Solution Exchange discussion: Enhancing Capacities of Urban Poor Women to Adapt to Climate Change - Advice, Examples

Compiled by Malika Basu and Nitya Jacob, Resource Persons and Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

From Sakshi Saini, Department of Development Communication and Extension, University of Delhi , New Delhi  

Posted 18 January 2011

I am working on a project funded by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and National Communication, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (NATCOM) on climate change and its impact on water. As a part of this project, we are trying to collate some of the adaptive measures being taken by the community.  

Government of India and several research institutes are conducting research to develop strategies for enhancing adaptive capacity of society for food security, energy security etc. Women in Indian society are mostly responsible for accession and management of resources particularly water. However, awareness on climate change is limited, particularly in urban areas.

Since climate change is likely to have a significant impact on poor women, it is imperative that awareness levels on coping strategies to climate change need to be enhanced. Appropriate communication materials that can raise the awareness of poor urban women about climate change, its impacts and possible adaptation strategies are essential. In this backdrop, an effort is being made to develop a campaign module for the Urban Poor Women residing in the slums of Delhi .

In the base line study it was observed that women living in slums have almost no knowledge about climate change and adaptive mechanisms, although they are facing the brunt of it. Promotion of suitable practices to adapt to climate change will be the main focus of the campaign. The campaign strategy that ultimately emerges through these stakeholder consultations will be field tested in randomly selected slums of Delhi . 

Given the above background, I would like members’ inputs on the following:

What could be the components of such a campaign strategy for urban poor women residing in the slums of Delhi ?

Are there any modules/ training materials (Design, Methodology, IEC materials and Tools) that have been used in other states?

Are there any examples of efficient, effective and reliable training and capacity building systems being followed by communities to deal with climate change for urban poor women?

Your responses would help us in drawing up a suitable and effective capacity building strategy. All inputs would be suitably acknowledged.

Responses were received, with thanks, from

1.     Shashikant Kumar, Green Eminent, Vadodara, Gujarat

2.     Sureshkumar S, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST-CSIR), Trivandrum , Kerala

3.     B P Syam Roy, formerly Special Secretary, Development and Planning, Government of West Bengal

4.     Kalyan Paul, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand

5.     Sarita Mehra, Rajputana Society of Natural History, Rajasthan

6.     Hirudia Raj, Consultant –Water, Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh

7.     Rahul Banerjee, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, Indore , Madhya Pradesh

8.     K Rajasekharan, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Mulagunnathu Kavu, Kerala

9.     Neelima Garg, Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, Dehradun, Uttarakhand (response 1response 2)

10. Ruchi Kukreti, PRAGATI, New Delhi

11. Jyotsnamayee Nanda, Odisha Community Tank Management Project, Bhubaneswar , Odisha

12. Roopa Bernard, Development Consultant, Bangalore , Karnataka

13. B L Kaul, Society for Popularization of Science, Jammu

14. Farida Umrani, IIT Bombay, Maharashtra

15. K D BhattGSFC Science Foundation, Vadodara, Gujarat

16. Raghu Menon, Pondicherry Science Forum, Pondicherry

17. Rajesh Shah, Peer Water Exchange, Bangalore , Karnataka

18. Ashwani Wanganeo, Barkatullah University , Bhopal , Madhy Pradesh

19. Mervyn Christian, Aga Khan Health Service, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Summary of Responses

Climate change as a threat to sustainable development is expected to adversely affect the environment, health, food security, livelihoods, natural resources and physical infrastructure. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), the effects of climate change have already been observed, and it calls for precautionary and timely action. Climate change manifests primarily through the hydrological cycle, and effects the poor, especially women, the most.

While mitigation is the only way to stop climate change, adaptation is a critical to help people and the environment respond to the impacts of climate variability and change. Development plans that incorporate ‘adaptive capacity’ have the ability to respond to future uncertainties. One of the major policy gaps remains in recognizing the relationship between drinking water, sanitation and climate change especially given the fact that drinking water and sanitation for women particularly are among the biggest challenges in the immediate aftermath of a disaster such as a flood or cyclone. At the other end of the continuum are the creeping disasters such drought, also partially attributable to climate change, which again effect women most severely.

Women are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change; they bear the biggest burden of its consequences and simultaneously lack adaptive capacity. A focus on poor urban women is perhaps significant as one of the most vulnerable populations – most at risk – is said to be in cities, living in slums, squatter and migrant population and other informal settlements. It is however argued that it is not just women living in the slums but every individual, irrespective of their location – rural or urban, their status – poor or rich, who have to play a role in mitigating climate change. They need suitable tools, based on awareness, to develop their coping strategies.

Although at the national (and sub-continent level) several observations have been made, climate change vulnerability at the micro level has not yet been fully assessed. There is a need to study cities for vulnerability assessments wherein particularattention must be paid to management of water and other natural resources, the sources and generation of energy, etc.

Developing a Campaign Strategy

It is contended that people, including the urban poor, are already adapting to climate change. What is needed is to document and observe how people are coping to the changing environment with limited resources, and then develop a strategy and intervention to reduce the vulnerability so that they are easily able to adopt the interventions.

Broadly, suggestions for a meaningful and effective campaign strategy are:

        Focus on preventing disasters, issues of food habits and nutrition and the availability of resources

        Issues of environmental protection (through community initiatives including solid waste management)

        Adequate access to water and sanitation in the aftermath of disasters

        Focus on conservation of water by minimizing its use for consumption and cleaning purposes, as well as optimum utilization of waste water

        Call for promotion of innovative methods such as quick life skills promotion (namely, swimming, first aid, community services, care for elderly, etc.)

        Educating and preparing children from the school level onwards (also includes regular health watch for them; focus on adolescent girls)

        Clean energy for cooking (especially for people living in slums and poorly organized commons)

        Promote solar chula (cooker) to reduce carbon emission, and solar lights and solar based architecture for houses

      Greening the Earth’ (by growing trees, shrubs, herbs, etc.; promote backyard kitchen garden; also during renovation/construction of drainages, plant wild lawn grasses instead of concrete on both the side of the drain )

        If slum women are illiterate, develop and create activities linked with their daily schedules

        Encourage local (women) leaders (from the slum) rather than external leaders

        Cut back on emissions and the wasteful consumption (specially due to riding in cars and living in air-conditioned rooms)

        Lobby with the government to take some corrective actions i.e., promote eco-friendly, green energy based, community housing systems for the urban poor so that whatever limited resources available they are shared, better utilized and more space made available through multi-storied dwelling systems.

The point is, the aim of the campaign strategies besides generating awareness must be supplemented with a call for suitable technology options which are less expensive, less energy consuming, time saving, and sustainable.

There are, though limited, a number of modules or toolkits available for training purposes and as adaptation guidance. For instance, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), CARE InternationalUS Agency for International Developmenthave developed manuals which can help to integrate adaptation options into the programme design for more resilient outcomes.  In addition, several portals and information bases provide information related to climate change, its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts as well as knowledge on adaptation.

What is of equal importance are the lessons, which can be drawn from national and international experiences.  There are already several experimented strategies for adaptation to climate change: Rainwater Harvesting (Madhya Pradesh), Chennai Waterways Project (Tamil Nadu), Post-Tsunami project in Andaman and Nicobar Islands or the projects in semi-arid zones of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, which aimed at climate-resilient development.

Internationally, the Business Partnership for Sustainable Urbanization, the Bangladesh National Action Plan, and the work facilitated by agencies such as DFID, IDRC in Africa, South Asia, further provide examples of climate change adaptation and capacity building that can include the urban poor. In addition, examples from BoliviaBrazil and Tunisia provide cases where women’s initiatives and participation have strengthened the adaptive capacities to address climate threats.

 

India has pursued a strong domestic agenda to counter climate change by coming up with the National Action Plan on Climate Change. Some state governments are also preparing the State Level Action Plan and strategies for addressing climate change issues sector-wise and agro-climatic zone-wise. However, these need specific sections on women, water and sanitation.

Climate change should be observed carefully and adaptive measures planned. There must be positive action from the State to see it as a development issue and to draw and implement practical sustainable solutions. An effective public distribution system, common solid waste management systems, better planning for inclusive development based on local economy, fighting corruption and a demand for good governance - all would be required to make any meaningful intervention to enhance the capacity of the people including urban poor to adapt to climate change.

Comparative Experiences

India

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

 

Tsunami response programme aids women in developing resilience to the effects of climate change (from Sunetra Lala, Research Associate)

After the tsunami a Participatory Vulnerability Analysis project was initiated that gave women space for awareness raising, sharing experiences, skills-training, and forming participatory womens’ group and community groups. This led to activities identified and implemented by women, such as collectively learning to swim and to fish, and gaining financial management skills. The initiative also increased women’s resilience to climate related hazards.

Tamil Nadu

Failures in transparency and accountability leads to a failed project implementation (from Malika Basu, Resource Person)

Chennai Waterways Project provides an example of a poorly managed infrastructure project related to climate resilience. Aimed at alleviating floods, reducing water pollution, resettling families living along the banks, and preventing pollution of the waterways, the project suffered from poor coordination between implementing agencies. It failed to stop inundations and sewage contamination, clearly lessening resilience to extreme climatic events.

Madhya Pradesh

Rainwater Harvesting Made Compulsory in Madhya Pradesh (from Sureshkumar S, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST-CSIR), Trivandrum , Kerala)

It is time that the society plays a proactive role in rainwater harvesting (RWH), which is one of the techniques that can prevent water scarcity. Population pressures, changes in rainfall patterns, deforestation and the misuse of natural harvesting structures are leading to a serious situation. The Madhya Pradesh Government has made RWH mandatory in all new buildings with an area of over 250 sq m and provided a rebate of 6 per cent on property tax. However, it is too early to comments on the scheme’s efficacy.

International

From Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

Bolivia

Women form groups to enhance agricultural productivity based on climatic knowledge

In the Bolivian high altitude plains, which are a harsh, cold and arid climate for agriculture, innovative methods are needed for survival. Women here took the initiative, and traditional agricultural and climatic knowledge was consolidated in groups who were supported by an NGO to sell technological and financial services to local farmers. This resulted in reduction of crop losses from drought, hail, frost and flooding.

Brazil

Micro credit scheme engages Women's Assoaciation for small scale irrigation project, Pintadas

Pintadas, in the Northeastern region, suffers prolonged drought. Its people depend on agriculture, but irrigation is extremely basic. A microcredit scheme was initiated in the area for implementing a small-scale irrigation project. This resulted in new methods that were small-scale enough for individual families to use. The project engaged with the local Women’s Association and made sure it had a women community leader spearheading the initiative.

Tunisia

Sustainable environment management project spearheaded by women help in climate change adaptation, Béni Khédache

Béni Khédache in Tunisia is a mountainous and dry region, vulnerable to drought in summer and sometimes torrential rain and landslides in winter. A sustainable environmental resource management project, with active women's participation, comprised of numerous initiatives tackling desertification, water stress and erosion, based on traditional knowledge. The initiative worked to reduce risks of hazards likely to be exacerbated by climate change.  

Related Resources 

Recommended Documentation

National Adaptation Programme of Action, Bangladesh (from Sureshkumar S, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST-CSIR), Trivandrum , Kerala)

Report; by Ministry for Environment and Forests, Bangladesh ; Bangladesh ; 2005; Permission Required: No

Available at http://www.moef.gov.bd/bangladesh%20napa%20unfcc%20version.pdf (PDF; Size: 2MB)

The report details Bangladesh 's action plan to combat climate change, and has a special section devoted to women, livelihoods and governance

Climate Change - Vulnerability and Adaptation Experiences from Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh (from Hirudia Raj, Consultant - Water, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh)

Report; V & A Programme; SDC India , 2009

Available at http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/publications/v.php?id=14544

Presents five case studies from India providing insights and lessons learned on possible responses to climate change in semi-arid rural areas in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) (from Neelima Garg, Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, Dehradun, Uttarakhand; response 2)

Document; Government of India , 2008

Available at http://pmindia.nic.in/climate_change.htm

NAPCC incorporates India’s vision of sustainable development, mitigate global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

From Malika Basu, Resource Person

Local Institutions and Climate Change Adaptation

Note; by Arun Agrawal, Catherine McSweeney and Nicolas Perrin, Social Development Notes, No. 113 / July 2008

Available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/Resources/244362-1164107274725/3182370-1164201144397/Local_Institutions-Climate_Change_Adaptation_note113.pdf

Examines the relationships between climate-related vulnerabilities, adaptation practices, institutions and external interventions to show the role, importance of local institutions

 

Urban Governance for Adaptation: Assessing Climate Change Resilience in Ten Asian Cities

Paper; by Thomas Tanner, Tom Mitchell, Emily Polack and Bruce Guenther, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, n.d

Available at http://www.imagineindore.org/resource/17.pdf

Presents findings of rapid governance and capacity assessment of 10 South & Southeast Asian cities, their ability to plan, implement an integrated CC resilience programme

Climate Change Risk: An Adaptation and Mitigation Agenda for Indian Cities

Paper; by Aromar Revi ‘ India Background Paper, Global Urban Summit , Italy , July 2007

Available at http://csud.ei.columbia.edu/sitefiles/file/Final%20Papers/Week%202/Week2_Climate_India_Revi.pdf

Provides greater insight into an adaptation-led strategy to reduce climate change risk and increasing urban resilience in keeping with India ’s development and priorities challenges

Adapting to Climate Change in Developing Countries

Note; by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology , UK ; Postnote; October 2006 Number 269

Available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn269.pdf

Examines how adaptation to climate change is being approached in developing countries, also addresses the role of international community

Climate Change Adaptation in India

Report; by Holger Hoff, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Assignment to the Indo-German Bilateral Project (IGBP) “Watershed Management”, May 2004.

Available at http://www.icrisat.org/what-we-do/agro-ecosystems/CA_Watersheds/pdfs/Climate%20%20Change%20Adaptation%20in%20India.pdf

Discusses vulnerability and adaptation to climate risks with examples from around the world including India , gives special focus to watershed projects

From Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

We know what we need-South Asian women speak out on climate change adaptation

Report; by Tom Mitchell, Thomas Tanner and Kattie Lussier; ( Institute of Development Studies; University of Sussex ; United Kingdom ; November 2007;

Available at http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/lib.nsf/db900sid/PANA-79DK4C/$file/actionaid_nov2007.pdf?openelement (PDF; Size: 1.2MB)

Demonstrate the stories of struggles of poor women from Bangladesh , India and Nepal to protect their ivelihoods from water induced hazards as a result of climate change

Gender Perspectives: Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into Climate Change Adaptation: Good Practices and Lessons Learned

Report; by; United Nations, Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; Geneva ; 2008;

Available at http://www.unisdr.org/eng/about_isdr/isdr-publications/17-Gender_Perspectives_Integrating_DRR_CC/Gender_Perspectives_Integrating_DRR_CC_Good%20Practices.pdf (PDF; Size: 3.29MB )

Case studies of grassroots women’s leadership and of ways to support and encourage women’s participation in climate change adaptation, and disaster preparedness

Water Conflicts in India : A Million Revolts in the Making (from Jyotiraj Patra, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, University of Oxford , United Kingdom)

Book; by K. J. Joy, Suhas Paranjape, Biksham Gujja, Vinod Goud, Shruti Vispute; Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India,; Routledge India; 2007;

Available at http://www.routledge.com/books/Water-Conflicts-in-India-isbn9780415424110

Brings together an impressive 63 case studies of water conflicts in India , a phenomenon which may rise as a result of climate change and water shortages

Human Impact Report: Climate Change, The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis

Report; by Kofi Annan, Jan Egeland and Rajendra K. Pachauri; Global Humanitarian Forum; Geneva ; 2009;

Available at http://www.ghfgeneva.org/Portals/0/pdfs/human_impact_report.pdf (PDF; Size: 3.32MB)

Details the silent crisis occurring around the world today as a result of global climate change, including its impacts on water resources

The Natural Fix? The Role of Ecosystems in Climate Mitigation

Report; by K. Trumper, M. Bertzky, B. Dickson, G. Jenkins and M. Manning,; United Nations Environment Porgramme; UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge; United Kindgom; 2009;

Available at http://www.grida.no/_res/site/file/publications/natural-fix/BioseqRRA_scr.pdf (PDF; Size: 8.34MB)

Stresses the need for conservation and management of ecosystems and water resources in order to be able to mitigate the impacts of climate change

Climate Change and India : Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation  

Book; by P.R. Shukla; University Press; Hyderabad ; 2004; Permission Required: Yes, Paid publication.

Available at http://www.universitiespress.com/display.asp?categoryID=1&isbn=978-81-7371-471-9

Provides assessments of the impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation needs with regard to climate change and water resources in India

Recommended Organizations and Programmes

National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi (from Shashikant Kumar, Green Eminent, Vadodara, Gujarat )

NDMA Bhawan, A 1 Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029; Tel: +91-11-26701700; Fax: +91-11-26701729 info@ndma.gov.inhttp://ndma.gov.in/

The National Disaster Management Authority has developed training modules to help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change

From Sureshkumar S, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST-CSIR), Trivandrum , Kerala

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Great Britain

3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H 0DD , England ; Tel: +44-20-73882117; Fax: +44-20-73882826 info@iied.org;http://www.iied.org

Working in collaboration with partner organisations and individuals in developing countries, IIED has been leading the field on adaptation to climate change issues

Business Partnership for Sustainable Urbanization, Kenya

UN-HABITAT, P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi 00100, Kenya; Tel: +254-20-7623694;

http://www.unchs.org/downloads/docs/4228_32301_BPSU%20brochure.pdf; Contact Ms. Christine Auclair; Coordinator; christine.auclair@unhabitat.org

A strategic alliance of business companies, foundations, civil society organizations and the UN working towards sustainable urbanisation

Asia-Pacific Mountain Forum , Nepal

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, G.P.O. Box 3226 , Khumaltar, Kathmandu , Nepal ; Tel: +977-1-5003222; Fax: +977-1-5003299

http://mtnforum.org/mem/join.cfm

Mountain Forum is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the well being of mountain people, their environments and cultures

UK Department for International Development (DFID), New Delhi

British High Commission B-28 Tara Crescent Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi 110016; Tel: +91-11-26529123; www.dfid.gov.uk

DFID is the Government of UK's overseas development aid arm that support poverty reduction efforts, education, health and access to services in India

International Development Research Centre (IDRC), New Delhi

Regional Office for South Asia and China , 208 Jor Bagh, New Delhi , 110003; Tel: +91-11-24619411 ; Fax: +91-11-24622707 saro@idrc.org.inhttp://www.idrc.ca/saro

IDRC's Regional Office for South Asia and China seeks to help the people of South Asian countries find solutions to their pressing environmental and development needs

From Hirudia Raj, Consultant – Water, Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), New Delhi

Embassy of Switzerland , Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi ; Tel: +91-11-26877819; Fax: +91-11-26873631 delhi@sdc.nethttp://www.sdcindia.in

SDC supports programmes in natural resource management, rural finance and livelihoods, environment and pollution and humanitarian assistance

Action for Food Production (AFPRO), New Delhi

Action for Food Production, 25/1-A Pankha Road , D-Block, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058; Tel: +91-11-28525452; Fax: +91-11-28520343 afprodel@afpro.orghttp://www.afpro.org

AFPRO works for the development of the rural poor through effective natural resource management solutions

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai

3rd Cross Street , Institutional Area, Taramani, Chennai 600113, Tamil Nadu; Tel: +91-44-22541229, 22541698; executivedirector@mssrf.res.inhttp://mssrf.org

The Foundation has promoted pro-nature, pro-poor, pro-women and pro-sustainable on-farm and non-farm livelihoods through appropriate ecotechnology and knowledge.

From Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

Norwegian Institute for Agriculture and Environment, Norway

Fr. A. Dahlsvei 20, Norway ; Tel: 47-40-604100; Fax: 45-40-604100; Marina.Bleken@umb.no;

http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/page/prosjekt/tema?p_dimension_id=16927&p_menu_id=16934&p_sub_id=16928&p_dim2=16968

Runs the ClimaWater Project with IIT-Delhi, which aims to develop adaptation methods that will help address impacts of climate change on hydrological regimes

India Meteorological Department, New Delhi

Mausam Bhawan, Lodhi Road , New Delhi 110003; Tel: 91-11-4693186; lrf@imdpune.gov.in;

www.imd.ernet.in/main_new.htm

Researches data on stream flows, which can be used to assess the impacts of climate change on water resources, particularly flows in rivers and streams in India

Andhra Pradesh Farmers Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) Project, Andhra Pradesh

H.No. 12-13-373, 1st Floor, Street No. 18, Chakravarthula Nilayam, Sadashiva Nagar Colony, Tarnaka, Secunderabad 500017, Andhra Pradesh; Tel: 91-40-27014730; Fax: 91-40-27014937;

plapfamgs@sify.comhttp://www.apfamgs.org; Contact K.A.S. Mani; Project Leader; Tel: 91-40-27014730; ananthmaniin@yahoo.com

Working to prepare local communities to adapt to climate variability and water shortages by enhancing their capacities to make community level decisions

Institute for Social and Environmental Transition, USA

948 North Street, Suite 9 , Boulder , Colorado 80304 , U.S.A; Tel: 1-720-5640650; Fax: 1-720-5640653; moenchm@i-s-e-t.orghttp://www.i-s-e-t.org/

Conducts research and implements programme on climate change, disaster risk reduction and water resources in South Asia

Pacific Institute, USA

654 13th Street , Preservation Park , Oakland , California 94612 , U.S.A. ; Tel: 1-510-2511600; Fax: 1-510-2512203; info@pacinst.org;

http://www.pacinst.org/topics/water_and_sustainability/climate_change/; Contact Meena Palaniappan; Director of International Water and Communities Initiative; Tel: 1-510-417-5998;

mpal@pacinst.org

Conducts interdisciplinary research and partners with various stakeholders on issues relating to impacts of climate change on water resources

Recommended Tool Kit

From Malika Basu, Resource Person

Adapting to Climate Variability and Change

Guidance Manual; by US Agency for International Development (USAID)

Available at http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADJ990.pdf

Assists in understanding how climate change may affect project outcomes and identify adaptation options to integrate into the design for more resilient projects

Toolkit for Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Projects

Toolkit; by CARE International, with technical input by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Available at http://www.careclimatechange.org/tk/integration/en/open_toolkit.html

Offers practical “how to” guidance for integrating climate change adaptation into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects

Recommended Portals and Information Bases

From Sureshkumar S, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST-CSIR), Trivandrum , Kerala

Capacity Strengthening in Least Developed Countries for Adaptation to Climate Change, International Institute for Environment and Development,

http://www.clacc.net/; Contact Dr. Saleemul Huq; Head, Climate Change Programme; Tel: +44-20-73882117

This is a group of fellows and international experts working on adaptation to climate change in 15 countries in the South, 12 in Africa and 3 in South Asia

Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary, Stockholm Environment Institute and International Institute for Environment and Development

http://www.tiempocyberclimate.org/

This is a portal with news, information, publications, opinions and projects related to climate change from all over the world

350.org, USA (from Rahul Banerjee, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, Indore , Madhya Pradesh)

http://www.350.org/; Tel: +1-510-2507860

350.org is an international campaign that's building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis—the solutions that science and justice demand

From Malika Basu, Resource Person

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

http://www.ipcc.ch/index.htm

Provides an update knowledge related to Climate Change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts

Climate-Change-Adaptation in Asia and the Pacific

http://www.asiapacificadapt.net/page/aboutus 

This website, a collaborative effort of several initiatives, aims to provide a one stop shop for knowledge on climate change adaptation in Asia and the Pacific

Climate Change Adaptation

http://www.gsdrc.org/go/topic-guides/climate-change-adaptation/adaptation-guidance-and-tools

The Global and Social Development Research Centre provides various resources on Climate change adaptation including guidance and tools

From Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

Green Harmony, Green Harmony, Jodhpur , Rajasthan

http://www.green-harmony.org/index.htm; Contact Mathews Mullackal; mail@greenharmony.org

Green Harmony supports disadvantaged communities to cope with environmental challenges, including the impacts of climate change on water resources.

India Environmental Portal, Center for Science and Environment, New Delhi

http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/; Contact Centre for Science and Environment; Tel: 91--11-29955125; cse@cseindia.orgkiran@cseindia.org

The India Environment Portal is a one-stop shop of all environment and development issues related in India, including water resources and climate change

Related Consolidated Replies

Gendered Adaptations to Water Shortages and Climate Change – Experiences; by Meenakshi Kathel, UNDP India , New Delhi . Solution Exchange for Gender Community, Solution Exchange for Water Community and UNDP Gender Network; Issued on 26 March 2008

Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/gen/cr/cr-se-gen-wes-global-15120701.pdf

Shares experiences and examples for developing gender sensitive adaptation strategies for combating the effects of climate change, diminishing livelihoods and water shortage.

Responses in Full 

Shashikant Kumar, Green Eminent, Vadodara, Gujarat

It is interesting to find that 'climate change' is on the ‘menu’ of the change makers. Before I make my comments, I would like to see things differently as –

        Slums Dwellers and Women are vulnerable groups in event of any natural resource crisis; in fact most their past and present vulnerability is not just due to climate change!

        Climate change vulnerability at the micro level has not been assessed, albeit at the country and continent level observations can be made. There is a need therefore to study urban areas like Delhi for such vulnerability scenarios (make projections for 2050-2100)

        Long drawn battle with crisis like water, sanitation, livelihood etc would continue to remain in the forefront of concerns with slum dwellers and women

Campaign Strategy for Women and Slum Dwellers

                  Outcome of Climate Change (Preparedness for Disasters): Like flood, drought and food chain impact - can be addressed based on nutrition, availability of resources, prevention of disasters, adaptive capacity building (frequent floods). Please refer to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which has developed modules for training.

                  Materials related to knowledge about resource centers, community based disaster plan, temporary shelters, and community kitchen kits etc can be given to vulnerable groups. Energy crises cannot be solved at community level alone (at best, it can be delayed by good practices which can be promoted through regular material on alternative energy and conservation); an institutional action is needed

                  Environmental Protection - like green spaces (against excessive heat), commuter/pedestrian friendly roads, solid waste management, cleaning of natural drains/protecting through community initiatives etc can be part of the media kit (including print and digital)

                  Preparing Children: Slums often makes the children more vulnerable along with the women. Climate change might also call for regular health watch for these groups. Quick life skills promotion like - Swimming, First Aid, Community services, Care for Elderly/Kids etc can be thought as innovative methods to promote adaptive capacity building.

I hope the above offers some clues to the questions raised by Sakshi.

Sureshkumar S, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST-CSIR), Trivandrum , Kerala

There is some relevant information at the website of Capacity Strengthening in Least Developed Countries for Adaptation to Climate Change (CLACC). Established in 2003, CLACC (http://www.clacc.net/) is a growing network of fellows and international experts from Africa and Asia who work under the auspices of International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to support Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Another case, from India relates to the policy paper for Rainwater Harvesting by Madhya Pradesh Government departmental agency, which emphasizes the role of schools and students in generating awareness and building capacities.

 

The Business Partnership for Sustainable Urbanisation, a UN-HABITAT joint initiative to improve access to water and sanitation in India and Nepal may also provide some clues related to capacity building, though these are not specifically for climate change issues but related ones (linked to meeting MDG7: Target 10 and 11, which are particularly adversely impacted by climate change, with gender implications).

 

The Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) a knowledge sharing platform connecting mountain regions and communities through networking may also be of help and come handy, in respect of providing the needed information.

 

For coastal regions, The Bangladesh National Action Plan is a good example of climate change adaptations and capacity building.

 

Climate Change Adaptations in Africa funded by International Development Research Centre, Canada and the DFID,UK funded CBA programs also provide lessons in capacity building.

 

There is also an anecdotal presentation of the story of how smallholder farmers in Nepal used traditional methods and local knowledge to adapt to climate variability in TIEMPO (www.tiempocyberclimate.org)

B P Syam Roy, formerly Special Secretary, Development and Planning, Government of West Bengal

This is an interesting, emerging and a difficult area too. My understanding on the subject area is as follows:

At the first instance, there needs to be a conceptual clarity on the following: 

        The kind of  linkage  between  the life style of the Urban Poor and the climatic factor

        Similar kind of  linkage  between the Non-Poor Urban life style

        Identification of causal factors and  mitigation areas both for the Urban Poor and Urban Non-Poor 

        Given the kind of  evolving climatic scenario, identification of focused areas for adaptation for the Poor and Non-poor,if required separately

Gender component of responsibility may be worked out at this stage, if required

        Identification of adaptation practices that  need to be plugged in within the life-style of the Urban Poor and the Non-Poor and the Gender responsibility

For ownership of the suggested practices, the Non-Poor should not be left out. Otherwise the Urban Poor would think that the Urban Non-poor has no social responsibility.

Finally, any search for ready made model is destined to fail; strategy needs to be worked out after diagnostic study, followed by running a pilot model for validation and appropriate corrections for its replication elsewhere.

Kalyan Paul, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand

It would be a good start to provide clean energy for cooking to all those in living in slums and poorly organized commons in Delhi . If piped cooking gas could be provided to middle class homes already with access to LPG cylinders, then it should be simple enough to do the same for the poor.

Considering the poor spend more than the middle class on cooking energy, this would lead to reduce their monthly bill on cooking energy as well as improve the health of their family. Of course, if 1 million homes could be provided with clean cooking energy, then the emission of black carbon would be reduced significantly and thereby improve the ecosystem in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Alongside, the old problems of adequate access to water and sanitation remain on top of the list of pending issues. Basically, if we had the dedication to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) urban poor would be better equipped to deal with climate change issues.

Sarita Mehra, Rajputana Society of Natural History, Rajasthan

It is interesting to know about such an initiative though I have some doubts on the issue of literacy of slum women. If slum women are not literate, then it is not recommended to develop the study material. Instead I would suggest as follows:

        Develop and create activities which are linked with their daily schedules

        Link with the activities, activities of community hygiene and sanitation

        Work towards producing energy from renewable sources

If however maximum numbers of slum women are literate, then go for the option of creativity. Here I would like to suggest

        Stepwise action - first focus on those who are literate, involve them and then encourage and promote these trained literate women to raise mass awareness on the issue

        Let them generate their own resources; external agency can help financially once the women have got fully inducted/oriented

        Encourage local (women) leaders (from the slum) rather than external leaders (these need to act just as catalysts)

While working with women, take into consideration the next generation i.e. adolescent girls. We followed a similar pattern/strategy but that was for the rural backward areas and not urban slums.

Hirudia Raj, Consultant –Water, Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh

Climate change is a vast subject. There are already several experimented strategies for adaptation to climate change.

My contention is, each one of us have to be part of the effort, why only woman especially living in the slums! Further, not only urban areas, but also rural areas have to be included. Awareness has to be built cutting across all the sections of the society. It can be built by creating a platform for the community to observe, trigger discussions, and make decisions on climate change. I would like to add that people may not believe, if the issue of climate change is raised without strong evidences.

I would like to draw members’ attention to one of the projects in Andhra Pradesh, Vulnerability Assessment and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Semi – Arid Regions of India, taken up in Kothur village of Midjil Mandal and Srirangapur village of Kondurgu Mandal in Mahabubnagar District. The project supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Action for Food Production (AFPRO), M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai, presents a scientific argument for grassroots level empowerment on Climate Change, especially among resource poor communities in remote villages. It is aimed at climate-resilient development as distinguished from development interventions that adapt livelihood systems to climate impacts (classical approach). You can read about this project at http://www.afpro.org/2008-09.pdf

Climate change is a very slow process and may take years. This should be observed carefully and adaptive measures planned.

Rahul Banerjee, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, Indore , Madhya Pradesh

When one talks of adaptation to Climate Change, one assumes that this is going to happen anyway despite all efforts at mitigation. This assumption is basically a capitulation to the views of the Developed Nations and the elite within the developing nations who are not prepared to cut back on emissions and the wasteful consumption, especially riding in cars and living in air-conditioned rooms that lead to these emissions.

If Climate Change does occur in a significant way due to continuing increase in emissions then there is very little that can be done to adapt to the consequences because we will all eventually go to the ‘cleaners’ not just the poor urban women who will albeit bear the brunt in the initial stages. In a developing country like ours the correct stand to take is that taken by Bolivia in the recent Cancun deliberations - that there can be no compromise on full mitigation to ensure that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere does not exceed the safe limit of 350 parts per million.

If members think this is impossible to achieve, I would like to direct members to this website for some basic climate change related education - http://www.350.org/understanding-350#2

K Rajasekharan, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Mulagunnathu Kavu, Kerala

Greening the earth by growing trees, shrubs, herbs or even grass is the best way to deal with climatic change which even an individual, small group or community can push ahead or take part with their mite. The next aspect is to understand and make changes in the food habits that can deal with the problems of climatic changes to a great extend. The third one is to make appropriate changes in the texture and type of clothes one would wear on which the people do not have enough clarity as it is visible around. As well, one would understand the physics and chemistry of the building materials and habitat construction altogether to deal with this difficult task, if possible. Sight changes in the house one lives in can make a lot of changes in mitigating this problem even in slums.

What we intimately need is a sound ecological understanding to the minute details to deal with climatic issues that we cannot alter otherwise.  Unfortunately, the well educated class of people even does not found to have sound knowledge about the nuances when they confront climatic issues.   Corporate companies, development policies and emerging lifestyles create a lot of problems that accentuate the after effects of climatic changes. Many of our quick fix solutions compound problems even more. But even individuals and organizations can take up low resource activities against many of such problems categorized above, if they are provided with a good environmental sense through advocacy or awareness building. 

Neelima Garg, Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, Dehradun, Uttarakhand (response 1)

In my view, not only poor women but climate change is likely to have a significant impact on all women.

It is imperative therefore that awareness levels on coping strategies to climate change be enhanced.

The impact of climate change on water resources, forestry, agriculture and its impact on livelihood need to be studied in context of all the women specially the poor.

Ruchi Kukreti, PRAGATI, New Delhi

The poor women in the urban areas are vulnerable to Climate Change as they are to bear the brunt of the lifestyle of the urban elite.

We cannot and should not think on reinventing the wheel for them to adapt to Climate Change, but document and observe how they are coping to the changing environment with limited resources, then develop a strategy and intervention to reduce the vulnerability so that they are easily able to adopt the intervention.

In the communication it may not be important for the women to know the Climate Change terminology per se, but have and be able to communicate the effect, coping mechanism and mitigation.

Jyotsnamayee Nanda, Odisha Community Tank Management Project, Bhubaneswar , Odisha

This is a good initiative to involve Urban Poor Women in Campaign on Climate Change. However, when at large women are vulnerable groups across sector and worst sufferers in context of water, I think women in general should be sensitized on various facets of the climate change.

It is a fact that urban poor women are highly vulnerable to climate change and from my experience I can say that Urban Women of well-to- do families are less conscious about water conservation and its impact on climate change. Therefore, both groups of women need to be our target group to meet the goal in a holistic way.

I want to suggest the following points:

        Women should be sensitized on conservation of water by minimizing use of water for consumption and cleaning purpose, as well as optimum utilization of waste water

        Cover backyard of each house with green vegetation or kitchen garden!

        Use of solar chula (cooker) should be promoted to reduce carbon emission

        Use of solar lights and solar based architecture for houses needs be promoted

        During renovation/construction of drainages, plant wild lawn grasses instead of concrete on both the side of the drain

        Emphasis should be on huge plantations and water discharge measures

Roopa Bernard, Development Consultant, Bangalore , Karnataka

It is good to create awareness among women on the implications of climate change on water and different forms of energy.

Awareness building however should be supplemented with enabling them to access suitable technology options which is less expensive, less energy consuming, time saving and sustainable.

Though different technology options are available, poor people/woman can not afford at such expensive rates. Hence, I feel different agencies who are working in this sector should come up with Action Points which are doable by poor people / woman.

B L Kaul, Society for Popularization of Science, Jammu

This is a very relevant and timely query. Global warming is directly related with carbon emissions. The chief source of carbon emissions are fossil fuels but domestic emissions from chullahs (cooking stove/devise) and forest fires are also important sources. To my mind, the first and the foremost step to reduce domestic carbon emissions should be to replace chullahs by LPG connections. The urban poor should be encouraged to stop using wood, coal and kerosene for cooking meals. They should be provided gas connections and gas stoves on subsidized rates.

Another important step to reduce carbon emissions, and more importantly, in the rural areas is the replacement of traditional chullahs with improved chullahs which reduce the quantity of wood used for cooking by half and reduce the emission of carbon. I would like to share that I know how my mother suffered from smoke (and shed tears) while cooking  meals for us morning and evening. By the time LPG gas stoves arrived in sixties I was an earning member and the first thing I did was to acquire a gas connection to free her from the misery of cooking food on a traditional chullah using wood!

Farida Umrani, IIT Bombay , Maharashtra

I would like to share that my research (though the context is varied) on urban poor proposing adoption and acceptance of technology shows that familial support plays a critical role for women.

This is to say that if women perceive that their families want them to use a particular technology and that their status would be enhanced by using it, they are more likely to use the technology. These are essentially psychological factors, but do play an important role.

K D BhattGSFC Science Foundation, Vadodara, Gujarat

This is in response to the query, wherein the query poser seeks inputs to develop strategy or plan for urban poor, especially women, to cope up with the probable impacts of climate change.

I would rather request that the query poser looks into the following first:

        The slum dwellers are already living the so called ‘adaptive’ life style, managing with the meager resources, be it water or food. So what type/ kind of awareness is planned to be imparted to them, which possibly can improve their life style?

In my view, it is important to learn and understand first as how the climate change will impact the life style of urban poor and in what ways (the factors responsible etc). Based on these findings, a proper management strategy or plan should be devised.

Raghu Menon, Pondicherry Science Forum, Pondicherry

I agree with K D Bhatt's point  that the slum dwellers are already leading an "adaptive" lifestyle with untold sufferings day by day. The most vulnerable people are the urban slum dwellers and among them the women suffer the most.

Some corrective options to be taken by the government would be to have eco-friendly, green energy based, community housing systems for the urban poor so that whatever limited resources available they are shared, better utilized and more space made available through multi-storied dwelling systems. Practical  eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives should be explored for making their lives less vulnerable, less prone to ever increasing temperatures and unexpected natural calamities arising out of climate change.

Further, an effective public distribution system catering only to those who deserve it (and not based on the current politically motivated Below Poverty Line scheme), common solid waste management systems, better planning for inclusive development based on local economy, fighting corruption, and a demand for good governance all would be required to make any meaningful intervention to enhance the capacity of the urban poor to adapt to climate change.

What is required is not just capacity building for the poor women, but positive action from the State to see it as a development issue and to draw and implement practical sustainable solutions.

Rajesh Shah, Peer Water Exchange, Bangalore , Karnataka

While it is nice to hear of another study being undertaken by the UN, what I do not see people acknowledging is that Climate Change has already happened at the local level. Everyone refers to Climate Change as this ‘big global event’ that some want more studies and conclusive proof! 

However, if you are talking about urban poor, they already suffer from Local Climate Change. The temperature in the cities has already gone up dramatically over the last decade and other changes such as rainfall patterns can also be seen. By cutting down the few remaining trees and exposing the poor to the heat exhaust from the millions of air conditioners, gen sets and automobiles, their lives have been made miserable (add to this the air and sound pollution). In this regard, I would disagree with B L Kaul about carbon emissions being the cause of warming - in the cities, it is increased concrete construction, air-conditioners (90% of their energy is converted to heat that is sent outside), heat from all cars and appliances, etc.

They have obviously been coping with climate change and other issues as pointed out by K D Bhatt in that they still live and survive in those areas. Are we able to imagine living in those hot conditions? What about the side-effects: asthma, general health, stress - leading to heart attacks, even violence!

Some may feel we need to educate them on climate change. It may be nice to create an awareness campaign to inform them that their slum temperature has gone up by exactly 8.2C and the causes are activities beyond their control. We can see that increased TV viewing is the main 'distracting' (call it coping if you will) activity. After studying exact temperature changes and air quality and sound levels we should be able to potentially prescribe some of the following coping mechanisms:

        One hour of Astha Channel every day

        Air filters (local home-grown variety)

        Better insulation on their windows (for sound)

        Air-conditioners (as the Economist would like, see their editorial on Climate Change!)

        Swimming as suggested by Shashikant Kumar to cope with flooding in slum areas

Should we not create a proposal for studying the coping mechanisms of the urban elite? They will be the most impacted in the future and maybe, they can do most to reduce the change being caused.

I agree with Raghu Menon that we need to see positive actions - from the state, other agencies, and the urban elite.

Neelima Garg, Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, Dehradun, Uttarakhand (response 2)

Not only poor women, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on all women. It is imperative to enhance the awareness levels on coping strategies to climate change.

The impact of climate change on water resources, forestry, agriculture and its impact on livelihood need to be studied in context of all the women specially the poor. Keeping this in view, the girls should be educated in the schools about climate change issues.

India has pursued a strong domestic agenda to counter climate change by coming up with the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). Even in Uttarakhand, the government is preparing the State Level Action Plan and Strategies for addressing climate change issues sector-wise and agro-climatic zone-wise.

The Government plans to establish sectoral Working Groups (WG) that is relevant to climate change. These working groups will assess sectoral vulnerability to climate change at the District/Sub-District Level in Uttarakhand and assess social, physical, gender and economics impact of climate change in various sectors and recommend guiding principles for deciding the priorities within the sector.

Ashwani Wanganeo, Barkatullah University , Bhopal , Madhy Pradesh

A serious thought needs to be given to uplift the lifestyle of women. In my view, the overwhelming population is also the basis of all problems. All possible management strategies fail on account of this.

No development process succeeds as by the time it is implemented there is (tremendous) rise in population. Some lucrative incentives should be given for volunteering to curb the rise in population. In my view, no Government agency should be involved rather we should develop Self Help Groups to combat this. 

Mervyn Christian, Aga Khan Health Service, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

I have only a question regarding the query raised by Sakshi.

Is this issue also discussed with the beneficiaries for whom ‘we’ are having the discussion? If yes, what are the responses or findings from those? I would be interested to know.

Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!

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