On November 20, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), as a member of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism (UNDRR-SEM), supported the SEM for the organisation of the side event “Local solutions to a global problem: stories of resilience from people at the frontline of climate change” within the framework of the London Climate Action Week 2020.

Communities in the global south, indigenous people and food producers are at the forefront of climate change impacts and frequently the first to respond to climate-induced disasters. However, the resilience they demonstrate and the solutions they employ is too often overlooked. National and regional planning efforts for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction rarely effectively integrate their perspectives.

Focusing on climate impacts and adaptation, the session aimed at showcasing stories from communities that are taking action to address the impacts of climate change and build their own resilience. They try to work collaboratively at different levels of government and with a variety of stakeholders to deliver innovative, community-led initiatives; however, their perspectives are not always welcomed or embraced, and this event emphasized the importance of turning to those who are least listened to for climate solutions.

The event was also an opportunity to highlight the need and opportunity to integrate local stakeholders’ practices into National Adaptation Plans and/or other DRR strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic and other recent disasters have shown the systemic nature of risk, and coherence is an important element to address this. Hence, the meeting outlined how meaningful involvement of local actors increases the effectiveness of coherent actions at the national level.

Daniel M’Mailutha, CEO, Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) joined the event to advocate for farmers as they are among the most impacted by climate-induced disasters and those providing more resilient and nature-based solutions.

Other speakers joining the discussion included David Stevens, Head of UNDRR Bonn Office; Constance Okollet, farmer from Uganda, Women’s Climate Center; Shaila Shahid, Chief Operating Officer, Disaster Climate Change Support Unit, Government of Bangladesh; Elaine McCarty, SEM coordinator.