Climate finances: utilise them better

"No country in the world is as vulnerable, on so many dimensions, to climate change as India. Whether it is our long coastline of 7,000 km, our Himalayas with their vast glaciers, our almost 70 million hectares of forests – we are exposed to climate change on multiple fronts," is a correct description of India as described by our former Union Minister for Environment. Such a vulnerable situation warrants the need for "designing adaptation strategies."

Accordingly, the Union government proactively launched its National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) with eight specific national missions to cope with climate change. State governments were mandated to prepare their respective State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC). So far, some 20 states have prepared their SAPCC and have also got it approved by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

While it is difficult to estimate the exact amount of financial requirements needed to meet the adaptation actions and mitigation requirements of the NAPCC, the Planning Commission has pegged the approximate cost of implementation of the plan at Rs 2,300 billion.

For Karnataka, the state action plan suggests adaptation and mitigation costs at about Rs 2,47,380 million and Rs 12,300 million, respectively, with a total cost of Rs 2,58,680 million. Similarly, the cost of implementing SAPCC in just 14 states has been estimated to cost around Rs 20,09,058 million.

Neither India nor any other developing country is in a position to spare such kind of resour-
ces to cope with climate change, although a significant portion of their population depends on climate-sensitive sectors. Developed countries, therefore, committed to provi ­ding funding to Global South, under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), and as a result, a few funding options came into existence such as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Adaptation Fund (AF), and latest, the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The GEF, established in 1991, under the aegis of the United Nations, focuses on providing financial support for activities related to biodiversity, water, land, persistent organic chemicals management, etc. For climate change-related issues, a 'Special Climate Change Fund' has been established under the GEF.

The AF, established under the UNFCCC, works towards funding for adaptations. Following the recommendations of the Copenhagen Accord by the Conference of Parties (COP),
the 'Global Carbon Fund' came into existence. It envisages $100 billion fund for the Global South to cope with climate change. It also seeks to catalyse climate finance, both public and private, at both the international and national levels.

The GCF seeks to maintain a balance between funding for mitigation and adaptation. It is supposed to become a significant source of multi-lateral adaptation finance. India has taken several proactive measures such as designating the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as the National Implementing Entity (NIE) for overall project monitoring and implementation of the climate change projects under these three funding mechanisms.

On the right track

The NABARD has already facilitated the approval of six projects from various state agencies under the Adaptation Fund Board with a financial support of $9.803 million. Under the GCF, it is implementing a project on resilience in vulnerable tribal areas of Odisha with an outlay of $31.63 million.

On the other hand, the Indian industry is also making significant progress in mitigation measures by adopting efficient technologies and working towards reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emission and help the country achieve its intended reductions in GHG.

It is laudable that India is making concerted efforts in terms of undertaking global funding support to cope with climate change. However, a few issues need more attention:

a) The role of universities and research institutes is getting relegated to the realm of publishing scientific papers on climate projections. Instead, they should be more proactive both in terms of short-listing and prioritising adaptive strategies in their region.  

b) Move towards developing research agenda in close tandem with those state agencies that are working on a climate change-related issue.

c) Several states, for instance Karnataka, are yet to any get funding from AF, GCF or even the NAFCC. It suggests the need for state governments to initiate and get benefitted from these funds.

(The writer is associated with Karnataka State Women's University, Vijayapura, Karnataka)

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