By Moushumi Chaudhury
For most of us, the obvious answer to this question is nothing. However, a field trip that I went on as part of the Community Based Adaptation 6 (CBA6) conference held in Vietnam has made me think about this question in a different manner. To gain a better understanding of community based adaptation practices, I travelled northwest of Hanoi to the Mai Hich Commune in the Mai Chau District. In this very green and mountainous part of the country, a group of CBA6 participants were exposed to the activities taking place through the “integrated HIV/AIDS prevention program for rural sustainable poverty reduction” project in the Mai Hich Commune led by Center for Community Health and Development (COHED), a prominent NGO. We were told by COHED that the largest environmental threats to the Commune are flooding, landslide caused by soil erosion, and water shortage. Agriculture is the major economic activity that many of the 30,000 people in the Commune depend upon.
Blog post written jointly by Marta G. Rivera-Ferre, Marina di Masso, Mara Miele, and CCAFS.
Local traditional knowledge (LTK) is advocated by many international development and research institutes, as well as by local NGOs and grassroots civil society. When discussed within the climate change adaptation community, it is heralded as a crucial untapped knowledge source that may hold the key to sustainable adaptation to climate change. Yet organizations and scientific literature have been much more vague as to how to tap into these resources; whether they will remain relevant in the context of accelerating, unprecedented changes (in climate, economic structures, and demographics); and to what extent locally-produced and -tailored practices might be transferable/scalable to other areas.
To help answer these questions, CCAFS released an Open Call for research on the role of LTK in South Asian agriculture. A Spanish team, led by Dr. Marta Guadalupe Rivera-Ferre of the Center for Research on Agro-food Economics and Development (CREDA), was selected, and in conjunction with CCAFS, the researchers have begun exploring the nuances of LTK. In particular, the team has chosen to examine how LTK can manage risks of and adapt to projected climatic risks related to water (shortages and flooding). Read more »
Even as international climate change negotiations are about to start, experts acknowledge the need for (and efficacy of) local solutions too.
Excerpts from a New York Times article by Elizabeth Malkin, Nov 22, 2010:
"Three decades ago the Zapotec Indians here in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico fought for and won the right to communally manage the forest. Before that, state-owned companies had exploited it as they pleased under federal government concessions.
"They slowly built their own lumber business and, at the same time, began studying how to protect the forest. Now, the town’s enterprises employ 300 people who harvest timber, produce wooden furniture and care for the woodlands, and Ixtlán has grown to become the gold standard of community forest ownership and management, international forestry experts say.
"....In developing countries, where the rule of law is weak and enforcement spotty, simply declaring a forest off-limits does little to prevent illegal logging or clearing land for agriculture or development.
"....A recent Cifor study reported that more than a quarter of the forests in developing countries are now being managed by local communities. The trend is worldwide — from China to Brazil..."
Beginning in October, CCAFS partner Bioversity International will give farmers in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) access to different seeds and allow them to freely experiment. The researchers will then track the results and facilitate inter-farmer exchanges of information and experiences, creating a new network of agricultural knowledge.
The Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) region, formed by the fluvial action of the Indus and Ganges River systems, is one of the world’s most important food grain producing regions. Its 13.5 million hectares of farmland account for over 30% of the rice and 42% of the wheat grown in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal; 15% of global wheat production; and, most impressively, 21% of the food stock worldwide. The region also supports some of the most densely populated areas on earth, with more than 300 million people dependent on the predominant rice-wheat cropping system.
Hence, IGP is a socially significant and economically strategic domain of India; however it is also environmentally sensitive, and its landscape, hydrology and fertility are increasingly being threatened by climate warming and anthropogenic pressure. Future climate scenarios suggest that, by 2050, as much as 51% of the IGP region might be reclassified as a heat-stressed, irrigated, short-season production mega-environment. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)