Setting the Adaptation Agenda

Friendship represents climate-impacted communities at global climate summit

by Dorothee ter Kulve, Chairperson, Friendship Netherlands

Global leaders and local stakeholders convene during the Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS2021) organized in the Netherlands on 25 and 26 January. Their aim is to define a comprehensive Adaptation Action Agenda that sets out clear commitments to deliver concrete new plans, activities and partnerships to make our world more resilient to the effects of climate change.

Climate change is happening and will increasingly affect the poor such as the char communities in the riverine areas in Northern Bangladesh, literally Ground Zero. These poor communities face the brunt of climate change already today. These communities are used to living with the water, and although the water can be dangerous, it also sustains life by giving fertility to the soil. Their lifestyle traditionally is a mix of innovation, resilience and ingenuity for survival.

Friendship has worked alongside these communities since 2002 as we believe that adaptation is necessary. There is a need to integrate responses to climate change and adaptation measures into strategies for poverty reduction to ensure sustainable development. Together with the local community, government and local organizations, we prepare and invest in healthcare, education, economic development and full citizenship.

Friendship Netherlands chairperson Dorothy ter Kelve on a trip to the ‘Ground Zero’ of climate change

Friendship helps the population, in the areas most affected by climate change, to adapt sustainably to changing circumstances. With good preparation, the damage is limited. The experience and knowledge gained in practice by the community to face the consequences of climate change, combined with scientific technology, can serve as an example for other climate-affected areas, both in Bangladesh and internationally.

However, climate adaptation remains significantly disregarded and underfunded. Locally led solutions addressing the livelihood needs of people vulnerable to climate change impacts are efficient and cost effective but there is a gap in funding. 

Friendship is ready to scale up the solutions developed in the chars to other parts of Bangladesh and beyond through new partnerships.  This will increase mutual learning, exchange and innovation in order to promote adaptation measures which clearly deliver livelihood benefits in particular for the ultra-poor.

By participating in CAS2021, we call on the international arena to invest in capacity building and strengthening local organizations. Scaling existing solutions is urgent! It is important to hear the voices of the most deprived in the fight to survive the climate crisis.

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