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Disaster Management Community
Climate Change Community
Solution Exchange for the Disaster Management
Solution Exchange for the Climate Change
Query: Developing Climate Responsive Approaches to
Managing Disaster Risk- Experiences; Advice.
Compiled by G Padmanabhan and Ramesh Jalan, Resource Person and Nupur Arora
and Kirtiman Awasthi, Research Associate
Issue Date: 30 June 2010
From Amit Tuteja, SEEDS, New Delhi for Alliance for Adaptation and
Disaster Risk Reduction
Posted 28 May 2010
Under the backdrop of Disaster Risk Reduction, Strengthening Climate Resilience (SCR) is a new
initiative supported by UK Department For International Development (DFID) that aims to
address disaster risk management, by tackling exposure to extreme weather events, enhancing
adaptive capacity, addressing poverty, vulnerability and its causes. The project seeks to develop
a climate responsive approach to managing disaster risk due to climate change.
As part of this initiative in India, SEEDS (on behalf of the Alliance for Adaptation & Disaster Risk
Reduction, a network of over 170 NGOs) is developing an evidence based comprehensive
framework to integrate the understanding of climate change impact and risks into policies,
programmes and projects, with support from Christian Aid and Institute of Development Studies.
Under this context, we request members of Disaster Management and Climate Change
Share experiences of adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
Programmes, including initiatives by government and civil society organizations
Identify key challenges faced in implementing such adaptation programmes and
Suggest potential indicators for Monitoring & Evaluation
Contribution of members will help us in bringing together the learning of different communities
on policies that seek to consider climate change within Disaster Risk Management activities.
Contribution of members will be suitably acknowledged and shall be presented at a National
Consultation being organized by SEEDS.
Responses were received, with thanks, from
1. Rajesh Kumar Kaushik, Oxfam India, New Delhi
2. Bhavna Mathur, India Youth Climate Network, New Delhi
3. Nidhi Nagabhatla, World Fish Center, Malaysia
4. Dipankar Dasgupta, DISHA, Kolkota
5. Ashok Malhotra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi
6. Neela Mukherjee, Development Tracks RTC, New Delhi
7. Kiran Sharma, Development Alternatives, New Delhi (Response 1, Response 2 *),
8. Shailja Kishore, Independent Consultant, Ahmedabad
9. Jitendra Kumar, Nav Jagriti, Saran, Bihar
10. Pradeep Mohapatra, UDYAMA, Bhubaneswar
11. Max Martin, Mail Today, Bangalore
12. G Padmanabhan, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi
13. Ashok Kumar Sinha, GTZ (NVTS), New Delhi
14. Ravi Nitesh, Mission Bhartiyam, Basti, Uttar Pradesh
15. Mohinder Slariya, Environmental Sociologist, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
16. Veena Khanduri, India Water Partnership (IWP), Institute for Studies in Industrial
Development (ISID), New Delhi *
17. Debasis Sen, Independent Practitioner, Calirfonia, United States of America *
18. Amitava Mukherjee, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
Pacific (UNESCAP), Bangkok *
Further contributions are welcome!
Summary of Responses
Responses in Full
Summary of Responses
Climate change has accentuated exposure to various natural hazards. In the Indian context,
emerging climate related hazards include increase in frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall
events and glacial lake outbursts.
While Climate-related disasters such as droughts, floods and cyclones cause loss of lives, they
also destroy livelihoods especially for the poor. According a World Bank report, between 1990
and 2008, over 50 per cent of the population in South Asia was affected by at least one natural
disaster, causing damages to the extent of US$45 billion.
Climate responsive disaster risk reduction programme
Adaptation is an integral component of any climate change DRR program which also includes
preparedness, mitigation, rehabilitation and recovery. Before any adaptation programme is
implemented, it is important to assess vulnerability based on sensitivity, exposure and adaptive
capacity of the region and its people. WWF-India is working with various national and
international partners on the Living Ganga Programme in which adaptation is a major cross
Oxfam‘s approach to DRR focuses on vulnerable livelihoods, water-sanitation-hygiene (WASH)
and capacity building of communities for quick response particularly in flood prone areas. For
example, in the flood prone areas of Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Oxfam through its
partner organizations introduced short duration paddy variety that can be harvested before
monsoon to avoid flood risk and maximize returns to farmers on their investments. The
Adaptive Strategies Initiative, in India examined the course of action households in various
parts of the country actually take during floods and droughts to gain understanding of the factors
which enable communities to adapt.
Nav Jagriti is working in nine flood-prone districts of Bihar on DRR. It focuses on sensitizing the
community before the monsoon to minimize loss due to floods as well as trained volunteers who
work during emergencies & rescue operations. In Magadh region of Bihar revival of traditional
water irrigation system locally known as AHAR PYNE is a successful effort towards adaption to
Other initiatives related to diversification of livelihood opportunities as adaptation to flood &
Establishment of Agriculture Service Station to promote improved farming techniques
Promotion of low input agriculture practices.
Promotion of community managed grain-seed bank, fodder bank and village emergency fund
Mobilization of social security schemes such as NREGA, drought proofing programme,
insurance etc as safety net
Plantation and horticulture promotion for conservation and protection of forest
Increasing access to micro finance services and promoting collective marketing of agriculture
product through SHGs.
Members pointed out that adaptation should attempt to link inherent coping capacity of the
communities. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has a
Challenge Program on Water and Food in the Indo-Gangetic flood plain both in India and
Bangladesh. The programme has introduced livelihood diversification options through alternate
or concurrent rice-fish culture. It contributes to improving system productivity as well as
conserving ecological and hydrological flow.
Persistent drought in the semi-arid Bundelkhand region of Central India has adversely impacted
lives of people in general and small and marginal farmers in particular. Development Alternatives
in Bundelkhand Region is focusing on adaption and mitigation through capacity building of the
Action for Food Production (AFPRO) is working with communities and PRIs in the North East,
Jharkhand and Rajasthan to build capacities to understand potential impacts and devise suitable
response strategies. However, with reference to livestock, adaptation strategies in Rajasthan
focus on identification of traditional practices, mapping of pasture land, fodder availability etc.
Global warming induced sea-level rise has led to coastal erosion and submergence of a number
of islands in Sundarbans. Increased salinity has reduced crop productivity and fish farming. At
the same time severity of cyclones in the region has reduced livelihood options. For example,
after the cyclone Aila, local communities in Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal have planted
mangroves and in places a tree wall as an adaptation strategy to withstand cyclones and violent
storms. Other adaptation & mitigation measures that are being introduced after Aila are saline
resistant cereal & vegetable crops; non-shrimp brackish water fisheries; mangrove nursery
raising & plantation as an alternative livelihood option; food processing and other non-farm
It is important to enhance the ability of communities through mass awareness programs to deal
with disasters so that they are able to ―help themselves‖. Besides developing capacities of the
local community, response to climate change and DRR requires strong institutional mechanisms
and support. Members suggested ownership of the programme by PRIs; access to a sound early
warning systems; appropriate weather forecasting etc. This would entail investment in physical
infrastructure as well as on skill development for dissemination of information. There is need to
develop training & IEC materials for different stakeholders that incorporate DRR & CCA
At the policy level, climate change, DRR and development priorities need to take care of regional
variability. A common standardized approach will not be feasible. For initiatives like plantations, it
is important to factor uncertainty in availability of water, type of saplings used soil type,
availability of man power etc.
A World Bank/ Government of India report- Climate Change impacts on Droughts and Flood
Affected Areas- promotes mainstreaming and integration of climate related risks to India‘s
development policies and processes. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
(UNISDR) publication Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, can be used as a tool for
developing an integrated approach to reducing vulnerabilities to climate change and other natural
disasters by utilizing a comprehensive disaster management system.
Indicators for Monitoring & Evaluation:
Indicators that can be used for monitoring and evaluation of programs that build adaptive
capacity include socio economic status (income levels, employment rate etc.), infrastructure
status (availability and access to roads, hospitals etc.) and ecological status (availability of
water, ecosystem services etc.).
Other potential indicators for monitoring & evaluation could be:
Reduction in inputs cost in farming
Reduction in rate of migration
Increased demand of less water intensive seed
Improved availability of surface and ground water
Reduction in number of stress period
Increased production and productivity of the agriculture land
Food security etc.
From the above discussions it is clear that it is essential to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction,
Climate Change Adaptation and our development priorities in order to reduce vulnerability to
natural disasters, the impacts of which are being increasingly accentuated by climate change.
Preparing local communities to handle floods, (from Jitendra Kumar, Nav Jagriti, Saran,
In the flood prone districts of Northern Bihar, a local NGO is working on disaster risk reduction
with a focus on sensitizing the community before the Monsoons. They prepare and train local
volunteers from within the community groups. This has helped preparing the community and
helped to minimize loss due to floods. Read more
Reviving traditional irrigation systems, Magadh (from Ashok Kumar Sinha, GTZ (NVTS),
In Magadh region, various community based organisations have initiated revival of traditional
water irrigation system. These are locally known as AHAR PYNE. It is a successful effort by CSOs
in the direction of adaption of climate change, which contributes in protection & conservation of
water resources and ensuring equitable irrigation for the small & marginal farmers.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
Using short duration paddy variety (from Rajesh Kumar Kaushik, Oxfam India, New Delhi)
In the flood prone areas of Eastern UP and Bihar, an NGO introduced short duration paddy
variety NDR97- to avoid flood risk and maximize returns to farmers on their investments. By
harvesting paddy early & showing short duration mustard and then late variety of wheat, farmers
could take up three crops in two crop seasons. This resulted in production from the same land
going up substantially giving food security (rice, wheat) and cash income (mustard). Read here
Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh
Living Ganga Programme, Gangotri to Kanpur (from Bhavna Mathur, India Youth Climate
Network, New Delhi)
To implement strategies for sustainable energy and water resource management within the
Ganga Basin, WWF has started the Living Ganga Initiative. It brings together components of
climate adaptation, vulnerability assessment, environmental flows and water allocation etc. The
programme has established partnerships with key stakeholders and consists of 6 crosscutting
components including climate adaptation as an important one. Read more
Promoting Green Social Enterprise, Bundelkhand (from Kiran Sharma, Development
Alternatives, New Delhi and Veena Khanduri, India Water Partnership (IWP), Institute for
Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi)
In Bundelkhand, socio-technical interventions are being carried out to improve quality of lives of
vulnerable groups by enhancing their abilities to cope with the climate change. An NGO is
carrying out adaptation programmes promoting green social enterprise. Various clusters such as
Women Energy Clusters, Farmer Adaptation Clusters and Artisans‘ Cluster have been formed. The
initiative has led to the adoption of energy efficient low carbon technologies, eco-friendly building
materials, energy efficient irrigation systems etc.
Tree Wall as adaptation strategy, Midnapu (from Neela Mukherjee, Development Tracks
RTC, New Delhi)
Jargram Block in the district has been facing severe impacts of such violent super-cyclones since
2004. After the Aila cyclone, local communities supported by CBOs planted tree wall as
adaptation strategy to withstand cyclones and violent storms. The community takes care of the
plants and monitoring activities. The local community has appreciated the urgency of climate
change adaptation and adapted to the change which has proved to be beneficial.
Understanding Adaptive Strategies, India (from Ashok Malhotra, United Nations
Development Programme, New Delhi)
By reviewing the regional trends, government programmes and systems theory, UNDP under this
programme, aimed at gaining understanding of factors which enable communities to adapt to
disasters and climatic variability and examine the courses of action households take during
emergencies. The insights generated have potential relevance for other contexts where livelihood
systems are disrupted and adaptation is essential. Read more
Reducing Disaster Risk through Community Preparedness Measures (from G
Padmanabhan, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi)
The GoI-UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme, worked to reduce vulnerabilities of
communities at risk to natural disasters in 169 multi-hazard prone districts in 17 states. Under
the programme, a series of measures were taken up at the community, local government and
other levels to create a culture of disaster preparedness and risk reduction. This has resulted in
increased community preparedness in case of extreme events due to climate change. Read more
Challenge Program on Water and Food, India and Bangladesh (from Nidhi Nagabhatla,
World Fish Center, Malaysia)
In the Indo-Gangetic flood plain this programmes aims at livelihood diversification for alternate or
concurrent rice-fish culture. It helped the communities to cope with the land-water seasonal
dynamics in the flood plains and to integrate the inherent adaptive capacity (catching fish in this
case) to more economically viable adaptation solution (culture fisheries). It has contributed to
improving system productivity as well as conserving ecological and hydrological flow. Read more.
From Bhavna Mathur, India Youth Climate Network, New Delhi
Disaster Management Act 2005
Act; by Ministry of Home Affairs; Government of India, New Delhi; 2005;
Available at http://nidm.gov.in/DM_act2005.pdf (PDF Size: 1.67 MB)
Act addresses the issue of management of disasters and plans for disaster preparedness
in the country.
Book; Indian Meteorological Department (IMD); New Delhi; April 2009;
Available at http://www.imd.gov.in/mausam/index.html
Scientific research journal published by IMD, highlights the issue of adaptation of disaster
risk reduction programmes.
Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (from Ashok Malhotra, United Nations
Development Programme, New Delhi)
Briefing Note; by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR); Geneva
; September 2008
Available at http://www.preventionweb.net/files/4146_ClimateChangeDRR.pdf (PDF; Size:
Can be used as a tool for an integrated approach to reducing vulnerabilities to climate
change and other natural disasters in a comprehensive disaster management system.
Climate Change and Community Adaptation Initiative: A Case Study of Seven Village
Communities and Local CBO (from Neela Mukherjee, Development Tracks RTC, New Delhi)
Casestudy; by Ms. Neela Mukherjee and Madhumita Parihari; Development Tracks RTC; West
Available at http://community.eldis.org/.59cf7a21/cmd.233/enclosure..59cf7a22 (PDF; Size: 168
Provides details of a Community initiative in Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal about the
tree wall as adaptation strategy to withstand cyclones and violent storms.
South Asia: Shared Views on Development and Climate Change (from G Padmanabhan,
UNDP India, New Delhi)
Report; by World Bank; 2009;
Available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/SOUTHASIAEXT/Resources/Publications/448813-
Size: 261 KB).
The chapter 8 on Natural Disasters of the book reports Natural Disaster‘ Impacts in South
Asia from 1990–2008.
Climate change impacts in drought and flood-affected Areas: Case studies in India
(from Veena Khanduri, India Water Partnership (IWP), Institute for Studies in Industrial
Development (ISID), New Delhi)
Case Studies; World Bank and Government of India; India; June 2008;
%20Case%20Studies%20from%20India_World%20Bank_%202008%20.pdf (Pdf Size: 267 KB)
Promotes mainstreaming and integration of climate related risks in India's development
policies and processes.
Recommended Organizations and Programmes
From Rajesh Kumar Kaushik, Oxfam India, New Delhi
Oxfam, United Kingdom
Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford OX4 2JY United Kingdom; Tel.: 44-0-1865-
Works on disaster risk reduction and adaption to climate variability in flood prone areas
in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Acharya Narendra Dev Agriculture University, Uttar Pradesh
Kumarganj, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh; Tel: 91-5270-262097 / 262161; Fax: 91-5270-262097;
Developed paddy NDR97; a short duration paddy variety used in Uttar Pradesh to
mitigate losses during floods.
Living Ganga, New Delhi (from Bhavna Mathur, India Youth Climate Network, New Delhi)
WWF Programme, WWF-India, 172 B, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi- 110003; Tel: +91 11 4150 4815;
Fax: +91 11 2469 1226; http://wwfindia.org/about_wwf/reducing_footprint/living_ganga/;
Developed a framework for sustainable water and energy management in critical parts of
the Ganga Basin focusing on river restoration, community education and engagement.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), New Delhi (from Bhavna Mathur, India
Youth Climate Network, New Delhi)
NDMA Bhawan, A-1, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029; Tel: 26701700; www.ndma.gov.in
Apex body that coordinates activities between different ministries (depending on the type
of disaster) that are responsible for implementing the programs and mobilizing resources.
CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, Colombo (from Nidhi Nagabhatla, World
Fish Center, Malaysia)
Colombo, Sri Lanka; Tel: +94 11 288 0000; Fax: +94 11 278 4083; email@example.com;
Introduced the livelihood diversification for alternate or concurrent rice-fish culture and
contributing to disaster risk reduction
From Dipankar Dasgupta, DISHA, Kolkata
Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), Switzerland
IUCN; Switzerland Tel: +41 22 999 0213; Andrea.ATHANAS@iucn.org;
Emerging as best-practice in adaptation; the CCA Thematic Group will draft guidelines for
various policy fora, and also compile and share experience from applying EbA in practice.
Orissa State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Bhubaneswar
Rajiv Bhawan, Unit-5, Bhubaneswar, Orissa 751001; Tel: 0674-2395398/79; Fax: 0674-
The apex body for working on Disaster Management in the state of Orissa; has prepared
minimum Engineering Standards to recommend safe construction practices.
India Meteorological Department, New Delhi
Mausam Bhawan, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003; http://www.imd.ernet.in/main_new.htm
Principal agency in matters relating to meteorology; is developing ways and methods to
ensure climate change adaptations
164/8A Prince Anwar Shah Road Kolkata 700 045;
Worked in the most vulnerable & threatened eco-systems in this country due to climate
change impact, also contributed to disaster risk reduction adaptation
From Ashok Malhotra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Washington D.C.
U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Press Relations, Ronald Reagan Building,
Washington, D.C. 20523 0016; Tel: 202-712-4320; Fax: 202-216-3524
Supported the study on factors which enable communities to adapt to disasters and
climatic variability and examine the courses of action households take during emergency.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), New Delhi
American Center 245, K.G. Marg New Delhi 110001; Tel: 011-23316841;
Works towards disaster prevention and disaster response planning to reduce India‘s
vulnerability to disaster and focuses on capacity building of the communities at risk
From Kiran Sharma, Development Alternatives, New Delhi
Development Alternatives, New Delhi
111/9-Z, Kishangarh, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110070; Tel: 91-11-2613-4103; Fax: 91-11-2613-
0817; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.devalt.org
Promotes sustainable national development; works in Bundelkhand region on climate
adaptation with different types of community groups– the artisans, women and farmers.
Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), New Delhi
c/o Embassy of Switzerland, Chandra Gupta Marg, New Delhi 110021; Tel.: 91-11-2687-
7819/20/31; Fax: 91-11-2687-3631; email@example.com;
Bilateral donor, worked in India on climate adaptation in Bundelkhand region of Central
India that involves different types of community groups– the artisans, women and farmers.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Mumbai
2nd Floor, 'D' Wing, C-24, 'G' Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (East), Mumbai, Maharastra
400051; Tel: 91-22-26525068; Fax: 91-22-26530050 firstname.lastname@example.org;
Supported DA in establishing Farmers‘ Adaptation Clusters who work in identifying
practices inappropriate to the region from the perspective of its agro-climatology and
Nav Jagriti, Bihar(from Jitendra Kumar, Nav Jagriti, Saran, Bihar)
Village Sikati, P.O Anjni, Via Parsa, Distt. Saran ,Saran -841 219 Bihar;
NGO working adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes in
nine districts of North Bihar
Government of India – UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme, New Delhi (from
G Padmanabhan, UNDP India, New Delhi)
55 Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003; Tel: 46532333, 24627612;
Worked with community to develop coping mechanisms and systems, and translated
their familiarity and coping mechanisms into Community Based Disaster Preparedness
Action for Food Production (AFPRO), New Delhi (from Veena Khanduri, India Water
Partnership (IWP), Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi)
25/1-A Pankha Road, D-Block, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058; Tel: 91-11-28525452/2575; Fax:
91-11-28520343; email@example.com http://www.afpro.org/
Provides technical guidance, backup agri services to grassroots NGOs for the
implementation of environmentally friendly projects for water and food security
Related Consolidated Replies
Citizens' Engagement in Policy Making Process on Climate Adaptation and Disaster
Risk Reduction from Alka Singh, AMRITA, Allahabad- Advice; Experiences. Climate
Change and Disaster Management Community,
Issued 8 March 2010. Available at: http://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/climatechange/cr/cr-
se-clmt-drm-05011001.pdf (PDF; Size: 145 KB)
Seeks experiences on citizens‘ engagement in effective formulation of policies input on
mechanism and process for involving citizens in policy making process on climate change
Responses in Full
Rajesh Kumar Kaushik, Oxfam India, New Delhi
Oxfam has adopted a very comprehensive approach for Disaster Risk Reduction and focuses on
three major aspects- vulnerable livelihoods, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and
emergency capacity building of communities for quick response in flood prone areas. Kindly see
below one of our experience related to disaster risk reduction and adaption to climate variability
in flood prone areas which has been implemented by our partner organization GDS in Eastern UP
and Bihar state.
Paddy is the principal crop of the region and is grown in over 85% of the area in the Kharif
(monsoon) season. Paddy is most vulnerable crop as the season coincides with the flood period.
The frequency of flood is very high and in case of floods the entire crop is lost. The farm size is
very small and most of the farmers are sharecroppers. Therefore, it is not just the loss of the
current crop but also the investment that the family may have invested in the crop, viz. in the
form of seeds, fertilizers, etc.
If the crop investment has been made from loans from local traders or money lenders, and the
floods have destroyed all the investments, then the family is in real danger of falling in the
perpetual poverty trap. The only way to get out of the situation is to migrate and remit cash for
sustaining the life and livelihoods of family members staying behind to repay the loan.
The project has analyzed the rainfall and floods data and found that the most of time floods
occur in the second week of August; hence, the strategy has been to introduce a short duration
paddy NDR97 (a variety developed by Acharya Narendra Dev Agriculture University, Faizabad) in
the summer season which would be harvested by the first week of August. This increases the
cost of providing irrigation but was an effective means to militate against losses during floods.
The package was developed looking at current agricultural practices of taking three crops in two
crop seasons – by taking early paddy, short duration mustard and late variety of wheat. This has
resulted in production from the same land going up substantially giving food security (rice,
wheat) and cash income (mustard). The package is becoming very popular and is spreading to a
number of districts where GDS has intervened directly or through its partners in UP and Bihar.
The short duration photo period neutral early-paddy, which was introduced six years ago, has
spread on its own to over 20 districts now , and it is no longer possible to keep track of its
Bhavna Mathur, India Youth Climate Network, New Delhi
Adaptation is an integral component of any climate change disaster risk reduction program which
also includes preparedness, mitigation, rehabilitation and recovery. A climate change vulnerability
assessment (VA) based on sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity of the region and its
people is a must before any adaptation program is implemented. WWF-India‘s Living Ganga
Program is an example of such an adaptation program.
As for government initiatives in the area of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction
, the Disaster Management Act, 2005 lays down the institutional and coordination mechanisms
for effective disaster management at the national, state, and district levels. As mandated by this
Act, the Government of India created a multi-tiered institutional system consisting of the National
Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, the State Disaster
Management Authorities (SDMAs) by the Chief Ministers and the District Disaster Management
Authorities (DDMAs) by the District Collectors. The Disaster Management Act is the guiding
principle behind all disaster risk reduction programs and the National Disaster Risk Management
Authority is the apex body that coordinates activities between the different ministries (depending
on the type of disaster) that are responsible for implementing the programs and mobilizing
resources. There are a number of civil society organizations including CASA, CSE, CEE,
Ramakrishna Mission, Plan international, CARITAS India, World vision of India etc. that build
community resilience to climate change disasters through both structural (e.g. dams, flood
control devices) and non structural (skills, awareness) developments.
Some challenges faced in the implementation of these programs include the inaccessibility of the
vulnerable regions/disaster sites due to lack of supporting infrastructure like roads. Also, there is
shortage of trained civilian defence force that can be called for immediate relief in case of a
disaster. Moreover, qualified manpower to implement such programs is unemployment in the
period when such disaster management programs are not being implemented. There is no
framework that can provide them sustained employment.
Indicators that can be used for monitoring and evaluation of programs that build adaptive
capacity include the socio economic status like income levels, employment rate, literacy rate etc
and also availability and access to essential infrastructure like roads, hospitals etc. However, it is
often difficult to differentiate between the progress made due to an adaptation program and that
which is made as a result of broader sectoral policies.
Nidhi Nagabhatla, World Fish Center, Malaysia
Continuing on what Rajesh Kumar Kaushik as proposed a flood plain management strategy, the
CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (http://www.waterandfood.org/) in the
Indo-Gangetic flood plain both in India and Bangladesh, introduced the livelihood diversification
for alternate or concurrent rice-fish culture. The seasonally inundated cropland rendered
unsuitable for rice production and traditionally used for capturing fish was put under low cost-
high potential technological intervention to regulate water flow and maintain water depth to
culture fish for three-five month before the post -monsoon (winter) rice or other crop or in other
cases where flood depth is low flood water tolerant rice varieties and the fish stock were cropped
This provided us an insight to cope with the land-water seasonal dynamics in the flood plains and
to integrate the inherent adaptive capacity (catching fish in this case) to more economically
viable adaptation solution (culture fisheries).This hybrid approach has potential to contribute
towards ecosystems based adaptation process, where the focus is on improving system
productivity while conserving its ecological and hydrological flow.
A key process in adaptation should attempt to link inherent coping capacity of the communities
with an intervention that aims to balance survival economics with ecosystem services
Dipankar Dasgupta, DISHA, Kolkota
Based on my personal experience of working & interacting with various stakeholders in the
Sunderbans, West Bengal, which is regarded as one of the most vulnerable & threatened eco-
systems in this country due to climate change impact, human intervention & faulty
developmental policies & priorities, the key findings are:
1. It is an extremely fragile ecosystem affected by sea level rise @ 3.14 mm/year and in some
places as high as 5.22 mm/year which is much higher than the global average. This has led
to massive soil erosion and submergence of a few islands resulting to a few thousands
climate/environmental refugees. This number is on the rise.
2. Between 86-90 sq. kms of land has been lost in the last 30 years and scientific data & field
observation shows that the rate of loss is increasing.
3. In an article in the journal 'Mausam' published by IMD, there is a 26% increase in severe
cyclones during the last 120 years in the Bay of Bengal and the Sunderbans, both in West
Bengal & Bangladesh, which have experienced 4 super cyclones between 2006-09.
4. Increasing salinity over the years has reduced crop productivity & fish catch, the main
livelihoods of the people, as well as posing an increasing threat to the bio-diversity. In
various scientific reports, loss of various flora, fauna & aquatic species have also been
reported. There are also documented evidences that the Sunderbans is becoming increasing
hostile for even migratory birds.
5. In the May 2009 Cyclone Aila in which more than 2.5 million persons & 194,000 families were
affected, embankments were breached and the tidal surge made most of the cultivable land
saline and destroyed most assets, all livelihoods equipment, fish & prawn farms, livestock,
boats and most personal belongings. Most of the land continues to be unfit for agriculture,
especially paddy. Even till this date, there is very little livelihoods options, except for some
manual labor work being provided by the Government, civil society organizations for
reconstruction & recovery work and by contractors & in the brick kilns.
6. Even before Aila, Sunderbans was becoming increasingly endemic to
indebtedness, migration, child labor, women & child trafficking, very poor nutritional status
especially amongst children & women, high incidence of TB, malaria & other diseases as a
result of poor nutrition & sanitary conditions. These problems have exacerbated manifolds
after Aila and have brought to the fore the increasing risks, vulnerability and poverty of the
communities at risk.
7. Most of the affected blocks were already selected under the UNDP-GoI & Govt. of West
Bengal's DRR Programme. However, no early warning, preparedness or organized response
by the 'Task Forces' was reported by any stakeholder. Some agencies are still involved in
recovery activities. Some have DRR components but a systematic approach to institutionalize
DRR from family to community to local institutional levels is yet to observed, except for rare
instances. There are a few groups and the Forest Department who are working on forest
protection and especially on mangroves plantation. However, there is NO agency which
is trying to integrate DRR as well as development work with Climate Change
Adaptation (CCA). Apart from adaptation, mitigation has also to be urgently
incorporated especially in threatened ecosystems like the Sunderbans.
Some of the key policy issues and other points raised in the query are given below:
1. Policy Issues: Both Developmental & DRR Policy making as well as Plan Priorities needs to
incorporate ecosystem variables. There is an overall trend to replicate plans & programmes in
different sectors irrespective of the ecosystem. This is true for both developmental
investments as well as for DRR. A common standardized approach for all areas is not working
2. Minimum Standards: Many agencies, especially after a disaster event, construct various
infrastructure which have been destroyed. There are a few lessons that have been learnt
from these experiences. However, the most important one is to have laws/legislation in
place to ensure or enforce minimum engineering standards of such
construction/repair. One could refer to OSDMA's publication on Minimum Engineering
Standards developed for this purpose after the 1999 super cyclone.
3. Mitigation Measures: Apart from adaptation activities, mitigation measures should also be
incorporated. For example, the Government of India allocated a substantial amount of
resources for reconstruction of embankments damaged during Cyclone Aila during the last
annual budget. However, no matter how strong the embankments are built, it will not be
able to withstand tidal surges during future cyclones without mangroves to act as a bio
4. Adaptation & Mitigation funds: There is an urgent need to develop a Climate
Change Adaptation & Mitigation for ecosystems like the Sunderbans. This should not be
delayed any further especially for the Sunderbans. This is a major impediment & there is no
support available that includes both DRR & CCA.
5. Training Tools & IEC strategy: There is an urgent need to develop training tools, materials &
IEC materials for different stakeholders that incorporates DRR & CCA and also similar
materials sector-wise. Lack of it as well as lack of trained planners & technical personnel is
also a major impediment.
6. Some of the adaptation & mitigation measures that are being introduced after Aila are: (a)
introduction of saline resistant cereal & vegetable crops; (b) Non-shrimp composite brackish
water fisheries; (c) ducks suitable for post Aila, Sunderbans environment; (d)
mangroves nursery raising & plantation as an alternative livelihood options; (e) food
processing and other non-farm activities.
7. The monitoring indicators developed will be shared after field testing.
Ashok Malhotra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi
Some of the work which the originator of the query may find relevant in the context of Climate
Resilience is as follows:
Under the ‗Adaptive Strategies Project‘, funded by the office of Foreign Disaster Agency
(OFDA) and the US State Department and USAID, attempt was made to gain understanding
through disaggregation of the factors which enable communities to adapt to floods, droughts
and climatic variability and by examining the courses of action households actually take during
flood and drought events. This was done through locating the insights through a wider review
of regional trends, government programmes and systems theory.
Although focused on floods, the report is of the view that many of the insights generated
have potential relevance for other contexts where livelihood systems are disrupted and
adaptation is essential.
Apart from the results of the report which indicate that vulnerability and adaptive capacity in
flood and drought contexts are heavily influenced by at least eight factors, it has brought out
points of entry and leverage as well as translating concepts into practice.
At the same time, there is a United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
(UNISDR) publication which can be used as a tool for an integrated approach to reducing
vulnerabilities to climate change and other natural disasters in a comprehensive disaster
management system. The document is available at:
http://www.preventionweb.net/files/4146_ClimateChangeDRR.pdf (PDF; Size: 356KB)
Taking the above into account, for the new initiative supported by DFID, it can be suggested that
there is a need to support adoption of a new strategy on Climate Resilience at the Centre and
States based on informed debates, local/ international experience and research findings on the
causes and potential responses to tackle climate induced disaster risk keeping in mind that
institutional and systemic changes to improve efficiency and accelerate human development
progress are needed.
The project may therefore consider providing support to a combination of initiatives such as
action research, platform and network building for dialogue on policies and regulations, a facility
to support and disseminate best practices on climate resilience and targeted support to
community associations and NGOs for actual ground level work through two distinct but mutually
reinforcing components– an All India (national component) and a specific state level-district-city
Neela Mukherjee, Development Tracks RTC, New Delhi
Here are the details of the Community initiative in Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal about the
tree wall as adaptation strategy to withstand cyclones and violent storms. The case study is
available (final version) on the Eldis Community website at
http://community.eldis.org/.59cf7a21/cmd.233/enclosure..59cf7a22 (PDF; Size: 168 KB)
It is important to mention that in such a process there are huge challenges, some of which
cannot be foreseen beforehand and related monitoring activities are not as easy as planned due
to many external factors, which tend to influence such a strategy in practice. There are important
lessons to learn from practice as enumerated below:
First, during the last year there was shortage of rainfall and drought conditions in the study
villages in Jhargram sub-dividion of Paschim Medinipur and the saplings could not be watered
Second, the type of saplings is also an important factor in the survival process often under harsh
local conditions. The saplings were from the local government nurseries and the sapling types to
be planted were not determined by the local communities, which were mainly ‗takers‘ of the
saplings distributed by government offices and forest department. The soil condition is also an
important determinant for constructing tree wall and the study villages have differential soil
conditions. Those with inferior soil need more effort and time and care, which are not always
easy for local communities to spare.
Third, many people migrated for work with families due to the drought conditions and that also
adversely affected the caring process of the saplings planted for the tree wall.
Fourth, local communities in the stated villages are under serious constraint and lack mental
peace due to the on-going armed conflict and violence in the Jhargram sub-division. Though they
think that the tree wall is important they have limited opportunities to care for the saplings. Many
of their young members have been forced to leave the villages due to different political factors.
Another major lesson learnt is that any community initiative for climate change adaptation
requires certain pre-conditions as emerging from the above case in Jhargram, Paschim
Medinipur. Even when communities are willing to undertake the initiative to construct a tree wall
the pre-conditions are very important. In this case there are at least four pre-conditions
1. One that there should be reasonable availability of water for the planted saplings to survive
and grow well and those saplings which require a lot of water are not suitable under harsh
2. Two, the types of saplings should be such that they are not only useful to the local
communities but are also able to survive under harsh conditions, as required. Also the
saplings need to fit to the soil conditions.
3. Three, there is need for normal condition of peace and well being amongst the local
communities to carry on their normal activities, to care for the planted saplings and also
monitor their growth.
4. Fourth, the fencing of the saplings needs to be maintained well and the community can give
time only when they are residing in the villages and not migrating outside. Micro
management of fencing and saplings is possible only when community members are
physically present in the villages.
So even when the local communities take initiative to come together and construct their village
tree walls to adapt to climate changes there are many follow ups for sustaining the initiative.
These include, caring and watering of plants, maintaining fences around saplings and monitoring
activities, which cannot be guaranteed under drought conditions and disturbed political
circumstances. This may affect the progress of the tree walls and may slow it down.
In this particular case of Jhargram villages, the tree wall is growing but has shrunk in size due to
unforeseen factors. However, there are plans by the CBO to strengthen it in the current year.
As members of solution exchange shall we think of back ups and alternate arrangements in
locations where such climate adaptation processes has been initiated though their maintenance is
fraught with many unforeseen challenges?
Kiran Sharma, Development Alternatives, New Delhi
Development Alternatives (DA) works in Bundelkhand region of Central India on climate
adaptation with different types of community groups– the artisans, women and farmers. This
initiative has been supported by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation).
As is well known, Bundelkhand region is a semi-arid region and dryland agriculture system and
persistent drought in the region has aversely impacted lives of people in general and small and
marginal farmers in particular. Therefore, initiatives for reduction in climate vulnerabilities hold
enormous significance in such regions. Since climate vulnerability is part of other complex
interlinked factors contributing to poverty, adaptation and/or mitigation measures need to be
Our initiative in Bundelkhand therefore encompasses integration of socio-technical interventions
for improving quality of lives of vulnerable groups by enhancing their abilities to cope with the
climate shocks and stress. Sustainability of outputs of such interventions especially with
vulnerable groups rests on solid institutional foundations. Haphazard introduction of
environmentally sound measures and other technological solutions fail in absence of strong
An example of such an initiative as a part of the SDC supported programme in Bundelkhand is
that of Farmers‘ Adaptation Cluster (FAC). We have promoted 20 farmers‘ club with support from
NABARD in 20 villages in Jhansi district. These institutions send one representative to the next
tier of institution that is christened as Farmers‘ Adaptation Cluster (FAC). Currently there are over
300 members under umbrella of FAC. The sensitization program of the members rests on
participatory forms of assessment wherein the members are co-researchers and come together
with the DA team in identifying practices that are inappropriate to the region from the
perspective of its agro-climatology and GHG emissions. Then collaboratively decide on which
alternate practices can suffice for this elimination from their practice and undertakes decisions for
going ahead with adoption of practices that are techno-economically viable and also improve
farm productivity. These interventions have resulted in adoption of energy efficient irrigation
systems and alternative land use practices by these farmers.
We have laid strong emphasis on developing such institutional systems in Bundelkhand and are
confident that they will develop as carriers and proponents of appropriate technologies and
environmentally sound practices.
Shailja Kishore, Indeoendent, Ahmedabad
I would like to share my personal experiences/ observations from North Bihar, the Kosi Region,
especially the Madhepura, Saharsa & Supol districts. Since the last 3 years the area has faced
different forms of natural calamities. There has been enough aid, but has not reached the
people. Being an interior region with hardly any motorable road to the areas, it has hardly been
visited by government/ civil service organizations.
In 2008 the area witnessed the worst floods during the decade and was submerged for more
than 3 months, the field and agriculture activities in the affected areas around Kumarkhand block
were affected till April/ May 2009 as the silt/ muck deposited in the fields could not dry up and
the farmers had a real tough time.
In 2009 both for the Rabi and the Kharif season, this kumarkhand block was declared drought
prone as there was hardly any rains and the river flowing in the region has dried up. Further,
there was hardly any available irrigation facility for the farmers. Consequently, the farmers were
experiencing moisture loss in their fields and the water level in the water bodies like well, ponds
lakes etc were going down. In April/ May 2010, the area was again stuck by cyclonic winds and
whole area was devastated, damaging the house and alternate livelihoods like horticulture etc.
Development activities like construction of roads were undertaken in full swing. However, the
relief materials for distribution were delayed. This Kumarkhand Block of Madhepura District is a
classic study with 3 different types of disasters in 3 consecutive years. Relief provided did not
reach the people. The programmes initiated by the government did not benefit the people as
many were not even aware of it.
In case you want to undertake a study and analyze the situation including the bottlenecks, may
be I could be of help.
Jitendra Kumar, Nav Jagriti, Saran, Bihar
Nav Jagriti is working in nine districts of North Bihar on disaster risk reduction as most of the
working areas are highly flood prone and water logged. Water logging is mainly due to choking of
the canal. We do drainage of canal through community participation to reduce the water logging
Our experience of 13 years tells us that drainage of canal is the best option to eliminate the
water logging problem by ensuring community participation. We have to ensure maintenance of
the drainage system through community participation, keeping in view the long term benefits.
We focus on sensitizing the community before the rainy season to minimize loss due to floods.
We have trained volunteers who works during emergencies & rescue operations. They also help
during rehabilitation. We have learnt over time that that if people are aware about the steps to
be taken during floods, the loss of human lives can be minimized.
Pradeep Mohapatra, UDYAMA, Bhubaneswar
I think that both disaster and climate change risks should be considered as human rights as:
More common and poor people will be affected
Faming sector will be more vulnerable
Food security distress migration and impact on women children and disabled will be more
Safety, security and survival of poor will be at threat
Fear and trauma will be more and manifold
More slums will lead to increase in quantity of waste in urban areas as migration will be more.
Health hazards like filaria, malaria dengue and other weather related diseases will increase
because of prolonged dry and wet conditions
Pressure on resources will be accelerated and extinction of animal resources will increase.
Vulnerability will increase manifold in urban, rural, and tribal areas.
Production and productivity will be hampered
By enlarge environmental sustainability will be a question for all living beings
Hence it needs to be considered as a human rights issue.
Max Martin, Mail Today, Bangalore
The following write-up is a part of a chapter that I am presently writing on Environment and
Disasters in the India Disasters Report (IDR) 2010. The argument is that climate change works
as a top-up on long-term environmental degradation and certain inappropriate development
practices. Hope it helps the debate. Please do not cite as it is still under review:
Climate change is expected to accentuate India‘s exposure to various hazards. In the Indian
context, emerging climate stressors include a rise in frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall
events (Goswami et al. 2006; Rajeevan and Guhathakurta 2007) and an increase in the number
and proportion of cyclones in the Indian Ocean that cross a wind speed of over 200 km per hour
(Webster et al. 2005).
Climate change could involve several scenarios like longer dry seasons, harsher heat waves and
more violent wet seasons. The floods in Mumbai and Rajasthan in 2005 and 2006 respectively
are indications of things to come. In Mumbai, the rains were so intense that they paralyzed the
city. Santa Cruz area received about 944 mm rain on a single day. This is a little less than half of
the annual rainfall that Mumbai gets on an average. The following year, some desert villages of
Barmer in Rajasthan recorded 577 mm rain in three days— more than double the annual
average. It rained so heavily here that it changed village landscapes.
There is a 10 per cent increase per decade in the level of heavy rainfall (over 100 mm per day)
activity since the early 1950s, whereas the number of very heavy events (over 150 mm a day)
has more than doubled, indicating a large increase in disaster potential. In spite of considerable
year-to-year variability, there are significant increases in the frequency and the intensity of
extreme monsoon rain events in central India over the past 50 years (Goswami et al 2006). This
suggests enhanced risks associated with extreme rainfall over India in the coming decades.
Heavy rains can result in flash floods, landslides, and crop damage and these in turn can affect
the local ecology and economy.
Policymakers fear that climate change can have a mixed impact on human security and
livelihood. Is this trend clearly due to global warming? Scientists do not rule out the possibility of
more such events as a result of global warming. However, it may be difficult to directly connect
each event with climate change (Srinivasan 2010).
Global warming is a clear and present danger and heavy rain will not be the only threat.
Considering that 2005 was the second warmest year in the last 125 years and in the decade
preceding that, and nine out of the ten years were the warmest during the past 125 years,
climate change is likely to become the most important environmental issue in the 21st century
Internationally, March 2009 became the hottest month recorded. The combined global land and
ocean average surface temperature for March 2010 was the warmest on record at 13.5°C
(56.3°F), which is 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F). This was
also the 34th consecutive March with global land and ocean temperatures above the 20th century
average (NOAA 2010).
―The surface air temperature in most parts of India has increased by half-a degree centigrade
during the second-half of the 20th century. The surface air temperature in the Himalayas has,
however, increased by one degree centigrade during the same period. This has led to the rapid
melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas‖ (Srinivasan 2006).
There is evidence of faster melting and receding of Himalayan glaciers in future, possibly
affecting the flow of great rivers - the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra - of the Indian sub-
continent. Already in the higher reaches, like in the Ladakh region, there are signs of water
stress. There is not enough water from the glaciers during the sowing period in April and May, so
villagers in Leh harvest spring water, freeze it and use it for planting seeds (Martin 2009).
Such melting has tremendously increased the volume of glacial lakes, some of them dammed by
thin ice walls. Glacial lake outbursts can flood north India, Nepal and Bhutan, discharging millions
of cubic metres of water in a few days. Scientists warn that with the melting of all the Himalayan
glaciers there will be a major water crisis in most of north India.
Due to warming sea surface temperatures, the number and intensity of cyclonic storms over the
north Indian Ocean - and other oceans - have shown an increasing trend in the past three
decades. One study (Webster et al. 2005) found an increasing trend in the number of category 4
(wind speed of 56 to 67 metres per second) and 5 (above 67 metres per second or 241
kilometres an hour) hurricanes in the north Indian Ocean, among other places. During 1975-1989
there was only one such event but in the 1990-2004 period there were seven, amounting to a
quarter of all events.
Recent climate model simulations suggest global warming might be the cause for increase in the
frequency of the most intense cyclones. There is emerging consensus in the scientific community
that the intense events are due to global warming (Kolli 2007).
While it is possible to see an environmental link in the breach of an embankment or diversion of
a river causing a disaster, it is not as easy to link a large scale event with an environmental cause
because geological and climatic events are influenced by a multitude of factors, including human-
made changes in the environment. Even such human-made changes are the result of a set of
activities spread over time and space and not necessarily single, straight acts like a big
construction. The best example is a set of disasters that climate scientists say are caused or
influenced by climate change – including sea level rise, fiercer storms, and heavier rains. In some
places like Lakshadweep, the coasts are getting eroded (Mandal 2009).
The warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of
increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and
rising global average sea level (IPCC 2007).
With rapid changes in the local environment and due to global trends – both in climate and
investment patterns - some of India‘s most ecologically fragile areas are becoming vulnerable to
natural disasters such as storms, rising sea levels, droughts, and heat waves. Considering these
shifts in ambient conditions, vulnerability has increased due to environmental degradation, and
certain patterns of development, planning, and land management. This trend underscores the
argument that environmental disasters can be triggered, fuelled, and exacerbated by human
Selected references are appended below my signature.
G Padmanabhan, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi
Climate-related disasters affect negatively lives of many people around the world, particularly the
poor. Poverty and low awareness contribute to the number of casualties due to such disasters in
Asia. Events such as droughts, floods and storms cause loss of lives. Further, they destroy
livelihoods. For example, with the destruction of paddy fields and vegetable crops due to heavy
floods, the farming community becomes not only homeless but without the means to survive.
Most of the countries in South Asia are regularly affected by severe and often multi-year
droughts. Between 1990 and 2008, more than 750 million people—50 per cent of the population
in South Asia—were affected by at least one natural disaster, leaving almost 230,000 deaths and
about US$45 billion in damages (World Bank, 2009). To view the World Bank Report, please visit
Size: 261 KB).
In India 33.516 million hectares of land have been identified as flood-prone (Government of India
2005; Ministry of Water Resources). India is one of six major cyclone-prone countries in the
world. According to the Vulnerability Atlas of India (Building Materials and Technology Promotion
Council 2006) approximately 5,700 km of the 7,500 km long coastline are prone to cyclones
arising from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Cyclonic storms and storm surges have been
responsible for some severe fatalities along the coasts, the worst of which was caused during the
Orissa Super cyclone (1999) killing at least 10,000 people. The hilly regions of India are
susceptible to landslide and avalanche hazards. The most vulnerable are the Himalayan
Mountains followed by the North-Eastern hill ranges.
Between 1990 and 2008 natural disasters affected more than 885 million people in India and
caused damages worth (US$) 25.74 billion. In this period floods accounted for the majority of
damages in terms of costs in South Asia. India‘s reported cost of damage by floods has been the
highest in the region. While the country is familiar with annual floods in Assam, Bihar ad Uttar
Pradesh, new areas have been witnessing major floods (for example, Mumbai floods in 2005,
Kosi (Bihar) floods in 2008, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka floods in 2009).
All this entails huge economic losses and causes developmental setbacks. In India, for instance,
the direct losses from natural disasters have been estimated to amount to up to 2 per cent of
India‘s GDP and up to 12 per cent of central government revenues (World Bank 2003, as cited in
World Bank 2009: 115). At times state governments have spent more on relief and damages than
on their rural development programmes. In the state of Maharashtra, for example, a single
drought in 2003 and a flood in 2005 consumed more of the budget (Rs 175 billion) than the
entire planned expenditure (Rs 152 billion) on irrigation, agriculture, and rural development for
the 2002–2007 period (World Bank 2007, as cited in World Bank 2009: 115).
Considering the impact that climate-related disasters have on people‘s lives, it is important to
enhance communities‘ preparedness. In order to do so, it is required to identify, assess and
monitor disaster risk. It is also important to take into account that in any community, the level of
vulnerability to climate change and climate-related disasters would differ among people (e.g., the
elderly and the children would be more vulnerable).
It is accepted that that climate change will alter the number, severity, frequency and complexity
of climate-related hazards. However, there is great uncertainty about the local level
manifestations, even natural variability impacts are varied from event to event. The traditionally
understood hazard, risk and vulnerability profiles in the region are changing and newer hazards
are getting introduced while the existing ones are getting accentuated. In August 2006, the
usually drought-prone Barmer district was hit by flash floods. Even as late as 27 August 2006,
some of the villages in this district were under the effect of flood.
Given the new challenges it is important to enhance the ability of communities and empower
them to deal with disaster risk management so that they are able to ―help themselves‖ before
external support reaches them. This can be achieved only if awareness among people at risk is
enhanced. In most Asian countries, the official early warning network, especially at the last mile,
is extremely inadequate. Therefore, in order to alert the communities at risk about impending
events that are likely to inflict loss and damages, early warning systems will have to be
strengthened. This would entail focused investment in physical infrastructure as well as on soft
areas such as human skills on dissemination of warning information, evacuating people, etc.
The next step will have to develop capacities at the communities with plans and skills to
undertake evacuation, first aid, shelter management, search and rescue tasks, through
establishment of task forces and skills enhanced to undertake specific tasks. In order to make
sure that the people remember their roles and responsibilities and act as per an agreed plan,
mock drills will have to be conducted. This would also help in testing the efficacy of the
The GOI-UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme (2002-2009) was launched in 2002 with
the goal of sustainable reduction in disaster risk in some of the most hazard-prone states in
India. Over the past seven years, the DRM Programme supported under a multi-donor framework
of US$ 41 million focused on strengthening disaster preparedness, response, management and
mitigation capacities of institutions as well as local communities in 176 districts in 17 states
across India. Through the programme, efforts were taken to build the capacities of the
community. Keeping in mind that communities are the first responders to any natural disaster,
and have developed coping mechanisms and systems over centuries, the DRM Programme
worked with communities to translate their familiarity and coping mechanisms into Community
Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) plans. The CBDP process involved the formation of disaster
management committees (DMC) and task force teams of volunteers, the formulation of a plan
mapping vulnerabilities, available resources and routes for evacuation, and the formulation and
implementation of mock drills so as to strengthen the disaster response in case of extreme
events due to climate change. Under the project CBDPs were prepared by 17 state governments
in 150,000 villages.
The DRM programme was successfully able to reduce losses of lives and properties in certain
cases of natural disasters. This was evident in some cases in Assam and villages in Tamil Nadu,
where disasters successfully tested the level of preparedness of the local communities.
Ashok Kumar Sinha, GTZ (NVTS), New Delhi
Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme is fundamentally needed for the
poorest & marginalized communities groups living in the drought/ flood prone areas. On the basis
of my experiences in working with partner NGOs in the drought hit zone of Bundelkhand and
flood hit areas of Bihar, I am sharing my viewpoints with members.
Intervention on climate change and DRR programme could be effective by developing models for
the same. Further intervention should be directed towards the wider replication of the
programme in partnership with government departments. Farmer-to-Farmer approach could be
also effective in replication of such models. Now a days Flood and Drought have become regular
disasters, which is badly affecting the poorest & marginalized communities groups especially
women, dalits & children. Proper intervention on DRR would be effective in minimizing the losses
due to climate change & disaster and in early retrieval from these losses. The main focus of the
intervention is to minimize disaster hazards/ climate change impact in the lives of the poorest &
marginalized community & ensure their livelihood and food security.
The intervention in the Bundelkhand Region & Bihar contributed in saving lives, reducing
vulnerability to major threats, enhancing the capacity of the CSOs to respond to disaster and
promoting range of livelihood security programmes in the disaster prone areas.
Share experiences of adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
Programmes, including initiatives by government and civil society organizations
Initiatives by the CSOs in the drought hit zone of Bundelkhand Region of Uttar Pradesh and flood
& drought areas of Bihar:
Preparation of Community Based DRR Plan, legitimizing it in the gram sabha and district
planning unit for ensuring implementation of the plan with the support of communities and
PRI members. This initiatives also need preparation of technical plan in consultation with the
Establishment of Agriculture Service Station for promotion of improved techniques/ methods
in farming in close coordination with agriculture universities, District Disaster Management
Department, Soil Conservation department, etc.
Developing agriculture production activities by promotion of low external input sustainable
Community based support system and coping mechanism i.e. promotion of community
managed and community owned seed bank, grain bank, fodder bank and village emergency
Demonstration of micro irrigation model i.e. water provisioning and construction of water
structure through NREGA and drought proofing programme
Mobilization of government schemes/ programme as well as social security schemes such as
NREGA, drought proofing programme, insurance, etc acts as safety net for the communities
Plantation and horticulture promotion for conservation and protection of forest & land
Intervention of promotion of soil and water conservation measures contributing in reducing
soil erosion, improve soil moisture, enhance surface water availability and improve
Increasing access to micro finance services and promoting collective marketing of agriculture
product through SHGs/ federation for improving the rural household food security and
income as initiatives under DRR
Sensitization of the government functionaries, policy makers, CBOs and other stakeholders
for promotion of disaster risk reduction and climate change by facilitating common platform
In Magadh region of Bihar revival of traditional water irrigation system locally known as AHAR
PYNE is a successful effort by CSOs in the direction of adaption of climate change, which
contributes in protection & conservation of water resources and ensuring equitable irrigation
for the small & marginal farmers.
Identify key challenges faced in implementing such adaptation programmes and
Supports from agriculture extension department and other government functionaries
Ownership of the programme by the PRI bodies and line department functionaries
Use of information by the poor small & marginal farmers– access to monitoring & early
warning system, Weather forecasting, etc
Suggest potential indicators for Monitoring & Evaluation
Reduction in inputs cost in farming
Reduction in rate of migration
Number of small & marginal farmers adopted the LEISA techniques & climate based
Incidences of institutional liaisoning with different department for seeking support in
agriculture techniques / methods
Increased demand of less water intensive seed
Improvement in biomass and water availability.
Reduction in risks and stress period of the poorest community
Improved availability of surface water in the area
Increased production and productivity of the agriculture land
Improvement in socio economic environment
Food security throughout the year
Hope that above information will help you. If you need any clarifications, please communicate.
Ravi Nitesh, Mission Bhartiyam, Basti, Uttar Pradesh
In fact disaster always affects the poor, disabled and the weaker sections of society adversely.
This has to be managed by awareness programmes among rural public and training of rural
youth in disaster management, control and recovery programmes. If we will give attention on
training they will be able to help themselves to face the challenge and authorities may seek help
from them if the need arises somewhere else.
One thing that I would like to mention is that most of the rural community comprises of poor
people who depends on farming for their livelihoods. In such a scenario it will be difficult to train
the youth without giving them any stipend or financial support. We may contact organizations
who are specially working on disaster management and they can give some support to those
people who show their interest in training.
Mohinder Slariya, Environmental Sociologist, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
Congratulations on this discussion. I think disaster is as old as human history. As per the
mythology, the modern earth formation is also a result of a disaster like situation (as cited in
history- jal/ thal- means a flood like situation). Further, the earth we are living in today is just a
consequence of normalization of the situation. After the formation of earth, there are so many
instances in history indicating such types of events.
With this, I want to submit that since it has been an historical event and people of that time even
have mitigated it by adopting their own ways. We must visit people living in the far flung areas of
the country (particularly disaster hit/ prone areas) and must learn from them the methods used
for adaptation. By taking into consideration the traditional knowledge, we should devise suitable
strategies to adapt to disasters. In short, the involvement of local people in policy planning and
implementation should be the top priority.
Veena Khanduri, India Water Partnership (IWP), Institute for Studies in Industrial
Development (ISID), New Delhi *
With reference to the query, I would like to suggest you to read the full report on "Climate
Change impacts on Droughts and Flood Affected Areas: case studies in India, 2008" (World Bank
Report No.43946-IN; Available at ).This report is a bi-product of a collaborative effort between
the World Bank and the Government of India under the overall leadership of the Ministry of
Environment and Forest( MoEF).
The aim of this study was to assist the government in this endeavor by focusing on selected
priorities. The overarching objective of this report was to promote the mainstreaming and
integration of climate related risks in India's development policies and processes, where this is
appropriate. The objectives and scope of work were developed in close consultation with the
Ministry of Environment and Forests as the primary counterpart, a cross-section of concerned
ministries and departments in the central government and in three selected states (Maharashtra,
Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh), and scientific experts from academic, policy and research
institutions. In the states, the department of water resources, government of Orissa, and the
department of rural development and water conservation, government of Maharashtra, supported
these assessments, reflecting a multi-sectoral interest in and demand for adaptation solutions.
The report captures issues on vulnerabilities in natural resources and rural livelihoods, which
stand at the front line of climate change impacts. The approach was dictated by government
priorities, which indicated the need to:
(a) Assess climate risks to agriculture and livelihoods in areas facing elevated and increasing
exposure to droughts and floods;
(b) Generate better information on current coping and climate risk management strategies in
response to droughts and floods;
(c) Develop and demonstrate the use of a climate modeling framework that can be used to
identify future climate risks; and
(d) Use the information to assist in developing the key elements of a forward looking adaptation
plan that can help improve climate resilience and adaptive capacity.
With reference to NGOs experience, I would like to mention our two network partners approach
and work on this subject as stated below:
Development Alternatives, New Delhi experience on Water, Livelihood and Adaptation to
Climate Change in Bundelkhand Region is focusing on adaption and mitigation through
community mobilization and capacity building of communities on planning and management of
water resources through innovative technologies which can save energy and water. The
technologies include use of Tara filter for purification of water, use of renewable energy and eco-
building services. The adaptation mitigation strategy of Bundelkhand is totally society driven and
the case advises that any adaptation or mitigation strategy of climate change should be society
driven. By continuing this strategy, the organization has formed green social enterprise under
which three grass-root cluster groups namely; (i) Women energy clusters; (ii) Farmer adaptation
clusters; and (iii) artisans clusters together called community carbon cluster, are using energy
efficient low emission technologies, eco-material production for buildings and involved in
regeneration of resource base by reducing carbon foot prints.
Action for Food Production (AFPRO), New Delhi is bringing the perspective of community in
response to drought and flood affected areas in North-East, Jharkhand and Rajasthan by
stressing upon capacity building of local government and PRIs in the technical and planning
disciplines to understand potential climate impacts and devising response strategies in a judicious
manner, institutional strengthening, technology and financial resources. In their strategy the key
message is that, while adaptation must be integrated across existing institutions, focal points are
needed at the local levels to garner expertise, develop, coordinate and implement comprehensive
programmes. With reference to assessment of vulnerability of the livestock‘s associated
livelihoods due to climate change, adaptation strategies in Rajasthan focus on identification of
traditional adaptation practices, mapping of pasture land and fodder availability and adaptation
framework for livestock management.
Kiran Sharma, Development Alternatives, New Delhi *
DA has initiated institutionalization of process of adaptation to climate change by setting up of
the Farmers’ Adaptation Cluster (FAC), which is federation of village level farmers group/
clubs, with one of the representative as a member of this apex level body. FAC is being visualized
as an institution which will not only provide support to farmers to adapt to climate change by
translating climate change and global warming related terminology into field level applications,
and play the role of resource (intellectual, financial and technical) facilitator.
Role of FAC is not only limited to aggregator to maximize profits, but also to provide technical
and other supports to address sustainability, profitability, reliability of production and adaptation
to climate change also. Thus, it also covers crop insurance, promotion of appropriate Hybrid
Varieties, encouragement to organic composts, fertilizers and cultures, improved methods for
irrigation, low water requiring, short duration crops etc. FAC is also supposed to take the
responsibility of reducing carbon emissions (per unit of production) by properly managing the
resource inputs especially energy and water inputs.
At the initiation of the project, baseline survey reflected that inefficient irrigation method is being
used by almost all the farmers in the area. It also came to light during the chain of discussions
with member farmers of FAC that fertilizer application is not according to the actual requirement
of soil and crop, but based on farmers perception. Other factors like broadcasting method of
sowing, poor efficiencies of use of fertilizers, pest and disease attacks, over application of water
for irrigation are responsible factors for poor production and/or returns to farmers and most of
them also responsible for higher emissions of GHGs.
There are a few options which can directly or indirectly reduce the carbon footprint of the
agricultural production. For practical purpose, under this project, it is suggested to measure
carbon emission per unit production of crop produced. This approach opens large number
of options and aligns itself with farmers‘ needs and concern. Thus the options which have been
promoted under FAC are as follows:
Improvement in Land preparation methods providing adequate channels of water for even
distribution of water and allowing air to circulate in an effective manner
Seed treatment especially through cultures instead of their chemical counterparts (PSB
culture, Rhizobium and tricoderma)
Dry sowing (Sowing of Wheat without pre sowing irrigation) (saves one irrigation, improves
Appropriate dose of fertilizers according to need (proper nutrient availability)
Introduction of appropriate high yielding seed varieties (suitable short duration, less water
requiring timely ripening , disease resistant varieties)
Promotion of line sowing method (improve aeration, nutrient availability for each plant and
makes inter-culture operations less costly)
Ensuring accessibility to appropriate seed varieties (seed bank or local exchange of Hybrid
Variety seeds instead of selling it in the open market as crop)
Promotion of these practices and demonstration of it gave very encouraging results and
productivity enhancement up to 35-40 % has been achieved especially in Rabi season. DA is also
building the capacity of community as well as of institutions to leverage different schemes and
programmes for achieving the objectives. PRI members in these villages have also been able to
support the activities and play active role for facilitating and smoothening the processes at their
We have cases from different contexts (soil type, water availability and other factors) providing
similar results and hoping that FAC will carry it forward and be able to spread its outreach.
Debasis Sen, Independent Practitioner, Calirfonia, United States of America *
What I got from this update is that Disaster Planning for Paschim Midnapur is still a planning
document which needs revision because the impact of drought was not considered or foreseen.
Well that maybe OK as a planning revision, However, I did not read any execution strategy
anywhere in this draft. Don't we need commitment of funds? Could the government pay for the
whole thing and not depend on contribution of free labor from the settlers? Hopefully there will
more rains this year and the political anxieties will lessen.
Amitava Mukherjee, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
Pacific (UNESCAP), Bangkok *
I am a late intruder into the discussion, though I am aware of the facts. Debasis Sen has raised
legitimate questions. I am sure they will be addressed in subsequent rounds of updates. Just as a
matter of operational underpinning, perspective planning, tactical planning, spatial planning and
resource planning can be carried out at one go and even concurrently, to be synthesized later.
Alternatively, they can be consecutive exercises. When planning is done with the community in a
sensitive area it is often easier to follow the latter path, noting that there is no one best way to
Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!
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