All states and union territories in India have adopted or are preparing plans for adapting to the impact of climate change, and in certain cases limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Why have SAPCCs been developed?
Over the last decade, there has been growing awareness within India that climate change poses a significant risk for development and poverty reduction. The effects of higher temperatures and erratic rainfall are already being felt, particularly by the poorest and most vulnerable in society. The increasing incidence of climate extremes such as floods, droughts and storms is resulting in the loss of lives and livelihoods, and causing significant financial costs.
The Government of India has responded by developing the 2008 National Action Plan on Climate Change with eight accompanying ‘missions’ on priority adaptation and mitigation issues. However, many of the sectors most at risk from climate change – such as water and agriculture – are the responsibility of state governments. As such, in August 2009, the prime minister of India asked all states to develop a SAPCC which implements the national policy framework taking into account their own unique vulnerabilities.
What is a SAPCC?
A State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) identifies how the state is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and what the government will do to protect itself from – or ‘adapt’ to – climate change.
A common framework was provided to states by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for preparing the plan. Development partners also provided technical support to most state governments during the process. As a result, each SAPCC is different, but there are a number of common elements.
Each SAPCC details any known information about how climate change is currently affecting particular districts and sectors within the state, and provides some estimates of the future situation. In certain states, a comprehensive scientific process was carried out to assess the level of vulnerability of the state to climate change.
Most of the SAPCCs are focused on adapting to the impacts of climate change, but a few also consider how the state is contributing to climate change. As such, a number of SAPCCs include inventories of the level of greenhouse gas emissions the state produces.
The SAPCC also puts forward an approach or strategy for each sector primarily based on inputs from the relevant line department. In most cases, this is followed by a long list of proposed projects or actions that the department will or should take, with some attempt at estimating how much these will cost. In a few SAPCCs, the actions have been prioritised, and costs, sources of finance and timelines included.
The preparation of each SAPCC was led by a focal agency within the state government – in most cases the environment or forestry department, or the state pollution control board. A high-level steering committee was convened to oversee the process, and senior officials from each department were expected to draft chapters for their respective sectors. Consultations with local stakeholders took place, in some cases at both state and district levels. The extent to which the process was participatory and collaborative varied significantly across states.
What is the status of the SAPCCs?
Once a state government has adopted a draft SAPCC, the plan is then reviewed by the national expert committee on climate change, which usually gives suggestions and comments. Once these have been dealt with by the state, the SAPCC is considered and endorsed by the National Steering Committee on Climate Change.
According to the website of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (April 2015), 19 SAPCCs from states and union territories have been endorsed by the National Steering Committee on Climate Change, and should therefore be implemented. The remaining SAPCCs are at different stages of drafting and review.
Status of SAPCCs in ACT focus states (as of May 2015)
The Assam SAPCC has been approved by the MoEFCC with some recommendations.
The Bihar SAPCC has been approved by the MoEFCC with some recommendations.
The Chhattisgarh SAPCC has been endorsed by the MoEFCC steering committee and implementation is just starting.
The Kerala SAPCC has been approved by the MoEFCC and implementation is just starting.
The Maharashtra SAPCC has been submitted to the MoEFCC for approval.
Odisha is now funding the fourth year of implementation of SAPCC activities. The state has also started to prepare an action plan for the next five-year period from 2015 to 2020; this will be published in June.
For up-to-date information on SAPCC, visit http://envfor.nic.in/ccd-sapcc
How will the SAPCCs be used?
The prioritised actions of SAPCCs are expected to be implemented within the annual development budgets of line departments. The line departments are responsible for overseeing this implementation, with the focal agency playing a coordinating role.
It is now clear that most of the funding for implementation will have to come from states’ existing budgets. However, the central government’s relatively small National Adaptation Funding could provide some additional support. There is also the potential to receive international climate change funding. The procedures for how to access such national and international funding are being developed.
A number of SAPCCs include a framework and procedures for the focal agency to monitor implementation of the plan.