It’s a relief not to be attending another combative international conference on climate change dominated by procedural game-playing and narrow national interest rather than global concern.

This meeting brings together people concerned with the hows and whys of helping people adapt to climate change. Participants come from about 60 countries, each country with its own set of problems, but rather than being obsessed with what they can get out of negotiations, participants want to learn from others, to contribute knowledge and experience, and share.

However, it’s not just a talking shop with tea breaks - though I have long thought that since the main benefit of such meetings is that they enable participants to meet old friends and contacts and make new ones, the usual conference procedure should be reversed: they should consist almost entirely of extensive coffee periods with just two 20-minute breaks for formal sessions.

Apart from knowledge-sharing, this work of this conference will re-emerge as a book on scaling-up community-based adaptation.

A publisher has been found (Earthscan) and it is hoped the book will be available by the end of the year, or early next year.

Books and reports often go straight from publisher to top shelf, never to be read. This one is different: the aim, says Saleemul Huq of the International Institute for Environment and Development, is that it will be “captured” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the leading international body for the assessment of climate change) and its findings and experiences included in the IPCC’s next major report.

There’s little doubt that this aim will be achieved: Huq is the lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the IPCC’s third assessment report and lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Mitigation in the fourth assessment report.

And Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who has chaired the IPCC since 2002, is scheduled to speak at  the closing session of the conference on 31 March.

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