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Pledges of Adaptation Collaboration Need a Close Watch

Tom Grubisich's picture

Many developing countries are busy planning to adapt to climate change that is already heavily impacting their people, natural resources, and economies, especially agriculture.   But what actually works in particular countries, and at what cost, are often questions that National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPAs) and other strategies don't adequately answer.
To find answers that can be tailored to the conditions of individual developing countries -- there are 130 -- the World Bank is leading a pilot study of climate adaptation in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Samoa, and Vietnam.

The concept note says "overall oversight of study progress" will include, besides the six national governments, "civil society representation."  But some DM2009 finalists say they see little evidence, based on their own experiences, that governments in their countries are serious about collaboration with the private sector.

Successful climate adaptation depends on public-private collaboration, especially on the community level, where so much adaptation integrated with economic development has to take place.  NGOs with strong community roots -- like many of the DM finalists -- can also help close the capacity gap that hampers public programming in developing countries.

President Evo Morales of Bolivia says active participation of civil society is one of the three pillars of a new vision for Bolivia.  The government of Bangladesh held a series of regional workshops that solicited the views of "stakeholders from various walks of life including farmers, fishermen, businessmen, social activists, representatives of civil society, and women," it said in the final report on its NAPA.  But that report is more than four years old.  The concerns and frustrations of DM finalists from Bangladesh about their government's willingness to collaborate were expressed in recent weeks -- here and here.

Perhaps governmental pledges of public-private collaboration will be carried out as the six-country pilot studies advance, despite the concerns and frustrations expressed by NGOs who were DM finalists. But just in case, study sponsor World Bank should keep a close watch.

(Photo on first page is of rice harvesting in Bangladesh.)


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