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Community Based Adaptation: an empowering approach for climate resilient development and risk reduction

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This document shows how Community Based Adaptation (CBA) is an invaluable and essential component of the
vision for resilient development across Africa. It provides greater clarity on what CBA looks like and how it
can add value to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and sustainable development approaches. It intends to assist policy makers and practitioners by demonstrating some successful practical CBA approaches which can be adopted and scaled up. The document draws from CBA lessons learnt by the Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa (ALP), implemented by CARE International across four African countries: Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Niger.

In summary, the challenges facing poor and marginalized communities are complex. From economic crises, to natural disasters, to environmental degradation and conflict, all are increasing poor people’s vulnerability and posing significant challenges to securing livelihoods. Climate change exacerbates the problem by creating an additional layer of uncertainty and risk for vulnerable communities, increasing the severity and frequency of disasters and jeopardizing development gains. The cost of ignoring these impacts will soon be impossible to meet. Climate change challenges us to live with ongoing change and to make decisions in the context of increased uncertainty and risk. We must help people recover from shocks and stress, and also work with them to find a more lasting solution which addresses the underlying drivers of risk and vulnerability, strengthens existing adaptive capacity and builds long term resilience. Strengthening vulnerable groups to become climate resilient will help them to absorb the stresses and shocks generated by climate changes and variability, including extreme droughts and floods, while continuing on a positive and sustainable development path. Working in traditional silos will not be sufficient to build the resilience of vulnerable populations. Instead an integrated approach to development, risk management and humanitarian assistance is required.

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