This briefing paper describes a new approach to addressing the vulnerability of poor communities to climate change: Community-based adaptation (CBA). CBA begins by identifying the communities in the developing world that are most vulnerable to climate change. These are generally very poor, depend on natural resources, and occupy areas prone to environmental shocks. Once a community’s vulnerability has been established, using the best available science on climate change impacts, the process of engagement with the communities can begin. The key concepts behind CBA are outlined, and some lessons learned are shared for achieving CBA in practise. These include:
how to gain the trust of vulnerable communities
how to communicate climate change to vulnerable communities
how to introduce new technologies and practices
how to distinguish between adaptation and development
the importance of learning-by-doing.
These lessons are illustrated through the use of a CBA case study of Cavite City in the Philippines. The paper concludes by calling for greater networking, information sharing and support for CBA activities. IIED and its partners are creating an online CBA network and other opportunities to share knowledge of what works.