India will soon have its climate vulnerable spots pinned down

By Naz Asghar

Oct 3, 2019

New Delhi: With rising global temperature throwing up ever new challenges for populations across the world, the Government is soon going to develop a map that would have information specific to a state or district vulnerable to various kinds of risk owning to climate change.

Such climate vulnerability atlas has already been prepared for 12 states in the Indian Himalayan Region, using a common framework.

”But now we are going to have by 2020, a national level climate vulnerability profile for India,” Dr Akhilesh Gupta, head of the climate change programme at DST announced at a national media consultation on climate change here.

He said this kind of information specific to a certain region, state or district was needed to prepare communities and people to meet the challenge arising out of climate change which is has already happened, as the science tells us, and was going to happen at faster rate if the present rate of emission of green house gases continued.

The impact of climate change was not uniform for all communities and regions, he underlined.

The atlas is being developed under a joint project of the Department of Science and Technology and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). This will be done using a common methodology which was critical for assessing vulnerability for comparison and for planning adaptation strategies.

According to the vulnerability map for Himalayan states, released in March this year, Assam and Mizoram were the most vulnerable among the hill states, though all the 12 states faced different kind and level of risk.These two states are followed by Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, with Sikkim being the least vulnerable.

The assessment was carried out by DST under the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) which is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan for Climate Change. The DST is coordinating the implementation of the NMSHE with support from the Swiss Development Agency under the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptataion initiative.

From right to left: Chairman, CMS N Bhaskara Rao, Dr Akhilesh Gupta of DST, Marie-Laure Crettaz of the Swiss Development Agency and CMS director Annu Anand at a national  media consultation on climate change in New Delhi.

 

Since vulnerability within a state may differ from one region or district to another, the national profile will have area specific information like the one for the 12 Himalayan states. A common set of indicators will be used for vulnerability profile and ranking of 650 districts all over the country.

Vulnerability may arise in any system, and could be of any type bio-physical or socio-economic (including institutional). Bio-physical vulnerability considers the extent to which a natural system is susceptible to damage from climate change. The socio-economic dimension indicates a region’s capacity to recover from extreme events and adpat to change over the longer term.

As many as 25 states have set up climate change cells  and centres of excellence are also being established in states for capacity building.

Some states had already started using the vulnerability assessment report, particularly while revising state climate action plans and developing adaptation projects, Dr Mustafa Ali Khan (Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme) said while moderating a session in the seminar.

The consultation was organised by DST, IHCAP and Centre for Media Studies (CMS). This was followed by field visits to vulnerable areas in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

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