Ritwika Basu

External Consultant | rbasu at iihs dot ac dot in

2013    MSc, Natural Resources Management, TERI University, Delhi
2010    BSc, Chemistry (Hons), Fergusson College, Pune University, Pune



Countries: India, Nepal
States: Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerela
Cities: Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi, Pune
Languages: English, Hindi, Bengali

Ritwika was supported by the Ruffords Small Grants Foundation to undertake her final dissertation research project guided by Dr Nath at the French Institute of Pondicherry. Her project was aimed at incentivising coffee farmers in the Western Ghats to transition from monoculture to shade coffee. The two-fold objective was part of a larger ongoing conservation project in the Western Ghats: to enhance farm and farmer resilience through sustained yield of high-quality coffee and promotion of native trees to encourage biodiversity conservation. Her other independent project at TERI was with WWF – India. She studied the political ecology of growing human-tiger conflict in five critical villages bordering the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in West Bengal.


Over the last five years, she has worked with different institutions at the interface of science and policy. These include varying lengths of engagement with projects on differential impacts of and vulnerabilities to climate and other stressors in climate hotspots (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-arid Regions at IIHS); Climate fragility and resilience in the context of urbanisation and migration in tier-2 Indian cities (CapaCities funded by the Swiss Development Corporation at IIHS ); and other small and big projects interrogating urban environmental change and their social and institutional dimensions (supported by IDRC in PAC).  She has worked on projects critically examining climate vulnerability and adaptation spectrum across rural, urban and peri-urban regions in different ecosystems; Deltas of Tamil Nadu and Sundarbans, Himalayan regions of Nepal and Semi-arid regions of South India. These involvements have shaped her interest in myriad visible and elusive ways people interact to shape lives and wellbeing of individuals and communities, institutions and governance in the geographies that host them.


At IIHS, apart from research support on a range of climate change and policy issues, she also assists in knowledge management, grant writing and teaching for different audiences.

Research Projects at IIHS

2014-2018Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia
2017-18CapaCities- Migration, Livelihoods and Climate Resilience




Previous Teaching Experience

2013Assisted in designing and curating teaching material for an online course on ‘Leadership in Conservation’, BNHS, Bombay.
2016, 2017, 2018(IIHS)- Co-taught modules on Vulnerability Assessment Methods, Macro-perspectives on climate and energy, differential vulnerability to climate and other stressors and livelihood transition in semi-arid regions of Karnataka using cases from Kolar and Gulbarga

Journal Articles

  • Ziervogel, G., Satyal, P., Basu, R., Mensah, A., Singh, C., Hegga, S., & Zulfawu Abu, T. (2019). Vertical integration for climate change adaptation in the water sector: Lessons from decentralisation in Africa and India. Regional Environmental Change, 19(8), 2729–2743
  • Singh, C., & Basu, R. (2019). Moving in and out of vulnerability: Interrogating migration as an adaptation strategy along a rural‐urban continuum in India. The Geographical Journal, 186(1), 87-102.
  • Singh, C., Deshpande, T., & Basu, R. (2017). How do we assess vulnerability to climate change in India? A systematic review of literature. Regional Environmental Change, 17(2), 527-538.


Books/ Book Chapters

  • Basu, R., & Bazaz, A. (2019). Re-imagining development practice: Mainstreaming justice into planning frameworks. In T. Jafry (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice (pp. 100-113). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Revi, A., Gajjar, S. P., Bazaz, A., Jain, G. & Basu, R. (2016). Bangalore, India. In S. Bartlett & D. Satterthwaite (Eds.), Cities on a Finite Planet: Towards Transformative Responses to Climate Change (pp. 41-62). New York: Routledge.
  • Mascarenhas, K., Basu, R., Bazaz, A. (2016). Affordable and clean energy: An Indian perspective. In Urban policy dialogues: Operationalising SDGs. Bangalore: Indian Institute for Human Settlements. doi.org/10.24943/updsdg2016_2


Other Writing

  • Kumar, K. P., Singh, C., Basu, R., Balaji, P., Chintamani, A., Madhu, M., Srivastav, P., Kannan, S., & Bhadauria, S. (2021). Climate change glossary. Indian Institute for Human Settlements. https://doi.org/10.24943/CCGEMTHK02.2021
  • Basu, R. (2019, January 8). Taking cues from people’s movements for governing climate change induced migration. Urbanet.
  • Basu, R. (2018, October 31). Glocal sustainability: Sustainable development or forced cultural assimilation. Policyforum.net
  • Basu, R. (2018, March 8). Solitary writing is great. Group writing is therapeutic. ASSAR Blog.
  • Singh, C., & Basu, R. (2017). Governing water across scales: The Karnataka experience. The ASSAR Spotlight on Water. Cape Town: ASSAR.
  • Basu, R., & Bazaz, A. (2016). Assessing climate change risks and contextual vulnerability in urban areas of semi-arid India: The Case of Bangalore. (CARIAA Working Paper 3). Ottawa, Canada: International Development Research Centre.
  • Singh, C., Basu, R., & Srinivas, A. (2016). Livelihood vulnerability and adaptation in Kolar District, Karnataka, India: Mapping risks and responses. Short Report. Cape Town, South Africa: ASSAR.
  • Basu, R., & Poonacha, P. (2016, March 8). Shared learning for understanding vulnerability. ASSAR Blog. Retrieved from http://www.assar.uct.ac.za/news/shared-learning-understanding-vulnerability
  • Poonacha, P., Solomon, D., Bendapudi, R., Rahman, A., Basu, R., Badiger, S. (2015). Risks, vulnerability and impacts. In A. Revi, A. Bazaz, J. Krishnaswamy, R. Bendapudi, M. D’Souza, & Gajjar, S. P. (Eds.), Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Semi-Arid Areas in India. (ASSAR Working Paper). Cape Town, S.A: ASSAR PMU.
  • Presented work on migrant experiences of circular migrants in the city of Bangalore, captured through a poster, at the conference- ‘CityScape’, hosted by DWIH in Delhi, 2016.
  • Presentation on Financing Low Carbon Growth in Karnataka at a roundtable conference hosted by IFMR and Shakti Foundation, 2013.