Chhattisgarh State has a population of over 25 million (Census, 2011). Nearly 80% live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and forestry for their livelihoods. The economy has been growing faster than the national average over the last few years, reaching 7–10% per annum (Economic Survey Report, 2013–2014), due to urban and industrial development and increased agricultural production. However, climate change is predicted to have an impact on water resource availability for industrial and agricultural production, and is therefore likely to affect the State’s economy.
The Government’s priority is to increase economic growth, and the new industrial policy (2014–2019) plans for rapid industrial and urban expansion. The State has also made the agriculture sector a high priority and is promoting various irrigation and agricultural schemes for improvement in this sector.
To build resilience into the State’s economy and its rural livelihood, the State Government prepared a State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) with the motto “inclusive growth for improved resilience”. The SAPCC covers various adaptation and mitigation strategies in eight sectors: agriculture and allied sectors, forests and biodiversity, water resources, urban development, transport, energy, industry and mining, and human health.
Action on Climate Today (ACT) has been working with the Government of Chhattisgarh to facilitate implementation of the SAPCC through support to establish institutional mechanisms and improving local capacity for implementation.
The overall implementation approach is to identify technical knowledge required for implementation of the SAPCC in key sectors, which typically starts with scoping studies, leading to more detailed analysis. Regular consultation workshops are planned to help stakeholders discuss proposed new strategies. Activities will also focus on capacity building and sharing knowledge products through engagement with government departments at every level.
Since the ACT initiative started in October 2014, three studies have been completed: (i) a review of forestry in SAPCC; (ii) a scoping study on water resource management in Mahanadi Basin; and (iii) a public transport scoping study in Raipur. In addition, ACT provided support to establish the State Centre for Climate Change, and bring in funding from the National Adaptation Fund and the Department of Science and Technology’s National Mission on Strategic Knowledge Management. The initiative also supported the State Government presentation at COP21.
ACT is now focusing on giving assistance in two key areas: adapting the economy to future water scenarios and mainstreaming adaptation into current government programmes. ACT also plans to mentor the State Knowledge Management Cell, an institution that will lead the way in knowledge management, stakeholder engagement and capacity building in climate change.
Future water scenarios
The first focus area is supporting adaptations to the economy to meet possible future water needs. This will improve the way water resources are planned and managed now and in future climate change scenarios, and promote agricultural and industrial water use efficiency. The initiative will do this in three ways. The first will assess the impacts of current needs and future climate change on water resource availability in the Mahanadi River Basin. This will provide valuable information and recommendations for future water resource planning and management. The second will facilitate water use efficiency in the industrial sector as many industries are water intensive (e.g. steel and thermal power plants), meaning water use efficiency will become critical. The third will design a future vision for the agriculture sector in a climate change scenario, aiming to guide the State towards climate-smart and improved agricultural production, since agriculture is an important sector in terms of employment and rural livelihoods.
Making current programmes more focused on adaptation
The second focus area is mainstreaming adaptation into current Government programmes, aiming to ensure that the efforts made are sustainable. ACT will do this in three ways. The first will pilot climate-resilient watershed management, helping the Government to assess, through a climate lens, an existing watershed project and disseminate findings for integration in the State’s other watershed development programmes. The second will assist the Government in defining scenarios for integrating the SAPCC into the State budget. The third aims to support the State Centre for Climate Change and Knowledge Management Cell in its various activities such as analysis, training, knowledge management, and monitoring and evaluation.
ACT’s primary partners in Government are the departments of agriculture, water resources, budget and planning, and the State Centre for Climate Change. ACT helps build partnerships between the Centre and other institutions, like Chhattisgarh Council on Science and Technology, Indira Gandhi Agriculture University and Chhattisgarh Academy of Administration, and engages with other important stakeholders, from non-government and civil society organisations to industry partners such as the Confederation of Indian Industry, research and academic institutions, and farmers’ organisations.
Dhanapal G, Team Leader
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