Community Based
Adaptation in

Community Based Adaptation in Action

A case study from Bangladesh

Project Summary Report (Phase I)
Improved Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change for
Sustainable Livelihoods in the Agriculture Sector

Stephan Baas
Selvaraju Ramasamy

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The conclusions given in this report are considered appropriate for the time of its preparation. They may be modified in the light of further knowledge gained at subsequent stages of the project.

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ISBN 978-92-5-106056-8

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FAO 2008


Bangladesh, due to its geo-physical position and socio-economic context, is highly prone to regular natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. In 2005, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) initiated a project at the request of the Bangladesh government that was designed to improve the adaptive capacities of rural populations and their resilience to drought and other climate change impacts. It also aimed to inform service providers and policy-makers of the learning and findings, in order to improve support to future adaptation processes. The project is implemented under the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme (CDMP), by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), and in collaboration with the Departments of Fisheries, Livestock and Forestry and national research institutes such as Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI). (Community based actions started with: the characterization of livelihood systems; profiling of vulnerable groups; assessment of past and current climate impacts; understanding of local perceptions of climate impacts, local coping capacities and existing adaptation strategies. Based on those findings the project promotes institutional and technical capacity building within key agencies and among farmers associations/groups for demand responsive services needed by farmers to better adapt. The project has developed, and is constantly updating, a menu of diversified good practice adaptation options, which guides field testing of locally prioritized adaptation practices. Participatory extension is key and includes: demonstrations, orientation meetings, field days, farmer field schools, and community rallies. This report provides a summary of the working approach developed and tested to promote community-based adaptation within agriculture. It presents lessons learned from the implementation process as well as the details of good practice options for drought risk management in the context of climate change.