Climate projections for India suggest that impacts are likely to be varied and heterogeneous, with some regions experiencing more intense rainfall and flood risks, while others will encounter sparser rainfall and prolonged droughts. Among the more substantial effects is a projected spatial shift in the pattern of rainfall towards the already flood-prone coastal areas, while water-scarce regions become even more drought-prone and unproductive. India will also suffer from higher tides, more intense storms fueled by warmer oceans and further erosion along its coastline due to sea level rise. For India, climate variability and climate change pose huge risks to human life and threaten to endanger the sustainability of the country’s fast growing economy. India’s immense geographic diversity adds to the complexity of developing and implementing an adaptation strategy. The impacts will vary across States, sectors, locations and populations. Consequently, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a climate risk management strategy: approaches will need to be tailored to fit State and local vulnerabilities and conditions.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and its objective
Due to climate change, there is a need to address risks and opportunities in the development and appraisal of policies, plans and programmes of the three states. For this purpose, the SEA is an effective tool that provides a framework for assessing and managing a broad range of issues that contribute to the integration or mainstreaming of climate change considerations in the state’s development planning.
The overarching development objective of the SEA is to assist the State Govt. to build greater climate resilience by strengthening institutional and planning capacities to adapt and mitigate climate change at the State level.
Although adaptation to climate change is high on the agenda of a number of institutions, very little has yet been done on developing any set of practical and strategic interventions specific to a geographical context. A number of States (MP, Orissa and Bihar) have shown pro-activeness in addressing climate change issues. While Orissa has set up a CDM cell, MP has initiated climate change studies through EPCO and Bihar is exploring solar energy initiatives. The States, however, are faced with the immense challenge of understanding how to identify and prioritize adaptation measures, and, in turn, estimate the financial costs of ensuring that the State development plans are climate resilient (and low carbon), if the government were to play a pivotal role in addressing the future risks and challenges of climate change.
In view of the above, the CCD group at IDS will undertake a scoping study for 2 States with a view to:
- Assess the risks posed by climate change in a context of high uncertainty and potentially very high future costs, so that the State can better prioritize, cost and integrate adaptation to the development plans and budgets.
- Review existing planning tools and planning processes for these areas, which should include any interaction between planning processes and climate change actions undertaken by the State administration.
- Identify the role and responsibilities of different actors (individuals, civil society, private sector, government) in implementing different options at different levels (community, local, provincial), including the interrelationships between them.
The objective of the scoping study is to identify key areas of focus in the identified states in the context of climate change impacts in order to determine further studies / initiatives that would be required to facilitate climate change adaptation (and related mitigation co-benefits) considerations in the State’s overall planning.