Three states in Northeast India—Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Miszoram—and five other states have been identified as highly vulnerable to climate change, according to the National climate vulnerability assessment report.
The other highly vulnerable states in India included Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, stated the report titled ‘Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework’, which was released by Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma on Friday.
These states, mostly in the eastern part of the country, require prioritization of adaptation interventions, pointed out the report, which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India with respect to current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability.
“We have seen how extreme events are on rise both in terms of their number and severity. Mapping the parts of India that are vulnerable to such changes will help in initiating climate actions at the ground level,” Sharma was quoted as saying by the Union Science and Technology Ministry in a release.
Sharma said that the report should be made easily accessible to all stakeholders so that it can benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects. He also suggested that maps should be made available through mechanisms like apps to people who need it.
“Assessing vulnerability was the first step towards assessing climate risk. There are two other components like Hazard and Exposure that need to be also assessed to arrive at overall climate risk. DST would take up these assessments in the next phase along with sectoral vulnerability assessments and assessments at sub-district levels,” said Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head, Climate Change Programme (CCP), DST.
Meanwhile, Prof N H Ravindranath, retired climate change expert from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), explained that the report has helped identify the most vulnerable states, districts and panchayats and will aid in prioritizing adaptation investment, developing and implementing adaptation programmes.
Director of IIT Mandi, Professor Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, and Director of IIT Guwahati T G Sitharaman hoped that the report will be taken up by the states for initiating climate action.
Corinne Demenge, Head, Swiss Cooperation Office, Embassy of Switzerland in India, hoped that the assessments will contribute to the development of more targeted climate change projects and that they will support the implementation and the potential revisions of the State Action Plans on Climate Change.
“The assessments can further be used for India’s reporting on the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. And finally, these assessments will support India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change,” she added.
The ministry said a total of 94 representatives from 24 states and 2 Union Territories participated in the nationwide exercise jointly supported by the DST and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Dr. Nisha Mendiratta, Associate Head, Climate Change Programme (CCP), DST, highlighted DST’s initiatives as part of implementation of two national missions and need for connecting the Centre, state, and user community in the implementation of adaptation programmes.
The assessments undertaken with the active involvement and participation of States and Union Territory governments and hands-on training and capacity-building exercises have identified vulnerable districts. Among all states, Assam, Bihar, and Jharkhand have over 60 per cent districts in the category of highly vulnerable districts.
“Vulnerability scores in all districts in India lies in a very small range. It shows that all districts and states are somewhat vulnerable with respect to current climate risk in India,” Dr. Shyamashree Dasgupta, Professor, IIT Mandi
The assessment will help policymakers in initiating appropriate climate actions. It will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.
Dr. Anamika Barua, Professor, IIT Guwahati, underlined that this vulnerability assessment is unique as we use a common framework across the states and union territory to make them comparable and also because of the active participation of state & union territory governments, the ministry added.