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Strong Interest in DM2009 on Climate Adaptation

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

The deadline for DM 2009 proposals has now closed and the DM Team has been hard at work screening and gearing up for the assessment.

As expected, the Call for Proposals generated a wealth of interest from most parts of the world. Despite a more stringent application process this year, we received a total of 1,755 proposals, similar to last year where the rules were more flexible.

The strong interest demonstrates that grassroots organizations are interested and available to launch community-based climate adaptation related to rural livelihoods diversification, indigenous peoples, and disaster risk reduction. If anyone doubted the demand for bottom-up adaptation, they have been proven wrong.

We registered strong interest in all three DM windows (themes). As we expected, the DM window on climate adaptation with multiple benefits saw the strongest interest:

1. Resilience of Indigenous Peoples' Communities to Climate Risks -- 24%
    2. Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits -- 51%     
    3. Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management -- 25%.

Sub-Saharan Africa sent in the most proposals, 30%, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean with 25%, South Asia with 22%, and East Asia/Pacific with 14%. The top five implementing countries are India, Peru, Kenya, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. We received proposals from several small island nations that did not participate in the DM last year: Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Some regions surprised with relatively low participation. Eastern Europe/Central Asia only sent in 5% of the received proposals. Middle East and North Africa submitted just 25 proposals, 1% of the total. The weak interest from the Middle East is particularly striking given the extreme water scarcities and other adaptation challenges faced by this region. I would be curious to find out if absence of grassroots organizations or lack of interest in climate change caused the low participation from these regions.

Although analysis and assessment of the proposals will take time to complete, one conclusion already stands out for me. This is to re-affirm what several official reports and research studies have concluded, that climate adaptation and general development work are closely integrated. Adaptation is integral to development and cannot stand alone. Rather, climate change adaptation should form part of projects in rural development, livelihoods, indigenous peoples development, disaster risk reduction, and other areas. This also means that donor financing for adaptation should be designed in a manner that is integrated with financing for general development and allows capitalizing on the synergies between general development and climate adaptation.

There is also another lesson buried here. I have seen a number of adaptation proposals with excellent ideas on tackling tough problems such as rural poverty or dwindling fuel sources that fail to link their ideas to climate adaptation. For example, someone wants to plan trees or promote clean household cooking but fails to connect the dots to climate change. To me, this signals that the grassroots need to think harder about how their local work could help communities respond to ongoing and future climate changes. The local actions need to match the global context.