Reflections on HI-AWARE’s 5th Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science conference in Kathmandu

by Katharine Vincent

Last week I was privileged to attend the 5th Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science conference, which also served as the final workshop for DECCMA’s sister project within the CARIAA programme-Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE). Whilst DECCMA is investigating climate change and adaptation in deltas, the biophysical “hotspot” in which HI- AWARE focuses is glacier and snowpack-dependent river basins, which include the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta river basins in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

David Molden (DG of ICIMOD), Maheshwar Dhakal (Ministry of Forests and Environment) and Flip Wester (PI of HI-AWARE)

The conference was split into 2 days – the first had the theme “gendered vulnerability”, and the second was a launch of HI-AWARE final products.

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On the first day community members had been invited from the project pilot sites across the four countries. It was very inspiring to hear how the pilot adaptations are actively reducing people’s vulnerability to climate change: through climate-smart agriculture in Pakistan, eco-san toilets in India, and flood-resistant houses in Bangladesh. The gentleman from Bangladesh reported that, whilst he was with us, neighbours were sheltering in his home as the Teesta had flooded and his was one of the few houses that had not been submerged.

HI-AWARE’s findings on gendered vulnerability were presented from case studies upstream, midstream and downstream in each basin. New “genderscapes” are being produced, particularly as a result of migration. Whilst individual women may be empowered with new decision-making capacity when their husbands leave, the institutions have not caught up with these evolving gender norms and thus can still act to impede gender-equitable access to services and facilities. Building on our CARIAA-wide synthesis work on gender-related findings, I participated (alongside colleagues from PRISE and ASSAR) in a panel discussion highlighting results of our qualitative comparative analysis of 25 cases, and the predominant conditions that can support or dampen women’s agency.

On the second day, the HI-AWARE team launched 15 briefing papers describing key findings relating to the projected magnitude of climate change in mountains, heat stress, water availability (for agriculture and urban use), flooding and critical climate moments (in adaptation pathways). This was followed by presentations on their approach to research into use – or research impact – activities, knowledge management/communications, and M&E.

In addition to the content findings, one of my favourite parts of the conference was when HI-AWARE-supported postgraduate students (“fellows”) and early career researchers, communicators and practitioners talked about their journeys as part of the project, and how it has affected their career paths. The confidence and skills gained by these young men and women was obvious, and their enthusiasm and commitment inspiring. Almost all of them also spoke about their improved knowledge and understanding of gender and the importance of communicating research findings for impact. Both of these elements are things we have also prioritised in DECCMA and are, I believe, essential for transdisciplinary research that is effective in enabling socially-equitable adaptation to climate change.

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Story of change-DECCMA’s inputs to the Odisha State Action Plan on Climate Change 2018-23

DECCMA is committed to providing policy support to create the conditions for sustainable, gender-sensitive adaptation in deltas. The DECCMA India team in the Mahanadi delta, through consortium members Sansristi and the Chilika Development Authority, has actively engaged with stakeholders in the Odisha state government.

As a result of this engagement, the DECCMA India team was invited to provide comments into the second Odisha State Action Plan on Climate Change 2018-23. Whilst gender was minimally considered, as a results of DECCMA’s inputs and research findings the plan now contains a separate chapter on gender. This short video clip tracks DECCMA’s contribution to the change in the content of the Action Plan.

What is life like in the Indian Bengal delta? New video clip of recent fieldwork

In June 2018 a group of students from the University of Southampton and the DECCMA India team visited Dulki, a village within the Indian Bengal delta, to investigate migration and adaptation and their opportunities and challenges. This short video clip provides insights into the nature of livelihoods in Dulki, how they are affected by climate and environmental change, and how they respond.

New insights on climate change, migration and adaptation in the Mahanadi and Indian Bengal deltas

by Sumana Banerjee

DECCMA has released two new briefs that outline the latest findings on climate change, migration and adaptation in the Mahanadi and Indian Bengal deltas. Among the highlights are the relationship of migration to climate stress (with most stressed locations sending more migrants in both deltas), the barriers to policy implementation (particularly relating to embankment (re)construction), and lack of gender-sensitive adaptation policies.

The briefs provide an update to our earlier delta briefs (for the Mahanadi and Indian Bengal deltas).

Come and hear more about DECCMA research at Adaptation Futures 2018

DECCMA researchers will be participating in the following sessions at Adaptation Futures 2018 in Cape Town:

Monday 18th June

Robert Nicholls will participate in S80 on “Adaptive coastal planning-sharing techniques, tools and experiences”, run by Deltares (parallel session 2, 1500-1700, room 2.64).

Tuesday 19th June

Ricardo Safra de Campos will participate S39 on “Early experiences with managed retreat”, run by Stanford University (parallel session 4, 1415-1600, room 1.43).

Wednesday 20th June

Shouvik Das will participate in S92 on “Multidimensional Framework and Response Matrix for Migration”, run by Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)(early session, 0800-0900, room 2.63)

Katharine Vincent will give a presentation “Gendered adaptation in deltas: Who decides, who benefits, and who loses?” in S64 “What enables adaptation of women in climate hotspots?”, run by IDRC (parallel session 6, 0915-1100, room 1.63).

Katharine Vincent will give a presentation “The process of developing adaptation policy trajectories in the DECCMA project” in S200 “Evidence-based guiding principles for developing adaptation pathways to inform adaptation policy and practice in the context of development”, run by Wageningen University  (parallel session 7, 1415-1600, room 2.41).

Katharine Vincent will give a presentation “Changing attitudes and behaviours among members of a consortium” in S195 “Research for Impact: Dynamic approaches, experiences and lessons on research uptake” (parallel session 8, 1630-1815, room 1.42).

Thursday 21st June

Kwasi Appeaning-Addo will give a presentation on the DECCMA project in Ghana in S180 “Towards an adaptive climate proof freshwater supply in salinising deltas and possible solutions for deltas worldwide: examples from The Netherlands, Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh”, run by Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management  (parallel session 11, 1415-1600, room 1.62).

Robert Nicholls, Katharine Vincent and Ricardo Safra de Campos will participate in a joint DECCMA-Western Indian Ocean Deltas Exchange Network (WIODER)-Delta Alliance session “Adaptation practice and experience in deltas in the global south”. Robert will chair the session, Katharine will make a presentation “Documenting observed adaptations in deltaic Ghana, India and Bangladesh” and Ricardo will make a presentation “Migration as an adaptation” (parallel session 11, 1415-1600, room 1.64).

New CARIAA brief on migration in climate change hotspots

DECCMA co-organises session on climate change, migration and adaptation at the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling annual conference in Bangladesh

by Saiful Alam

DECCMA co-organised a session with the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling on “Climate change, migration and adaptation: Challenges and way forward for Bangladesh” at the 3rd SANEM Annual Economists’ Conference 2018. The conference was titled “Leave no one behind in South Asia” and took place on February 17-18, 2018 in Mohakhali, Bangladesh.

Mashfiqus Salehin introduces the DECCMA project

Dr. Mashfiqus Salehin, IWFM, gave an overview of the aims and objectives of the DECCMA project and the ways in which it has investigated the nature of climate hazards, vulnerability, adaptation and migration in coastal Bangladesh. He explained the empirical evidence received from extensive stakeholder engagement, the analysis of vulnerability in the hotspots and concluded with the importance of household adaptations in the reduction of climate related vulnerability in the coastal region.

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Dr. Bazlul Haque Khondker and Zubayer Hossen from SANEM presented DECCMA’s economic framework. This involved the use of stakeholder consultation to provide insights into the Input-Output table of Computable General Equilibrium model in explaining its linkages with livelihood, income and other economic parameters in the agriculture-dominated coastal environment.

Panelists Dr. Anwara Begum, BIDS and Mr. Saiful Alam, DECCMA, discussed the gender dimensions of adaptation and how the research findings on livelihoods and adaptation can influence climate-related policy and planning in Bangladesh. In an open discussion, the panelists answered a number of question from the audience related to the relevance to climate policy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Gender and the Paris Agreement to the UNFCCC

By Katharine Vincent

Climate change does not affect men and women in the same way.  DECCMA recognises this and, through its research, aims to “deliver policy support to create the conditions for sustainable, gender-sensitive adaptation”.  How is DECCMA in line with the gender dimensions of climate change in international policy?

African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change side event at COP22 in Marrakech

The Paris Agreement is the latest legally-binding outcome under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – the global policy framework for addressing climate change.  The Paris Agreement has been in the spotlight again after the recent 23rd Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, hosted by Fiji and held in Bonn.

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Despite the existing UNFCCC commitments to gender, the Paris Agreement is, outside of the Preamble, largely gender-blind.  A set of recent papers, commissioned by the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change with the support of IDRC, show that the term “gender” features only three times throughout the whole Paris Agreement: once in the Preamble; once in Article 7 (adaptation-focused); and once in Article 1 (capacity building-focused).  Neither the articles on mitigation nor technology transfer mention gender.

By not explicitly referencing gender there is a risk that Parties do not apply a gender-responsive approach in implementing the Agreement, and thus existing gender inequalities are reinforced.   Women typically have less control over land, lower education levels, more restricted mobility (due to their home-based roles), and poorer levels of participation in decision-making compared to men.  However gender differences are context-specific and unpacking them is essential to develop gender-responsive adaptation.

Within its household survey DECCMA has been investigating the different ways that men and women adapt to climate change in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, Indian Bengal, Mahanadi and Volta deltas.  It is our intention to use this to support gender-responsive adaptation, as outlined in Article 7 of the Paris Agreement.  Gender-responsive adaptations are better targeted to the different needs of men and women, and thus more effective and efficient.  We are also gender-sensitive in our capacity building attempts, and thus consistent with Article 11 of the Paris Agreement.

For a detailed gender analysis of the Paris Agreement, see this background paper produced by the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (with support of IDRC), and an accompanying gender-responsive implementation framework.

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