Adaptation to climate change has become imperative in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR). Concerns about the growing impacts of climate change call for immediate response measures to reduce the vulnerabilities in the region. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), through its project, Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP), has been working towards strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities in the Himalayas and towards enhancing the knowledge and capacities of research institutions, communities and decision-makers. IHCAP is a bilateral programme between the Government of Switzerland and Government of India to support the implementation of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). The Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India is the coordinating agency for implementing the NMSHE. Climate change is resulting in new threats and uncertainties undermining the socio-economic development in IHR. A comprehensive understanding of the key risks and vulnerabilities based on robust research is a pre-requisite for planning for adaptation.
While there have been some vulnerability assessments carried out within Himalayan States, there has been a lack of consistency in terms of the framework used for these studies. The multiplicity of challenges in IHR at spatial level calls for the need of a coordinated and integrated approach for adaptation planning. Under IHCAP, SDC supported the development of a common framework for vulnerability and risk assessment for IHR. This common framework has been applied to understand the vulnerability profile of the entire Himalayan region. Representatives of all 12 State Governments in IHR were brought together through a series of workshops to develop a uniform understanding about vulnerability and risk, availability and requirement of datasets and to map the vulnerability. This initiative contributes towards the objectives of NMSHE for capacity building of Himalayan States to carry out such assessments.
Approach followed under the project towards state level capacity building
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It is required to make the vulnerability data and maps easily accessible for use by different stakeholders in the IHR for research and planning. The Geo-spatial based Climate vulnerability and risk application is an information tool to manage the data and information related to climate change risks and vulnerabilities. This will help states in developing the adaptation programmes based on the climate change risk and vulnerabilities.
About DST NMSHE
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country.
The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) coordinated by the Department of Science and Technology, is one of the eight missions under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. The broad objectives of NMSHE include – understanding of the complex processes affecting the Himalayan Ecosystem and evolve suitable management and policy measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan ecosystem, creating and building capacities in different domains, networking of knowledge institutions engaged in research and development of a coherent data base on Himalayan ecosystem, detecting and decoupling natural and anthropogenic induced signals of global environmental changes in mountain ecosystems, studying traditional knowledge systems for community participation in adaptation, mitigation and coping mechanisms inclusive of farming and traditional health care systems and developing regional cooperation with neighbouring countries, to generate a strong data base through monitoring and analysis, to eventually create a knowledge base for policy interventions.
About SDC IHCAP
The Swiss Agency for Development and cooperation (SDC) has been a partner of India for more than sixty years. Since 2011, SDC’s programme focuses specifically on the issue of climate change and environment.
The Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) is a project under the Global Programme Climate Change and Environment (GPCCE) of SDC, and is being implemented in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. IHCAP is supporting the implementation of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) as a knowledge and technical partner. The overall goal of IHCAP is to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in the Himalayas and to enhance and connect the knowledge and capacities of research institutions and decision-makers.