Why are things moving so slowly?
Am refering specifically to adaptation efforts here.
Amidst the plethora of concepts and ideas thrown around COP15, I went with a specific aim to learn more about how to help the vulnerable communities, fast.
Community-based adaptation is the term coined for plans that help vulnerable communities adapt in a bottom-up process. The idea is that while climate change scientists and civil engineers have helpful inputs, it is the communities that present sustainable, culturally effective ideas.
Funding is one factor, naturally. But trained resources are also lacking, and holding back the number of projects that can be accomplished. Community-based adaptation can be a painfully long process, as communities are heterogeneous and plans are not that easily scalable.
The message resounded at a side event discussing the progress of Clean Development Mechanism, one of the finance mechanisms proposed to reduce carbon emissions. The proposals take far too long to be approved, with a typical cycle being 18 months. Officers comment that it is sometimes as simple as having a website built to facilitate communication and information sharing.
Funding naturally might ease things at the human resource management side. However, businesses and educational institutes can contribute by considering how skills can be applied to further humanitarian aid. Policy makers similarly need to consider job creation in these sectors.
NGOs as well might have to consider what work they can outsource, which potentially mean a fundamental restructuring of their work processes. One example is Grameen Bank’s Bankers without Borders. The online system effectively taps the skills and pockets of time of educated volunteers worldwide.
The urgency is looming, and flexibility will be necessary to speed up what meandering political debates might not deliver fast enough.
Photo credits: Oxfam International http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/2104999126/
Live from COP15