To boost engagements in the climate change adaptation discourse and share knowledge on climate change-related policy, research, and practice within and beyond the research and development community, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in partnership with Aaranyak (one of the HICAP partners in India), the National Institute of Administrative Research (NIAR) and GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the German Society for International Cooperation organized a two day Conference on Climate Change Adaptation: Priorities for Research, Policy and Practices in North East India, in Guwahati recently under its Adaptation to Change Regional Programme.
While delivering his keynote address in the inaugural session, A.M. Singh, Joint Secretary of the Ministry for the Development of the North Eastern Region, Government of India emphasized upon the urgent need to synergize developments of the different State Action Plans on Climate Change with the National Action Plans on Climate Change having taken into consideration the respective areas of priorities.
Several experts, researchers, policymakers, journalists, and practitioners dealing with climate change policies and livelihoods in the Northeast region attended the Conference. Sessions focused on research related to climate change, alternative livelihood options, disaster resilience, migration, and gender. Panels discussed gaps and priorities for action on key issues like Water Demand, Disaster Risks and Vulnerabilities, Community-based and Ecosystem-based Adaptation, and Gender issues. Effective and timely flow of information and knowledge was highlighted as a critical challenge for policymakers in ensuring informed decision making.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajendra P Agarwalla, PCCF (Wildlife), Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam said that Climate Change Adaptation does matter in a state with Climate sensitive natural resources like Assam. “All government development programmes must incorporate climate concerns and climate-related knowledge into their design so that adaptation to climate change gets mainstreamed in development planning,” he said.
Presentations on the collaborative work carried out in the region by ICIMOD, Aaranyak, GRID-Arendal, and CICERO under HICAP, supported by the government of Norway and the Swedish International Development Agency, and GIZ’s Climate Change Adaptation in the North Eastern Region of India (CCA-NER) Program were made. The presentations highlighted the importance of strategic partnership-based activities, anchored through the prioritized strategies outlined in the State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC), especially in climate change and water availability, disaster resilience, migration and remittance, gender integration, ecosystem-based adaptation, and knowledge sharing.
Interacting during a panel discussion that culminated the conference, R.M. Mishra, Principal Secretary, Planning, Government of Meghalaya said: “Convergence and nexuses among different sectors is essential, and there should be a system of arbitration in place to involve various stakeholders within and across the spectrum.”
The ICIMOD conference explored ways to institutionalize a formal platform for sharing the knowledge on climate change related policy, research, and practice in Northeast India; and identify the gaps and priorities that exist for action at the local, national, and regional levels.
Prior to the conference a week-long training workshop for journalists was also conducted in the Tinsukia district of Assam to effectuate their thinking and communication on adaptation to climate change in the local context.