Monday, 20 October 2014

Conference on Mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation in Development Policies and Practices(October20,2014)in Lucknow

I attended this conference on Disaster Risk reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in development policies and practices , as  chief guest .The conference  was organised on October20,2014(Monday) in Lucknow by UP State Disaster Management Authority in association with Unicef,National Institute of Disaster Management,Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group,ISET,All india Disaster Mitigation Institute.The dignatories on the dias included Ms. Nilofar Porzande, Dr. Anil K Gupta,Sri Mihir Bhatt, DR Shiraz  Wajih,Smt Leena Johri  ,and Sri Suresh Chandra, Principal Secretary (Revenue),UP.Here below is what I spoke.:
                     Imagine that you are in front of a  marginal farmer.He depends on rain for irrigation.And the rainfall is deficient in June and July.He waits for rains.Met department gives a weekly bulletin saying that rain deficit is likely  in certain districts.But the farmer is not sure.One day,it rains, and the farmer sows his paddy crop.But then it stops raining.There is a drought.The state government notifies the district as drought affected.A memorandum for Government of India is prepared for assistance.A team comes from Government of India and wants complete data for each district in detail.Banks wait for state government notification for rescheduling  crop loans.Insurance companies wait for post harvest yield data , to settle insurance claims.The department of agriculture advises the farmer to sow oilseed crop like Toria.But the farmer has no money.But this is our system .We give him advice , ideas and techniques , but no timely resources.How do we reduce risk reduction from drought ,for this farmer How do we make our development plans and programmes sustainable and having reduced disaster risk? .
                              What is mainstreaming?It is integration of DRR and CCA into the development planning,policies and practices.But in addition ,we need to see whether DRR and CCA can be integrated.We are all familiar with Disaster Risk Reduction.But we need to understand  the climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.Even if greenhouse gases emissions is dramatically  decreased,climate change adaptation will still be needed.There is a difference in the risks caused by disasters and the risks caused by climate change.The climate change  risks differ in intensity , frequency and have no previous experience.There are some common areas between DRR and CCA .These are risk assessment,flood management and building code enforcement.The non-overlap areas include Earthquakes for DRR  ,and agriculture and trade policy initiatives for CCA.But still ,there is a case for integration between DRR and CCA. We need legislation for mainstreaming.Section 39 of National Disaster Management Act2005 is the legal provision for mainstreaming of DRR.But there are no such legal provisions for climate change mitigation or adaptation.   
                        Mainstreaming of CCA has additional difficulties;
1.NO data is available.
2.No international guidance is available.
3.There are additional risks like raising heights of sea defences.
4.Huge funds requirement.
Departments which need to pay attention to mainstreaming are Agriculture,Water Resources,Health,Education,Land use ,Rural Development,Energy , Housing and habitat development.
Mainstreaming is required not only for government departments but also for all stakeholders like  Private sector,NGOs,Universities,International Agencies, International financial Institutions , and community.
      In UP , we have seven missions on climate change .We have Strategic Knowledge Mission ,Solar,Energy Efficiency Mission ,Green UP, Sustainable Habitat Mission ,Water Mission , and Agriculture Mission  .In all seven missions on climate change.We have prepared climate change action plan,which will , to some extent help in mainstreaming of CCA.We are in the process of creating a climate change authority.But these are just initial steps.          
                                           There are barriers  and challenges to mainstreaming.These are:
1.A culture of working in silos.
2.Bureaucratic organisational processes.
3.Lack of capacity and knowledge in departments.
4.High staff turnover.
5.Ineffective procedures for retaining organisational memory.
6.Mainstreaming fatigue.Any addition to current work load is perceived as negative.
7.Formal mechanisms for linking DRR and CCA  and development are rudimentary.
                Two main steps in mainstreaming are:
1.Awareness Raising.This includes vulnerability mapping.post-disaster damage assessment, and budgetary impact on disasters.
2.Creating an enabling environment .This includes DRR and CCA stategy formulation,Legislation.building institutional arrangements and capacity through political leadership,combined legislation, single ministerial responsibility ,intragovernmental horizontal and vertical integration.
     We are at the initial stages on mainstreaming , but as AL Gore said in The Inconvenient Truth:
1.Global climate crisis is real and near.We must not deny it.
2.It is a long battle.We must not feel helpless.
Mainstreaming adds value to our efforts.Let us make more and continuous efforts for mainstreaming,both by creating awareness and by creating enabling environment.
                     Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group has created a   pioneering  and important document on mainstreaming of DRR , CCA and development at district level.We need to create a similar document at state level.My compliments to UP State Disaster Management Authority and all other organisers for organising such a wonderful conference.