National conference on ‘Building Communities Resilient to Climate Change’
World Vision India (WVI), a grassroot humanitarian organization, on September 25th, organized a two day national conference on ‘Building Communities Resilient to Climate Change’ along with partner organizations of the Consortium on Climate Change & Natural Environment- EFICOR (Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief), Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) and AFPRO (Action for Food Production). Mr. Roy Thomas, Joint Director, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change inaugurated the event along with high-level dignitaries-- R K Jain, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority; and Dr. J.P. Sharma, Joint Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute. This was held on 15 Sept, 2017.
Mr. Roy Thomas, Joint Director, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, stated at the event “Any discussion on climate change is primarily aimed at how we can mitigate it and help the communities. It is very easy to formulate and prescribe policies, but how must we implement them? It is therefore important to understand the communities that are affected and the percentage of poor in them. Sustainable practices like carbon fasting and carbon reduction must be developed as to show commitment towards climate change, which the communities can adopt. Small practices like planting trees should be taught to the communities so that they can partner in climate adaptation and become resilient. Therefore, let us not be only policymakers, let us be doing what we preach.”
The conference was an opportunity to share and disseminate best practices on climate change mitigation, building the resilience of communities and scaling up proven models. Addressing the conference Mr. Cherian Thomas, National Director and CEO, World Vision India said, “Through our work during disasters and human emergencies we realize that urgent steps need to be taken to address the issue of climate change and its impact on communities, agriculture and livelihood. Climate change occurring because of calamities like floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, etc., affect the progress and development of our country. We are confident that this conference will be an opportunity to discuss and share strategies for ensuring a sustainable future”.
Mr. Ramesh Babu – Director Programmes, EFICOR (The Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief) stated, “The need of the hour is to tackle disaster and the negative impact of climate change. We need to evolve community-based resilient models, reduce the gap between policy and practice and proactively implement state and district level plans with regard to climate change.”
The conference is spread over six sessions from 25th September and 26th September 2017. The two days conference include sessions on ‘Climate Smart Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods in a changing climatic scenario’, ‘Energy efficiency & Renewable energy - a catalyst to rural development’, ‘Community Health & Climate Change’, ‘Community Preparedness & Innovative response mechanism to climate-induced disasters’.
During the session on Climate Smart Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods in a changing climatic scenario, the findings of a study by Dr. Binu Mathew (Director, Taru Leading Edge, New Delhi) funded by World Vision India, on Agricultural Vulnerability & Risk due to Climatic Changes - in the districts of the primarily agricultural state of Chhattisgarh, Durg and Bilaspur were shown. The report studied the resilience of landholding farmers vis-a-vis farmers vulnerable to climate disruption in planting rice, wheat, small millets, and pulses. This was followed by World Vision’s intervention focus and recommendations.
The conference intends to facilitate scaling up of best practices among vulnerable communities of the country and put forward innovative ideas and solutions for tackling on-ground challenges and policy formulations.
The impact of climate change in India cannot be ignored. India incurs losses of about $ 9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Extreme weather events have displaced 3.65 million people in India. Crop yields are to fall significantly because of extreme heat by the 2040s and lead to alterations in the flows of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers significantly impacting livelihoods of millions of people.