DFID, IDRC Introduce Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia at COP 18

2 December 2012: In partnership with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC) hosted a parallel event to the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UNFCCC that introduced the new Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).

Through interactive sessions, facilitated by Alexander Alusa, Climate Change Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kenya, participants discussed the CARIAA model and its approach and application, in anticipation of CARIAA's open call for consortia to be launched in early 2013.

CARIAA is a US$70 million programme, initiated by DFID and IDRC, that will run from 2012 to 2019. It aims to increase the resilience of vulnerable populations and their livelihoods, in one of the following climate change “hot spots” in Africa and Asia: densely populated river basins, large deltas, and semi-arid regions. The experience and lessons learned through the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa programme (2006-2012), DFID's and IDRC's earlier joint climate change effort, have provided insight and guidance for CARIAA's mission.

During the event in Doha, Qatar, Isabelle Proulx, CARIAA Team, introduced the programme, highlighting that the target areas, large deltas, glacier-fed river basins and semi-arid zones, have been chosen because of their vulnerabilities to climate change. She noted that CARIAA's strategy is to create knowledge and put it in the hands of the people that are affected by climate change. Proulx noted that three interdisciplinary consortia, which will have up to five members, would be funded and expected to draw from a large base of institutions, and to engage communities. She underlined that the expectations are that the funded projects will promote research uptake and generate new knowledge.

Alexander Alusa, Climate Change Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kenya, introduced the panelists. Salemuul Huq, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), discussed some of the ongoing initiatives in Bangladesh that could provide support to CARIAA, including the Action Research on Community Adaptation (ARCAB). He noted that ARCAB is a long-term programme designed to share lessons at a transboundary level through international non-governmental organization (NGO) action partners, each of them working in two sites in Bangladesh as well as in other countries. David Molden, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), highlighted that ICIMOD works at a tranboundary level by promoting regional cooperation and sharing of lessons. He explained that the organization has identified transboundary landscapes, such as the Kailash Sacred Landscape, that are deserving of attention for their biodiversity and people.

James Kinyangi, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, highlighted that his programme is the largest coalition of scientists providing the linkage between climate change, agriculture and food systems. He outlined some of the benefits from the programme, inter alia: multiple partnerships, including with members from the private sectors; and collaborations at the global and regional scales.

Mohammed Abd Rabo, University of Alexandria, highlighted the work of the Alexandria Research Centre for Adaptation to Climate Change, and the importance of framing adaptation in terms of what can be saved and not in terms of what should be done.

Experts working on the scoping of climate change hotspots for CARIAA presented on their research and engaged in a discussion with the audience. Courtney McKay, Arctic North Consulting, described her research approach, which includes a review of the literature as well as adaptation practices, used in identifying topics, adaptation practices and regions of key importance. Garrett Kilroy, independent consultant, discussed the biophysical impacts of climate change. Josephine Tucker, Overseas Development Institute, highlighted the dimensions underlying the understanding of social vulnerability to climate change. Suruchi Badwal, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), noted that her approach, consists of, inter alia, reviewing policies and programmes on climate change as well as identifying challenges that are shared at a transboundary level. Livia Bizikova, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), highlighted her work on semi-arid areas, noting the challenges of working with diverse groups of countries in terms of governance, policies and local communities. Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University, presented different examples of climate change adaptation in large deltas.

In the afternoon, experts in the field of policy and practice shared their thoughts on CARIAA in a panel discussion based on the morning's presentations and discussion. Panelists included: Ritesh Kumar, Wetlands International; Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies; Sibiry Traore, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics; Fatima Denton, African Climate Policy Centre; and Houssein El Mzouri, Morocco's National Agronomic Research Institute. [IISD RS Briefing Note][CARIAA website]