New Delhi: According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, in India, there has been an increase in extreme weather events in last few years. The climate in the North Eastern Region (NER) of India has been reflective of this impact with greater intensity over the past few years. Keeping this reality in mind, Reckitt has come up with the Climate Resilience Index (CRI) for the North Eastern Region of India. It is designed to serve as a data-backed tool to facilitate decision-making for on-ground action plans, for states to implement.
What Is Climate Resilience Index?
The Climate Resilience Index (CRI) is a data-backed assessment that takes into consideration factors contributing to climatic vulnerability, existing adaptation mechanisms in place and ability of the system to bounce back in case of an adverse climatic event. The index thus measures the ability of a state to cope with climate risks.
Talking about the Climate Resilience Index initiative and why it has been drafted, Gaurav Jain, Senior Vice President South Asia, Reckitt said,
A large part of North Eastern Region of India is nestled in the Indo Burma hotspot which is part of 35 biodiversity hotspots in the world and amongst 10 most threatened hotspots in the world. The region has witnessed considerable alterations in rainfall patterns over the last century, resulting in high degree of hydrological risks (flood and drought proneness). Erratic and untimely rainfall has led to widespread land degradation in the region caused either by water erosion or acidification presenting a range of challenges for both forest and agricultural land. The region that is bestowed with umpteen natural beauty beckons us to rise to the challenge to arrest risks related to climate change through a model that involves community, focusses on socio-economic well-being and health of the population.
He further said that the Climate Resilience Index is aimed at undertaking assessments that will contribute to the development of more targeted climate change projects tailored to the unique environmental and cultural sensitivities of each state in the region. He said,
The projects will be designed to support the implementation and the potential revisions of the State Action Plans on Climate Change.
Highlighting why North Eastern Region has been chosen, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director External Affairs and Partnerships SOA, Reckitt said,
The North Eastern Region has been relatively isolated and presents a unique opportunity to exemplify sustainable development given its significance as a bio-diversity hotspot and the socio-economic reliance of the region’s socio-economic development on natural resources.
Talking about the study done by Reckitt and what it highlights, Mr Bhatnagar said, “This study as a framework presents a relative comparison of the states in North Eastern Region with respect to:
• Vulnerability: dominance of factors affecting climate change
• Adaptability: coping and adaptive capacity
• Resilience: measures the ability to bounce back post an extreme event
It evaluates current initiatives of states to combat the potential risks and gives due consideration to stakeholder views from experiences on-ground projects. The focus is to bridge gaps identified in light of benchmarks and selected success stories from other parts of the globe.”
The Climate Resilience Index by Reckitt measures the ability of a state to cope with climate risks. This assessment of gaps with recommendations have been drafted based on ground assessments, currently being piloted in two states – Sikkim and Nagaland.
Here are some of the highlights of Sikkim region mentioned in the report:
– There has been 20% increase in area under water-bodies from 2005-15 in Sikkim
– The report highlights that 10/300 glacial lakes here are identified as vulnerable to outburst floods
– The report further states that 7% area on an average (from 1953-2016) has been flood affected (highest amongst 7 studied North Eastern Region states)
– Talking about the division in the state, the report stated that South (76.27% forest cover) and West (66.38% forest cover) districts are drought-prone in lean monsoon months
– On the other hand, the report also states that the soil pH in the state is moderate to highly acidic, which is because of surface run-off on account of heavy rainfall
– The report also highlighted that the state reported approximately 61 cases of water borne diseases per 1,000 population in 2018-19. This is highest amongst the seven states studied in the North Eastern Region
– There also has been 21% decline in food-grain production in last 10 years in the state, according to the report
– The report also states that of the total species present in North Eastern Region, Sikkim has 1/60 amphibians, 65/1,324 of plants, 19/150 species of mammals, 11/550 of birds, which are threatened and endangered, which is because of climate change in the region
The climate resilience index report by Reckitt also lists down the potential focus areas for the state. According to the report:
– Sikkim should strengthen flood and drought management systems through water resource development in Flood prone districts: East and North and Drought prone districts: West and South
– The report also suggests that the state should promote agro-ecological and sustainable farming systems through Sikkim Organic Mission and strengthen marketing initiatives for “Organic Sikkim”
– The CRI report also mentions that the state should have community-based biodiversity conservation plans focussed on building conservation-based economies
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.