All communities have the right to contribute to climate adaptation strategies. This issue of Participatory Learning and Action was produced by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to coincide with the 2009 COP 15 and surrounding events. The publication aims to facilitate learning and experience-sharing around community-based adaptation (CBA) approaches that empower poor and marginalised communities and build on local knowledge and coping strategies. It argues that these approaches tend to be far more successful than top-down initiatives.The first section reflects on CBA participatory processes and practice, such as DRR frameworks, Farmer Field Schools and participatory vulnerability analysis. Various case studies are also presented, including water governance in West Africa and crop selection in Sri Lanka, which provide valuable lessons for CBA practitioners. Some of the case studies outline effective use of participatory tools such as video and mapping exercises. Among the lessons learned is that men and women often perceive climate-related hazards differently, and that external facilitators should not impose their ‘expertise’ but take time to learn from local knowledge.