Promoting Research into Action on Locally-Led Adaptation – 1st Gobeshona Global Conference
From January 18 to 24, 2021 the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and the Independent University of Bangladesh hosted a global event with over 90 sessions covering time zones across the planet with over 1000 participants.
The focus of the conference was to share and promote Research into Action on Locally-Led Adaptation. The conference grappled with the importance and challenges of locally-led climate change adaptation actions in the international climate agenda. Apart from the immediate aspects of climate risks and environmental degradation, keynotes and discussions revolved around the topics of justice, rights, and the present global pandemic in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Furthermore, the mainstreaming NDCs and NAPs in sectoral and all national planning and policy processes related to climate had a common place in sessions over the seven days.
In a post COVID-19 context, the criticality of tackling the double threat of climate change and the current and future global pandemics were central to conversations. Key experts stressed the importance of the economic agenda as a key pillar of sustainable solutions – for example, the importance of working out the benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) for the society and economy, or the investment of locally conceived climate services for local development.
PlanAdapt was pleased to participate in the conference including leading the session on Learning from Locally-Led Solutions for Urban Resilience (read more here).
But was what was the most innovative about the Gobeshona Conference? Arguably, it was its own ability to adapt itself. While this was the first Gobeshona Global Conference, it was in fact the 7th Gobeshona Conference. Since January 2014, ICCCAD has been hosting an annual “Research into Action” conference focusing on the most pressing issues on climate change in Bangladesh. It has been a space to share knowledge and experiences and grow networks within Bangladesh and the South Asia region. This year however, as with so many other initiatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference went virtual. But they didn’t just “go virtual”, they went global. The conference programme aimed to drive the locally led adaptation agenda while linking with global initiatives and actors such as the Climate Adaptation Summit and the soft launch of the Adaptation Research Alliance’s Gobeshona Declaration.
This “adaptation” is what should be at the heart of climate change adaptation efforts. Identify an unavoidable circumstance, or climate impact, and plot a course to work through the problem. The “adaptation” shouldn’t be limited to retrofitting existing projects with minor modifications. But rather, innovate and adapt to transform the scope of your initiative to the new (improved or decreased) context.
The 1st Global Gobeshona Conference allowed for locally-led knowledge exchanges spanning across geographies and cultures. A success in its own right. However, it will be more exciting to see how much knowledge has been put into practice by next years’ conference. And how such practice has been enabled by bringing together practitioners and other informants to the key process of locally-led adaptation.
For more detailed information on the conference, see the Dhaka Tribune‘ s (Feb. 25th 2021) special edition on the Gobeshona Conference.