Influencing government policies on climate change adaptation

This is the fifth full day of the conference on Community Based Adaptation in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and my head is full of the experiences that people have presented, and of the plans people have developed in small groups meeting late at night or over breakfast for working together on particular topics. I have agreed to coordinate a group looking at how to ensure that right from the local level, people whose livelihoods are being affected by climate change can be involved in decision making and budget allocation on adaptation. My colleagues are also getting involved – several of them in a group on sharing knowledge about technologies that help people adapt.

All five of us from Practical Action have now given presentations to the conference. Mohamed Siddig from Sudan, the only delegate from his country, gave a really brilliant talk this morning on our work under the Greening Darfur programme, showing how even with very low rainfall, people can have successful harvests and trees can thrive.

It is not often that field-based staff get the opportunity to travel internationally to meet colleagues doing similar work, and over lunch today it was great to hear my colleagues talking about information they plan to share. Besides our work at the local level, it is clear that in several countries we are having significant influence and involvement in government planning for coping with climate change.
This is so important, because ultimately if people are to adapt successfully to living with climate change, it will have to be government policies and planning that enable this to happen.

The conference will conclude tomorrow morning with a clear plan for the next steps on community level adaptation; this plan will be developed over dinner and later tonight by a small group including myself, based on ideas which many people have put forward. After that – it is back to work, and remembering to keep up the contacts and learning!

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