Consultation on Climate Adaptation Services for Water, Food and Services

In the context of a changing climate there is tremendous potential for leveraging the vast knowledge generated in the field of research towards supporting vulnerable communities & groups as they adapt to these stresses and challenges. However, in order to achieve this it is necessary to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of translating knowledge into action. Key barriers to successful climate change adaptation are the lack of systematic knowledge, low levels of research-policy interactions and lack of successful business models which limit our ability to design policy, programmes, and services that enable households & communities to adapt to the challenges of climate change. Reducing these barriers requires closers interaction among researchers and those stakeholders (public, private and individuals) who determine how adaptation will finally occur.

In a step towards addressing these challenges, the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) through its newly established Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS) in collaboration with Wageningen University, and Research (WUR) and with support from the European Commission, Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the UK Department for International Development & the Hindustan Unilever Foundation, hosted a Consultation on the 20-21st of April 2017 at the Four Points by Sheraton, Pune, with the goal of assessing existing synergies and disconnects between climate adaptation and services and enabling the formation of linkages between researchers and stakeholders. The event, over a period of two days, focused on question of climate change adaptation and climate services in the context of water, food and health security. The event presented a forum where researchers from India and Europe interacted with stakeholders from the government agencies, NGOs, the private sector and innovative small and medium enterprises in order to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and to develop new partnerships. The event brought together with a mix of government staff, private sector agencies, civil society, researchers and related experts.

Dr. Marcella D’Souza& Dr. Christian Siderius introduced the theme of the consultation. Then, the key note speakers    addressed the audience.

Dr. Marcella D'Souza welcoming the participants to the consultation and introducing the key note speakers

·         Dr. B. Venkateswarlu , Vice-Chancellor,VasantraoNaikMarathawadaKrishiVidyapeeth, Parbhani

·         Shri .R B Sinha, Joint Secretary, Gov. of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Dept. of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, KrishiBhawan, New Delhi,

·         Dr. R.N. Kulkarni,   Chief General Manager, NABARD

·         Mr. Ravi Puranik, CEO, Hindustan Unilever Foundation

 

R.B Sinha addressing the audience at the inauguration of the consultation.

Followed by the introduction, the key note speakers shared their thoughts and ideas on the overarching theme of the consultation.

Dr. B. Venkateswarlusuggested that the solution for fighting climate change lies more in policy making than technology. While technology does play an important role but, at the policy level, such for a, like the consultation are needed to advocate the need to judiciously use water, energy and carbon”.

Shri R. B Sinha focused on government’s   aim is to double farmer’s income and increase irrigation and water use efficiency. However, he mentioned that the challenge identified is the changing cropping pattern and the behavior of farmers. He spoke of the need for advocacy that bridges the gap between farmer’s and policy makers.  On a concluding note, he spoke about the need of creating a database of experiences and innovations carried outside the government research organization which are easily accessible.

Dr. R.N. Kulkarni, spoke on NABARD’S and WOTR’S relationship .He further added how technology and technical innovations need to be accompanied by institutional and other social monitoring mechanisms, infrastructure and investments that will allow them to achieve widespread penetration and adoption .

 Mr. Ravi Puranik, commented on WOTR & HUFs relationship, and how the interventions that HUF supports have led to increasing in farmer incomes, while restoring the resource base. He also spoke about how given the anticipated effects of climate change it is important to think about how multiple sectors will interact and affect each other, and hence a consultation like this is timely & necessary.

The following were the key thematic areas for the consultation:

Food:In order to ensure food security, it is necessary to provide farmers with the informational andtechnical support that will enable them to respond to the challenges of climate change. The landscapeof climate services is characterized by several state, civil society and private sector actors whoprovide a variety of extension services including agro advisories primarily based on short termweather data. Key consumers of this information are farmers and rural communities. The scope foradvisory services in India is massive. In the state of Maharashtra alone, there are more than fivemillion farmers registered for these services. Generating locally relevant, dependable andtrustworthy information at this scale is a challenge that must be addressed. Higher levels ofcoordination between actors generating this information, the purveyors of these services, andfeedback from the final consumers of this information can vastly increase the utility of these services.

Ramdas Patil presented on farmers perspective on climate services

Water:Water Scarcity is one of the key challenges and will be so for the coming decades in India Asthe single largest consumer of water in the country, any consideration of water management must reflect the use of water for agriculture. Under this theme we shall explore issues across scales, from water use efficiency at the farm level, to aquifer management, to sub-basin and basin level challenges explore ways in which research and climate services can be leveraged to address these problems.

 Divya Nazareth presenting on group managed micro-irrigation: Securing smallholder agriculture in water stressed Telangana. 

 Heat Stress & Health:Despite several severe heat wave events in the past few years and projections by climate models of a warming climate and increasing frequency of extreme heat events in the coming years, public awareness of heat related hazards and risks remains at a minimal level. Administrations in India have only recently initiated “Heat Action Plans” in a few isolated regions. This, however, still lacks sufficient understanding of the issues for preparing adequate heat stress response plans. This theme will contribute to raising awareness of the problem of heat in South Asia, gathering and presenting evidence on appropriate measures to key stakeholders.

Dr. Christian Sederius presented on Outdoor heat stress in South Asia

The consultation ended with a valedictory and thank you. Here a draft document summarising the key points and policy recommendations that emerged from the consultation was discussed, which the participants agreed to develop further in the weeks after the consultation. A key point of consensus was the need for strengthening collaboration across different sectors and scales as it was felt that only these kinds of collaborations would allow us to generate effective climate services for better adaptation. Adetailed report on the consultation will be shared in the coming weeks.#

                                                                   

Participants at the consultation pose for a group photo before kicking off the deliberations