktake or measures of progress towards a Global Goal on Adaptation can be effective without including local-level assessments of the progress individuals and communities make in managing the impacts of climate change. Right now only a tiny fraction of climate funding reaches the people battling the worst effects of climate change. Every day that passes without giving them the necessary resources to protect themselves and their livelihoods leaves them more vulnerable. But this is not just about money, it is also about recognizing how local communities have a more holistic view of what is needed to build climate resilience and adaptive capacity on the ground.”
Anju Sharma, Locally Led Adaptation Program Lead at GCA said: “COP28 will only be a success if it achieves real benefits for the communities most affected by the climate crisis. This year’s climate summit must ensure that finance flows to the poor communities most affected by climate change, and into locally led, appropriate and effective adaptation. If we achieve this, the world will have taken a big step toward redressing the gross injustices of climate change.”
Dr. Shehnaaz Moosa, CEO of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network said: “A clarion call at the heart of these stories is the championing of people’s rights. COP28 needs to put the recognition and enforcement of rights at the center of climate change adaptation. The stories show that local communities regard progress on rights – particularly of marginalized groups such as women and Indigenous Peoples – and locally led adaptation as two sides of the same coin. Where these fundamental rights are eroded, people’s adaptive capacities are also weakened.”
The study outlined recommendations for global and national policymakers on how they can best support locally led adaptation to:
Currently less than 17 percent of global climate finance and perhaps as little as 2 percent, reaches climate-resilience projects led by local communities. The GCA is supporting communities to lead in the development of People’s Adaptation Plans and linking them to investments by international financial institutions under Adaptation Acceleration Programs in Africa and Asia. The GCA is also supporting community efforts, and understanding of community priorities by other actors, through the Global Hub on Locally Led Adaptation, a platform for collaboration and a rich resource of stories from the frontline, with analysis and tools to inform, inspire and support locally led adaptation.
Notes to Editors
About the Global Center on Adaptation
The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) is an international organization that works as a solutions broker to accelerate action and support for adaptation solutions, from the international to the local, in partnership with the public and private sectors. Founded in 2018, GCA operates from largest floating office in the world, located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. GCA has a worldwide network of regional offices in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Beijing, China and is opening a new office in Nairobi, Kenya in 2024.
About the Climate and Development Knowledge Network
The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) mobilises knowledge, capacity and leadership in the global South to improve well-being of the most climate-affected people. Founded in 2010, CDKN works in Africa, Asia and Latin America and its focal countries include Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, India, Namibia, Nepal, Peru and Senegal. CDKN is managed by SouthSouthNorth in South Africa, and implemented in partnership with FundaciónFuturo Latinoamericano in Ecuador and ICLEI South Asia in India.
For more information or interview requests:
Anju Sharma I Locally Led Adaptation Program Lead at GCA
Alex Gee |Head of Communications Global Center on Adaptation
Emma Baker |Knowledge and Outreach Manager at CDKN