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Appendix C: International conference on adaptation to climate variability and change--towards a strategic approach.

The International Conference on Adaptation to Climate Variability and Climate Change: Towards a Strategic Approach was held in New Delhi, India on December 7-8, 2006. It was organized by the World Bank, in collaboration with the Government of India's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), and the European Union (EU). The Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) co-sponsored and participated in the event. The logistics of the event were organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

The main objective of the conference was to take stock of the latest progress in adaptation knowledge and practices, including policy and financing aspects in India and globally. This was made possible through a consultative process involving all stakeholders, from the donor community to the policy makers. The conference provided a forum for the exchange of information on recent developments, programs, and challenges in India. The aim was to strengthen the commitment to future strategies and programs and to stimulate discussions on a possible action framework for integrating efforts towards strengthening adaptation in India. The outcomes include:

* an increased awareness of government officials in India of the adaptation challenge and its implications for the development and implementation of climate-related policies and programs;

* the enhanced ability of participating state governments to develop climate-related adaptation policies and programs;

* the improvement of the stakeholders' knowledge base in climate-related areas; and

* an enhanced coordination of adaptation-related work programs among development partners.

The event was well attended and received coverage in the international and local media. The conference's agenda and the presentations made by participants at the conference can be found at: Below is a summary of the key points raised at the conference on a session-by-session basis.

Session 1. Inaugural Session

The session highlighted that climate change evokes the need to consolidate and share information on contemporary initiatives aimed at reducing vulnerability and strengthening adaptation. The vulnerabilities of developing countries to climate change underscore the urgency for taking proactive measures on the mitigation and the adaptation fronts.

Session 2. Adaptation and Sustainable Development

The challenges posed by climate variability and change require prompt action. Useful information can be drawn from local communities' historical and current coping measures in dealing with climate variability and extreme events. The key challenge, however, is to incorporate principles of equity and conflict resolution, beneficiary selection and benefit sharing, transparency in project implementation, information sharing, and adequate representation of minority communities in the decision making processes.

Key points:

* Targeted research and development is required to enhance adaptive capacities of communities--some initiatives in this context include revitalizing cooperatives and credit institutions, enriching the technological base, and strengthening the insurance system through the promotion of innovative measures such as index-based, weather-risk insurance.

* National development policies and government programs need to integrate adaptation initiatives--increase resilience of livelihood and infrastructure, improve governance, empower communities, and mainstream climate risk management.

* Watershed development and management should be pushed, especially in rain fed areas priority intervention areas include provision of potable water for consumption and of protective irrigation for crops, while integrating livestock management and considering equity concerns.

Session 3A. Climate Risk Assessment: Emerging Approaches and Tools

Screening tools provide a broad overview to project managers and development planners about the key climatic risks that could affect the implementation of development projects and related investments by the government, donor agencies, and other institutes.

Key points:

* Screening tools are required to mainstream climate risks into development planning and to provide guidance to project managers and development planners.

* A framework is required in order to integrate disaster risk management efforts with climate risk and development concerns. By strengthening adaptive capacities at the macro level, it is possible to create win-win situations that result in improvement in overall well-being of the community/ecosystem.

Session 3B. Sector Impacts: Policy and Economic Implications

The implications of climate change on the agricultural sector demands urgent attention. Stakeholders, such as scientists and policymakers, will be required to work together to integrate research into policy successfully.

Key points:

* There is need for effective policy support to bolster the adaptive capacity of farmers.

* Autonomous adaptation in the agricultural sector faces constraints such as the time lag in responses, the unpredictability of extreme events, and the lack of extension services and technical guidance.

* The cost of adaptation should include support for building infrastructure to promote research, development of models for integrated assessments, and provision of information on policy research.

* There is a need for structural and non-structural investments in win-win strategies for better preparedness to climatic stress. This includes strengthening the methods for impact prediction of climatic trends and strengthening public services such as health care, sanitation, disease surveillance, access to vector and disease control services, integration of health concerns in policies, efficient urban planning, housing regulations, water treatment etc.

Session 4. Adaptation Strategies: Emerging Approaches

Planned and autonomous approaches to adaptation are not unrelated; while some risks, and necessary adaptation, can be identified and planned for, responses to other risks depend on the inherent flexibility of systems.

Key points:

* Resilient systems are better equipped to meet basic environmental, economic, and social needs when faced by sudden climatic extremes.

* Adaptation to droughts and floods at the local level depends on certain key factors such as:

** the extent to which people are able to diversify into livelihood based on less climate-sensitive sectors;

** the extent to which people have the ability to access information relaying early warnings and transport channels for goods and services;

** the presence of assets and security such as insurance and the resilience of key infrastructure;

** the condition of key environmental resources, such as groundwater in a drought-prone area, and the presence of institutional arrangements, self-help groups (SHGs), and credit groups;

** the presence of institutional or self financial mechanisms (credit systems or remittances).

* Synergies need to be developed between planned and autonomous adaptation by focusing on disaster management strategies, scientific information, and the use of financing and insurance mechanisms.

* Targeted sector-wide interventions can be used to reduce the risks associated with climatic variability and extreme conditions. These include:

** water-based intervention--the adoption of better irrigation practices, the recharging of groundwater through strengthening water harvesting structures, the revival and restoration of community-based water conservation measures, and the revitalization of water user groups;

** land-use-based interventions--control of soil erosion losses, crop advisory, development of agro-forestry, and kitchen gardens which can promote nutritional security;

** energy-based interventions--provision of improved cook-stoves, promotion of bioenergy crops, and promotion of briquette making; and

** livestock-based interventions--livestock management, pasture land development, and development of fodder banks.

* The perceived barriers to adaptation are the lack of timely weather-forecasting information, of credit and savings, and of appropriate technology.

* Experiences from various fields need to be pooled--including institutional, financial, and technical systems and participatory planning and implementation--to contribute towards livelihood diversification, provision of a low-cost and input-internalized production system, natural resource management, resolution of property-rights issues related to land and water, and enhancement of community-based local institutions' roles.

* Communities employ various measures to deal effectively with the consequences of climate change. These include looking at temporary, i.e. reactive, and permanent, i.e. proactive, models of response. There is a need to identify and incorporate these measures into the enhancement of communities' adaptive capacities.

* Linkages should be drawn between the local level of delivery and implementation of adaptation measures and the efforts to include adaptation in international agreements.

Session 5. Mainstreaming Adaptation: Policy Issues and Options

Key vulnerabilities to climate change need to be identified. There is also a need to strike a balance between adaptation and mitigation.

Key points:

* Partnerships with other countries (both developing and developed) are required to address the challenges of sustainable development and climate change in accordance with the goals of the UNFCCC. There is also need to look at partnerships or linkages between governmental and non-governmental sectors.

* At the community level, sustainable livelihoods need to be promoted in order to avoid future risks. In the case of climate-sensitive occupations, income diversification is the key to resilience. Agro-based industries are critical in providing the support structure. Social capital forms an extremely important factor to enhance community resilience. Also, a balance needs to be struck between finance mechanisms of credit, savings, increased engagement of SHGs, development of insurance structures, asset-building at household and community level, incentive-driven watershed management, and disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Session 6. Strengthening Global Cooperation on Adaptation

Key points:

* To strengthen global cooperation on adaptation, there is a need to promote knowledge sharing and communication platforms among global actors, establish institutional frameworks for adaptation that are in line with development priorities, and assist in integrating adaptation in the planning process.

* Some examples where global collaboration could be forged include the initiation of small pilot projects planned to be integrated into ongoing larger scale development programs such as the watershed development programs and early warning systems. This would include risk assessments, risk management including the development of a national adaptation strategy, integration into investment programming, and application of adaptation tools and methods.

* There needs to be adequate research on the economics of adaptation, on methods to mainstream adaptation in development, and on the involvement of other stakeholders.

* Current sustainable development practices related to rural livelihoods, disaster risk management and urban development need to be strengthened.

Session 7A. EU-India Cooperation on Climate Change and Adaptation Policies: Research and Policy Activities on Adaptation

Key points:

* Several EU-India collaborative efforts are already in place and a number of new funding instruments have also been introduced in addition to individual member state programs. An integrated framework for the assessment of climatic hazards, vulnerability, and risks, along with spatial planning, mapping, and modeling would be required for development of robust adaptation and mitigation strategies.

* For development and implementation of strong adaptation projects stakeholder engagement is critical.

* Uncertainty related to the resolution of results can often lead to faulty predictions and recommendations; these should be adequately researched before packaging the climate agenda.

* Time and effort needs to be invested to promote researcher exchanges between India and the EU to build human resource capacity and develop technical expertise.

* It is essential to recognize the obstacles to adaptation including institutional barriers.

Session 7B. State-Level Dialogue on Adaptation Issues and Options: The Way Forward

The state-level discussions were aimed at attaining a regional/state-level understanding of the diverse aspects of adaptation, including the key components of a state-level adaptation plan and institutional structures and delivery mechanisms.

Key points:

* Ecosystem management should be promoted as part of a multi-pronged adaptation strategy.

* Before incorporation of climate change concerns into ongoing programs and plans, an assessment of ground situations and requirements should be made.

* The various innovative adaptation strategies being employed by communities to cope with current climatic stress need to be documented and further supported.

* Prior planning is essential for efficient adaptation and this can be reflected in terms of changes in infrastructure and resource use pattern.

* Models of development need to be revisited to reduce unsustainable patterns of development.

* Identification of 'vulnerability' hotspots is needed for better preparedness.

* More research is required in the agricultural sector to promote growth of tolerant crop varieties and address food security concerns.

* Weather data management needs to be strengthened at all levels, as well as the requirement for instituting better warning systems.

* There is a need to build inter- and intra-departmental cooperation to address the challenges of climate change in an integrated manner.
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Title Annotation:Climate Change Impacts in Drought and Flood Affected Areas: Case Studies in India
Publication:Climate Change Impacts In Drought and Flood Affected Areas: Case Studies In India
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Previous Article:Appendix B: Methodology used for the design and analysis of household surveys and data.
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