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Global knowledge, local resilience

  • Published at 08:09 am December 5th, 2020
CT_December 2020_Shahrin
Photo: Pixabay

Enhancing peer-to-peer learning in the Global South to foster actions on climate change adaptation and resilience

The impacts of climate change on developing countries particularly on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are immense. Such adverse effects are manifested at the local level, threatening future resilience. The global Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the prevailing challenges faced by local communities and revealed the interconnected systemic flaws. 

But this is only part of the truth. Local communities, together with their large and trusted networks, have been undertaking adaptation and resilience strategies at local and community level allowing the voices of the poor to be heard and thereby strengthening the partnership between communities and a range of stakeholders at a different level.

Despite making important contributions in adaptation and generating useful experiential climate knowledge, locally driven data and information are still not widely used in decision making due to concerns about usability and legitimacy. Closing the usability gap between knowledge generators and users requires a systematic knowledge exchange and collaboration among stakeholders. 

One such way to exchange knowledge effectively across a wide range of users is through “peer-to-peer learning”. Peer-to-peer learning is a powerful tool to exchange experience and learning on climate change adaptation and resilience and foster collaboration at all levels. 

Climate knowledge has historically been delivered from Global North to South. But over the years, the “communities of practice” in the Global South have developed substantial knowledge through the collective experience of dealing with recurring shocks. 

As they continue developing their unique expertise in-country, they are increasingly seeking to learn from each other. With recent incidences of climatic shocks and COVID-19, the need for collaboration among countries in the Global South to share common needs and design collective actions is more pronounced now.

To promote such an abundance of expertise and foster greater collaboration, creating as well as linking and expanding knowledge networks are key. Such platforms can stimulate learning opportunities of best practices and enhance the acceptability and replicability of tested solutions. Innovate ways of building adaptive capacities are also offered through such collaboration.

To contribute to the wider goal of creating Southern-led knowledge platforms, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) has partnered with the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) and Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) in a number of efforts for South-to-South knowledge sharing and peer learning. 

One such initiative is called the Voices from the Frontline, which provides a platform to grassroot communities and organisations to share their stories of building community resilience during Covid-19 through writing blog pieces and speaking on different knowledge dissemination events. 

It provides an excellent opportunity to the grassroots organisations and people working in the field of resilience to learn about the community best practices across the globe. A resilience knowledge coalition is another initiative which focuses on peer-to-peer learning to provide tailored knowledge and help shaping global policies and investments. 

Instead of investing on forming new networks, the coalition prefers to join largely separated existing networks which have trusted relationships with communities as well as decision makers to influence policy making with salient, timely and legitimate information. 

The Climate Resilience Academy for LDCs (CRAL) is another initiative which aims to facilitate South-South knowledge transfer by bringing together trans-disciplinary cohorts of academics, scientists, practitioners, thought leaders and policymakers and generate useful insights towards identifying solution pathways towards future resilience.

Recovering from the pandemic, while ensuring a clear pathway towards climate action goals and achievement of the SDGs, would require building bridges among different types of stakeholders at all levels. Bringing the Southern countries experiences together, through peer-to-peer learning will collectively contribute to adaptation knowledge globally and work to enhance local resilience.

Shahrin currently works as a Senior Research Officer at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD). Her research interest lies in community-based adaptation, gender and climate change, and sustainable development.

Prof Saleemul Huq is the Director of at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD).

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