Ziaul Hoque Mukta, Regional Policy Coordinator, Oxfam GB Asia
Oxfam in Bangladesh has been organizing series of Basic Training on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) , Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management (NRM) involving Project Coordinators, Field Facilitators and Field Organizers of Partner Organizations implementing the ‘Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Change Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REECALL) Program’.
REECALL, the detail of the acronym itself, explains the components of the program. It considers ‘economic development’ as the main pillar for the development of poor, marginalized and vulnerable people living in a specific socioeconomic condition, and emphasizes on physical aspects of that specific socioeconomic condition. This is why DRR stands as an important pillar within the program to combat the weather related and geothermal extreme events. As climate change increases the intensity and frequency of weather related extreme events, as well as intensifies and increases the slow onset events, it is crucial that the program covers the climate change aspects in development interventions. Oxfam understands that ‘the development’ which reduces risks and increases resilience is the best ‘adaptation’ to climate change; thus, REECALL becomes the ‘resilient’ ‘development program’ of Oxfam in Bangladesh.
Oxfam promotes a ‘one program approach’ that includes the long-term development intervention, emergency humanitarian response and campaigns and policy/advocacy. While emergency humanitarian response would be a needs-based initiative, the regular development intervention would be accompanied by campaigns and policy work. This is a key distinction of REECALL compared with much quoted Community Based Adaptation (CBA). It is important to intervene at community level, however intervention at community level wouldn’t be sustainable if policies and practices are aren’t addressed. Community interventions are fixed, influenced and shaped by series of macro policies introduced by national government and by respective local authorities in some cases. REECALL should look at policies and practices at all relevant stages, starting from community to global level. Notably, albeit problems people are facing are local, the causes and solutions are essentially local, Agroecological Zone (AEZ) and basin based, and national, regional and global.
For example, natural resources including land-water-forests of a specific AEZ are few of the areas of program intervention for economic empowerment, DRR and CCA, are managed by policies adopted by national, regional and global authorities; thus must be considered either to guide the program implementation or to introduce, review and amend those to serve people. Similarly, while REECALL works around the issue of DRR and CCA, it needs to look at essential national planning documents e.g. The Vision 2021, Outline Perspective Plan (OPP), Sixth Five Year Plan (SFYP) and annual budgetary allocation government makes to implement the sectoral plan ‘Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009′. Works around ‘Adaptation Framework’ being developed at multilateral negotiations under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) could be tremendously useful for the REECALL, and vice versa. Among many international instruments, the ‘Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security’ would help the community and national interventions.
By default, RECALL is an ‘AEZ-based adaptation’. The tiny country Bangladesh has 30 AEZs which have been clustered into eight categories and four of these clusters have been prioritized for program intervention considering the extent of people’s vulnerability. If there were a national framework for such program, it would be terribly catastrophic. One size doesn’t fit all.
Among different components of AEZ-based adaptation NRM becomes a key area of intervention. While the Basic Training has been organized with the partner organizations of coastal areas, it has been prioritized that REECALL ensures people’s access to and control over natural resources of the region including land, water and forests that have been grabbed by local powerful elites. Oxfam’s Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) in Bangladesh and global GROW campaign can provide important political direction to the REECALL and in return REECALL can mobilize national forces for a strengthened CSRL/GROW to empower people.
Community Interventions accompanied with influencing works shall contribute to institutional aspects of adaptation. Institutions should be accessed, sensitized and changed in the changed situation where knowledge generated from generations to generations and technologies in operations seem inadequate. Altogether REECALL is an approach that we believe will create more resilient and adaptable communities.