An innovative project funded by SDC’s (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) Global Environment Fund called “Vulnerability Assessment and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Semi-Arid Regions of India” is currently being implemented in Andhra Pradesh (Mahabubnagar District) and Rajasthan (Udaipur District). AFPRO and MANAGE (National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management) from Hyderabad are part of a National Consortium of three agencies formed for this purpose and lead by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation. An International Consortium consisting of INFRAS and Inter Cooperation (IC) is playing an advisory role.
The objective of this programme is to secure the livelihoods of rural poor and vulnerable communities by building and enhancing their adaptive capacity to better cope with adverse impacts of climate change and improve their disaster preparedness. Adaptive mechanisms for this purpose will be developed on the basis of an assessment of the vulnerability of certain arid regions to climate change. In addition to this, the project aims to improve delivery systems, especially of extension services, and to promote multi-level policy dialogues and general awareness on the impact of climate change.
Earlier experiments under the same fund on coping with climate change have resulted in the understanding merely mitigating the effects of climate change would not be sufficient to face the great and as yet unforeseen impact of this global phenomenon. Adaptive mechanisms will address not just the present impact, but also future changes and associated impacts.
AFPRO’s role involves grounding the programme activities at the grassroots or community level, connecting people and research and bringing their perspectives into research, cooperating and coordinating with grassroots NGOs, CBOs and state level organizations.
This four-year project will look into three crucial areas – Water (Availability and quality), Agriculture (Food Security) and Rural Energy (Biomass). While the first year has been kept apart for project inception, the next two years will be utilized for implementation. The last year is to be spent on policy dialogue, outreach and dissemination.
The project is a result of intensive consultations between SDC India, SDC Natural Resources Unit, Inter Cooperation (IC) and INFRAS and implementing partners and has been formally approved by the Government of India. The project document which is the basis for implementation was developed as a result of a Design Workshop held at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi for this purpose. Around 50 experts from various institutions and specializations participated in the workshop.
Grassroots level consultations were also held both at Hyderabad and Udaipur wherein AFPRO brought in farmers, academics, NGOs and CBOs from different parts of each state on a common platform. This helped develop wider perspectives on ground level issues and decide on the selection of sites for project implementation.