Climate champions in Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Tanzania recognised at COP28 for efforts to adapt to climate extremes

5 December 2023 Latest News on LLA
Donna Bowater

The four winners of the 2023 Local Adaptation Champions Awards, organized by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), were announced at an awards ceremony at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

The Awards reward exemplary locally led efforts to address climate change impacts and build effective resilience. More than 500 applications were submitted across four categories: Women in Leadership, Innovation in Devolving Finance, Business Adaptation Solutions, and Capacity Building. The winner in each category received €15,000 to invest in future activities and will benefit from sponsorship by the Adaptation Fund, including attending the Fund’s prestigious learning-and-sharing events.

“As the climate crisis continues to escalate, these Awards shine a light on community-led local adaptation measures that can effectively build resilience at the grassroots,” said Professor Patrick Verkooijen, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Center on Adaptation.

“We are excited to follow the winners’ journeys over the next year and beyond as they utilize the award prize money and Adaptation Fund sponsorship opportunities to develop and scale up their work.”

The four winners were selected from a shortlist of 20 outstanding projects, and represent the diverse activities and geographic scope of locally led efforts being implemented globally at a time when they are needed more than ever.

The Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-Operatives, Government of Bangladesh received the award in the Innovation in Devolving Finance category, which spotlights innovative ways to provide flexible, long-term, and patient funding for adaptation at the local level.

In Bangladesh, the Local Government Initiative on Climate Change (LoGIC) is enhancing communities’ ability to plan and finance local adaptation actions that suit their needs and contexts. Through this project, the Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-Operatives, Government of Bangladesh provides a mechanism for accessing and managing climate finance from various sources, a platform for sharing best practices and lessons learned, and a system for monitoring and evaluating effectiveness and impact.

Mohammed Fazla Azim, Joint Secretary and National Project Director, said: “By facilitating access to markets and financing, the project enables climate-vulnerable communities to upscale adaptive practices, diversify income sources, and invest in climate-resilient livelihoods based on traditional knowledge at both national and local levels.” LoGIC is currently operating in nine districts in Bangladesh.

The winner in the Business Adaptation Solutions category highlights how small and large businesses are expanding access to adaptation solutions or technologies that address local climate-related vulnerabilities and are helping to address structural inequalities, such as those faced by women, youth, and indigenous peoples.

Receiving the award was India-based Aumsat Technologies LLP, which has innovatively harnessed satellite-based radar analytics to address the pressing issue of water scarcity exacerbated by climate change. Riddhish Soni, Chief Executive Officer, utilized his experience on the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission to develop Aumsat, a revolutionary device that analyzes satellite data to pinpoint underground water sources and optimal locations for groundwater recharge sites. The business model is based on users paying a fee per hectare per year to access a web-based platform and analytical services that facilitate precision-farming and smart-resilient agriculture.

Riddhish said: “Aumsat emerged as a beacon of hope, seamlessly bridging the marvels of space technology with pressing earthly concerns, illuminating a path toward a more hydrated and hopeful future for India.”

The Capacity Building category focused on innovations that support a continuous and evolving process of learning. The winner, Espacio de Encuentro de las Culturas Originarias, A.C., focuses on adaptation to climate change at the local level in highly vulnerable communities in Oaxaca, a region of Mexico that sees frequent droughts, frosts, and cyclones. The project engages communities in the development and implementation of ecotechnologies like dry toilets, energy-saving stoves, fog catchers, and vegetable patch irrigation systems.

General Coordinator Tzinnia Carranza López said: “Communities involved in this project benefit from affordable, relevant, and innovative ecotechnologies that make them better able to adapt to extreme weather events.”

Members of the community attend workshops outlining the theoretical and practical elements of these ecotechnologies, which means people have the skills and knowledge to strengthen their community resilience. “Utilizing ecotechnologies means people can produce their own food using agroecological techniques that are more resilient to extreme weather events,” Carranza López added.

For the Women in Leadership category, GCA invited applications from individual women and women’s groups championing the cause of local adaptation in a variety of ways, from those who are part of government and non-government organizations to women working in the private sector or for educational institutions.

Receiving the award was the Pastoral Women’s Council, which works in four provinces of northern Tanzania to enhance Indigenous pastoralist women’s leadership capabilities and build women’s capacity to achieve equality as decision-makers in pastoralist societies. The Lake Natron Community accepted the award in recognition of its members’ commitment to implementing its action plans in a region that is particularly vulnerable to climate change-related hazards like droughts and flooding, which threaten livelihoods and create food insecurity.

Maanda Ngoitiko, Co-founder and Executive Director, said: “Although pastoralist men and women are equally exposed to climate shocks and stress, women have fewer opportunities to access and control productive resources or engage in alternative climate resilience livelihoods and incomes. Their knowledge of the environment is crucial but often goes ignored in drought-mitigation and adaptation strategies.”

The Award winners were selected by a prestigious jury, comprising:

  • Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates

  • Roselinda Soipan Tuiya, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, Kenya

  • Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh

  • Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State (Development and Africa) in the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, UK

  • Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark

  • Ban Ki-moon, Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation Board and 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations

  • Professor Patrick Verkooijen, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Center on Adaptation