Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Kolkata Dialogue

Climate Change, Health & Disasters – Insights for the G20

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/not-enough-funds-for-kol-climate-action-min/articleshow/100608284.cms?from=mdr

Date: Monday, May 29, 2023
Venue: Press Club Kolkata
Time: 10.30 am to 4.00 pm
Venue: 12, Dufferin Rd, Maidan, Dr. B.C. Roy Market, Kolkata, West Bengal 700069.

The C20 India 2023 Working Group ‘Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Climate, Environment and Net Zero targets’ is one of the 14 official Engagement Groups of the G20 that provides a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) around the world to voice people’s aspirations to the world leaders in G20. The working group addresses climate resilience and social justice, environmental sustainability, and net zero emissions management, and showcases the importance of compassionate approaches for building sustainable and resilient communities.

The C20 India 2023 Working Group ‘Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Climate, Environment and Net Zero targets’ is one of the 14 official Engagement Groups of the G20 that provides a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) around the world to voice people’s aspirations to the world leaders in G20. The working group addresses climate resilience and social justice, environmental sustainability, and net zero emissions management,  and showcases the importance of compassionate approaches for building sustainable and resilient communities.

To make climate resilience a reality, it is crucial to implement policies and actions that promote a just and equitable transition based on key dimensions. The Sustainable and Resilient Communities WG has been organizing a series of policy dialogues by engaging with all stakeholders that include civil society organizations, policymakers, and people from academia and industry.

The objective of these dialogues are to create a platform for bringing together a multitude of voices that can help develop policy recommendations for some of the most pressing challenges facing communities today.

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) a network of nearly 250 civil society organizations working on climate action in 8 countries of South Asia is the official partner of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and has organized a series of such dialogues covering a multitude of topics on building resilience to climate change.

The Kolkata dialogue, CLIMATE CHANGE, HEALTH & DISASTERS – INSIGHTS FOR THE G20,  will deliberate on two main themes, PREPARING FOR HEALTH IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE &  DISASTER RISK RESILIENCE IN TIMES OF CLIMATE CHANGE to gather inputs for Sustainable and Resilient Communities Working Group of C20 for submission to G20.

AGENDA

SESSION 1: INAUGURAL SESSION – WELCOME & KEYNOTE SPEECH

10.00 am to 10.30 am – Registration and Tea

10.30 am to 10.40 am – Welcome Address and Context Setting – Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA)

10.40 am -10.50 am – Why is C20 important for  G20 ? – Prof Vinod Menon, C20 – International Coordinator, and Founder Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India

10.45 am – 11.00 am – Fossil Fuel, Climate Change and Health Impacts – Why should it concern us? – Dr Maria Neira, Health Director, World Health Organization (WHO)-  RECORDED MESSAGE

11.00 – 11.15 – Introduction – Jayanta Basu, Director, Environment Governed Integrated Organisation (EnGIO)

11.15- 11.30 – Opening Keynote – Climate Change, Health and Disasters – Mr.  Debasish Kumar, MLA and Member, Mayor in Council KMC.

11.30 -11.35 – Vote of thanks and introduction to the first session – Shweta Narayan, Global Climate and Health Campaigner, Health Care Without Harm (HCHW)

SESSION 2: PANEL DISCUSSION – Health and citizen leadership in climate action

11.30 – 12.30 – Panel Discussion –   A Just Transition For Healthy People on a Resilient Planet: Insights for the G20 – Moderated by Shweta Narayan, HCWH

Speakers

Dr Tapan Mukherjee, Advisor Health, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Chair of the session)

Dr Subrata Roy Chowdhury, CMOH Kolkata Municipal Corporation

Dr Raja Dhar, Doctors For Clean Air (virtual)

Dr Arup Halder, Pulmonologist, Kolkata

Dr Rajeev Khurana, Founder Trustee, Lung Care Foundation

Bhavreen Kandhari, Founder, Warrior Moms India

12.30 – 1.30  – LUNCH

SESSION 3 – PANEL DISCUSSION – DISASTER RISK RESILIENCE IN TIMES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

1.30 – 1.45 – Welcome and Context Setting – Dr. Vinod Sharma– Vice Chairman, Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (virtual)

1.45 – 2.00 – Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and G20 – Vikrant Mahajan, CEO, SPHERE India

2.00 -3.00 – Panel Discussion – ‘Early Warning-Early Action’ and ‘Disaster Risk Reduction and its Impact on Community Resilience: Insights for the G20’ – Moderated by Sanjay Vashist

Speakers

D Nariyal, IAS, Principal Secretary Disaster Relief (Chair of the session)

Role of Early Warning Systems – Prof Vinod Menon, C20 – International Coordinator, and Founder Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India (TBD)

DRR and Community Resilience – Sarbjit Singh Sahota, Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist, UNICEF India (virtual)

Application of ecosystems-based approaches to DRR – Vikrant Mahajan, SPHERE India

Importance of vulnerability audit – Dr Bhargab Maitra, IIT Kharagpur

Building Disaster Resilient Health Systems – Chhattisgarh case study – Punita Kumar, State Health Resource Centre, Chhattisgarh

Urban Climate and Community Resilience – Manu Gupta, Director, SEEDS India (virtual)

3.00 – 3.15 Keynote Address – ‘Learning from Disasters and Investing in resilience’ Shri. Javed Ahamed Khan, Minister of Disaster Management, Government of West Bengal

3.15 – 3.30 – Valedictory session – Dr. Santanu Sen, MP, Rajya Sabha, Former President of Indian Medical Association

3.30- 3.40 – Vote of Thanks – Nakul Sharma, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA)

3.40 -4.00 – Tea & Networking.

CONCEPT NOTE

Climate change is the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) for electricity, heat and transport is the major driver of climate change-induced disasters like droughts, floods, cyclones, heat waves, cold waves, sea level rise and extreme weather events that are threatening lives, livelihoods, infrastructure and sustainable development goals.

A UN report Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability that sounded a “dire warning about the consequences of inaction” over climate change has highlighted several concerns for cities like Kolkata. It says that beyond 2040, climate change would lead to numerous risks and the occurrence of multiple climate hazards, often in tandem, in coastal cities like Kolkata.

Evidence from Kolkata demonstrates the limitations of resilience plans to address underlying conditions of vulnerability. Among eight megacities most vulnerable to disaster-related mortality, seven are in Asia: Tokyo, Osaka, Karachi, Kolkata, Manila, Tianjin and Jakarta. 411 million people living in 330 cities above 300,000 population are exposed to drought risk. Three of them are Delhi, Karachi, and Kolkata.

Among the 20 largest coastal cities with the highest flood losses by 2050, 13 will be in Asia. Nine of them (Guangzhou, Kolkata, Tianjin, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Zhanjiang, Bangkok, Xiamen and Nagoya) also have an additional risk of subsidence because of sea-level rise and flooding. Kolkata lost a substantial portion of its green cover because of Cyclone Amphan. The estimated damage was Rs 1,350 crore. (The latest Forest Survey Report of India pointed out that Kolkata had the least forest cover among seven major Indian cities.) The number of people exposed to storm surge events is highest in Asia. It is projected that by 2050, without adaptation, the annual losses incurred in Guangzhou, Mumbai, Shenzen, Tianjin, Ho Chi Minh City, Kolkata, and Jakarta will increase to around $32 billion.

According to a World Bank estimate, “Climate change could drag more than 100 million people back into extreme poverty by 2030”, and much of this reversal would be due to the “negative impacts on health”. The climate risk index shows that seven out of the ten countries most impacted by extreme weather events are Low- and Middle-Income countries. Climate change can also pose significant risks to national security, particularly in regions with existing political instability.

The G20 Troika, consisting of three developing and emerging economies – Indonesia, India, and Brazil – came together around the need to catalyse efforts to achieve targets set by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The G20 DRR WG intends to include considerations for the Sendai Framework’s mid-term review, renew multilateral cooperation at all levels, and inform future global policies and initiatives related to Disaster Risk Reduction.

A Just Transition from fossil fuels is necessary to address both the climate crisis and the health crisis associated with fossil fuels. A Just Transition is a process that aims to bring about a socially and environmentally responsible change, such as transitioning to a low-carbon economy. It typically involves supporting workers and communities that may be adversely affected by the transition and ensuring that they have the necessary resources and support to adapt to the changes. The goal of a Just Transition is to make the transition to a more sustainable future fair and equitable for all involved.

The debilitating post-pandemic economic crisis has reiterated the interlinkage between economics, public health, and the environment. The convergence speaks to the need for an urgent, deeper conversation that weaves health into the Just Transition fabric in a way that centres on protecting and improving people’s health in a post-fossil fuel society.