“Money is not the only solution, we have knowledge” said Keith Alverson, Head of the Climate Change Adaptation and Terrestrial Ecosystems Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), at the Global Adaptation Network (GAN) side event “Experiences on knowledge-sharing from Africa, Asia and Latin America”.
Adaptation requires knowledge generation and sharing. This knowledge may exist for successful adaptation activities, but is often fragmented and not easily accessible. GAN is helping to build climate resilient communities in the most vulnerable areas filling these needs and gaps.
Climate adaptation challenges are too complex for any one country to address on its own. It seems that even the collective efforts of different engaged organizations and research institutions in fighting climate change find it challenging to address its disrupting impacts. Adaptation requires capabilities and resources that can be obtained only from a broad combination of actors from the different multi-stakeholder action networks. Yesterday the Regional Networks under the GAN came together to share their experiences and lessons learnt on mobilizing knowledge and building capacity for adaptation, a cross-learning event between the different regions and regional networks.
Discussions revolved around the main challenges and opportunities for mobilizing adaptation knowledge for supporting planning and implementation. Asia and Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) has put the emphasis on the need to blend climate information in a comprehensible package tailored for the different stakeholders, while the Regional Gateway for Technology Transfer and Climate Change Action in Latin America and the Caribbean (REGATTA) highlighted the importance of the communities of practice and their efforts in integrating climate change into national developments plans. “It’s not just about generating info, but helping to prioritize climate impacts and developing sound vulnerability assessments,” said Bastian Louman from Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)/REGATTA.
“Knowledge sharing is the most crucial element of adaptation for agricultural farmers,” said Bruce Campbell, Director CGIAR Research Program for Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), “We need to sell the best practices and advocate for policy and regulatory changes linking scientists and communities.”
Examples of such best practices with multiple benefits in Africa were given by Bubu Jallow, from The Gambia/Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet). He reported that the water supply project they developed in Togo allowed livestock owners to avoid migration during dry seasons and at the same time increased fishing activity, while in Mozambique the project building erosion prevention walls constructed by local communities are landscape walls with vegetation that are both preventing floods and malaria. He added that “if the country shows that it has already successful adaptation activities on the ground, it helps to attract climate finance from donors.”
Keith Alverson concluded reminding us that adaptation is a long term phenomenon, it’s an ongoing process taking place over years, and this is the reason why adaptation networks are important to keep track of the knowledge generated and the related successes.
“Knowledge generation should be a coproduction right from the beginning with thefarmers, it should be a bottom-up approach. We need to understand what exactly they want and what are the main problems and challenges directly from stakeholders,” Said Bruce Campbell.
Based on CGIAR experience, knowledge generation and sharing, particularly with smallholder farmers, should be experiential and not virtual, “we have to work with people” but that also means big transaction costs to engage different stakeholders. How do we track successes?
“There is a baseline for our climate smart villages, based on surveys and impacts studies, and we undertake very concrete measurements on climate info services such as number of farmers insured”. He concluded that “there are very intelligent and creative experiences happening on the ground, it’s crucial that agencies implementing those, share what works and what doesn’t work”.