The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted almost all aspects of life in India and Bangladesh. Apart from the immediate impacts on victims of the virus, the lockdowns imposed by governments have affected the mobility, income, food security, and livelihoods of millions. For people in so-called ‘marginal’ environments, in coastal and dryland areas, Covid-19 adds to a set of existing uncertainties and challenges – climate and other environmental changes, disasters such as cyclones, industrialisation, urban and infrastructure projects, restrictions or loss of natural resources or grazing rights, changes in freedom of movement, technological innovation and fluctuations in markets. Recent weather events such as Cyclone Amphan have compounded the problems faced in some regions.
People in these areas are not passive recipients of unpredictable change. They respond by building alliances to enhance their agency and transform the conditions under which they can flourish. These alliances are often driven from the grassroots but can benefit from collaboration and understanding on the part of allies in NGOs, government, research and other networks.
This webinar explores the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for bottom-up transformations to sustainability in India and Bangladesh. We will draw on responses in Kachchh, the Sundarbans delta (India and Bangladesh) and Mumbai, based on the current research in the TAPESTRY project (see steps-centre.org/project/tapestry). What are the immediate challenges of Covid-19 for alliances working to ensure livelihoods for people in marginal environments?
How is Covid-19 intersecting with other unpredictable changes and uncertainties, and how can alliances ‘from below’ develop more effective responses to them? What can researchers, local authorities and civil society do to enable these responses to flourish?
What questions does the pandemic raise for the way we think about the relationships between humans and nature? What can be learned from local forms of mutual aid and solidarity in response to Covid-19, for long-term efforts towards sustainability?
What has been the changing relationship with state agencies, and how have governments failed, been passive, or supported communities in dealing with Covid-19 related losses and uncertainties?
What are the implications of the ‘double disaster’ of Covid-19 and Cyclone Amphan for the governance of disaster preparedness and response.
D.Parthasarathy, IIT Bombay / TAPESTRY project
Seema Kulkarni, Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) / Transformations to Groundwater Sustainability project Amitava Roy
Saleemul Huq, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD)
Lokamata Rani Rashmoni Mission, Sundarbans
Saleemul Huq, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh Sandeep Virmani
Shilpi Srivastava, Institute of Development Studies / TAPESTRY
Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies / Norwegian University of Life Sciences / TAPESTRY
This event is supported by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability, which is co-funded by ESRC, RCN, JST, ISC, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020.