Climate Adaptation Policy: Key Findings and Recommendations

Amir Bashir BazazPrathigna Poonacha, Maitreyi Koduganti, Suruchi Bhadwal, Ganesh Gorti, Tuhin Ghosh, Ramkumar Bendapudiz  |  2018


South Asia is a global ‘climate change hotspot’ with data indicating that the region experiences slow-onset and rapid climatic changes in various forms. A large majority of the global poor reside in the region, which also has huge gaps in climate adaptive capacities. The largest country in South Asia, both in terms of geographical space and demographics, India and the sub-regions, face a dynamic climatic and non-climatic risk profile. These climatic and non-climatic risks, separately and in interaction, make people and systems highly vulnerable. Key vulnerabilities and risks are found to be deeply embedded within the existing social and biophysical conditions of people and socio-ecological systems, which emerge as a critical barrier to effective, widespread and sustained adaptation.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), through its most recent Assessment Report 5, has emphasised huge impacts of climate change, and has recognised adaptation as central to climate change policy, partly due to large-scale differential impacts experienced by vulnerable populations. Having evolved from a narrow biophysical-based vulnerability to include the social dimensions of vulnerability, adaptation planning; in the emerging climate policy discourse in recent times, emphasises mainstreaming climate change adaptation in development and thus argues for including climate risk and adaptation as a key element of the development process. In India, adaptation has been rooted in the development agenda and through various instruments like the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC).

As a part of Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA)’- Adaptation to Scale in the Semi-Arid Region of Africa and Asia (ASSAR), various adaptation strategies and prospects have been discussed in this briefing note, across three important ‘hotspots’ in India. In the context of the existing global development (SDGs) and climate (Paris Agreement) frameworks, it becomes imperative to address local, context-specific adaptation needs and thereby build both generic and climate specific capacities of vulnerable people and systems. This would need to be managed within the concerns, imperatives, and aspiration of systems and people, but would be necessary so as to improve prospects of achieving the SDGs and the Paris climate goals.