CCMCC at the Development & Climate Days 2017

17 November 2017

During the Development & Climate Days – a side event of COP23 in Bonn – seven research projects from the NWO/DFID funded Conflict and Cooperation in the Management of Climate Change programme presented their results in a joint session.

An insight from CCMCC on the giant D&C Days illustration

D&C Days brings together representatives from NGOs, research, policy and private sector that work at the intersection of development and climate change issues. The Conflict and Cooperation in the Management of Climate Change research programme organised a session during D&C days, on “How can we build resilience in fragile and conflict affected contexts, where many of the world’s most vulnerable people live? “ It was co-organised with IDRC, UN Volunteers and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)  The session triggered quite some interest, as the room was filled to its last seat. Participants gathered around the theme along four lines of enquiry.

Key messages

how do we obtain and remain legitimacy when working in contexts with contestations and conflicts?;

  • Working in conflict-prone settings requires trust, ownership capacities, knowledge and transparency  
  • Awareness is required that drivers of conflict may be external; local conflicts may be cause by factors at (inter)national level
  • The development paradigm may need a shift;
    - obtaining ‘buy-in’ implies that an external approach is pushed;
    - knowledge held by communities may no longer be adequate: climate change requires new knowledge being addressed

Are we responding to the right things in conflict affected contexts?

  • Key vulnerabilities:
    - Access to resources
    - Political and power dynamics
  • Conflict is not necessarily negative: it may well help to address vulnerabilities and be a driver of change
  • Identification with local people is crucial

Lessons and implications
Reflections on working in conflict-prone settings

  • Need for understanding of power dynamics and local economies, as resource-based conflicts are often related to other conflict. Existing formats to address conflicts need to be changed: there is need for long-term and multi-stakeholder engagement, based on a recognition of the needs, interests and rights of vulnerable groups
  • Resource-based conflicts need resource-based solutions, making use of existing tools and instruments (such as Environmental Impact Assessment , and Free, Prior & Informed Consent)

So what?
Moving from lessons learned that enhance the understanding of conflict to solutions, to implementation and from there to upscaling.

  • Conflict does not always manifest, in case of extreme vulnerabilities it may remain below surface
  • Cooperation may be perverse when forced by external forces and not being self-selected
  • Adaptation needs to be conflict-sensitive, with the clear understanding that there are no win-win solutions: solutions may be imposed.

Key take away from the CCMCC session: “Communities are not homogeneous.”

General reflections

General reflections were provided by Margaret Arnold of the WorldBank and Sebastiaan Soeters, post-doc in the TICCI project. A key take away from the session was that communities are not as homogenous as they are perceived to be and that contestations may be present within. Thus, ‘listening to communities’, a development mantra which was also often exclaimed during D&C Days, may be detrimental to groups within the communities that are not in the position to speak up. Further to this, some traditional institutions within communities, may drive inequalities. It is accordingly suggested to focus on landscapes and its various users when developing interventions, in order to enhance conflict-sensitiveness.

The same key take away some hours later.

Source: NWO