Concerns: The concerns raised in the state consultation were related to:
Drafting of first phase of SAPCC:
- The recommendations provided in the state action plan on climate change (SAPCC) are not based on state priorities and science.
- Incumbent state action plan is prepared without wider consultation and involvement of civil society, academia and other relevant stakeholders.
- The action plan has been prepared without commissioning any science-based research on climate change impacts in the region.
Low Carbon development:
- Though there is substantial potential (e.g Solar energy potential of 14,000 MW) of renewable energy in the state, only a fraction of it (renewable energy installed capacity is 116 MW only) is utilised in the state. Energy efficiency potential of sectors such as households and industry is not harnessed.
- Low carbon potential in sectors such as agriculture and water has not been explored adequately.
- Funding has been scarce when the financial requirement to implement climate action plan is quite large.
- The state departments which spearhead climate sensitive sectors have not spent funds allocated to them in the budget.
- The state institutions operate in silos and have very narrow focus. For instance, Odisha State Disaster Management Agency (OSDMA) does not recognize slow onset disaster events such as sea level rise and desertification as disasters under their mandate.
Recommendations: The recommendations made in the state consultation were:
State Action plan:
- New climate action plan which replaces the incumbent next year needs to be informed by scientific research and climate projection studies.
- Specialised research institutions in the state which could provide inputs to the state action plan are needed. It is important that state educational institutions are nurtured with an aim to make them knowledge partners to deal with climate change issues.
- Independent assessments of the state action plan need to be conducted to make it more effective and grounded into the climate realities.
- The SAPCC needs to focus on building capacity of existing institutions through knowledge transfer and skill enhancement in order to make them capable of dealing with Climate change issues locally.
- There should be clear cut targets assigned to state departments so that priorities earmarked in the state action plan can be achieved and state departments are held accountable.
- Mainstreaming of climate actions by the climate sensitive departments needs to be done through climate action plan so that climate considerations are taken up in the planning and implementation of each sector.
- Climate plans and climate actions are needed to be guided by agro-climatic zones.
- Climate change cell has been formed within the state forest & environment department which narrows its focus and reach to other sectors and departments. Therefore it should come under the purview of the Chief Ministers Office or Chief Secretary’s so that it gets the top priority.
- The mandate of state agencies needs to be broadened so that impacts of climate change are dealt in a comprehensive manner.
- Civil society participation needs to be ensured in the process of preparing the new state action plan. The role of industries, media and other stakeholders needs to be recognised in combating impacts of climate change. Panchayati Raj Institutions are also needed to be considered as a source of local planning and execution of climate resilience activities.
Low Carbon development:
- The state is suitably poised to take a low carbon growth path since most of the developmental progress is yet to take place. For this convergence between state departments is needed to make a suitable plan
- There is substantive opportunity to provide energy to industries through renewable sources and to undertake energy efficiency measures. The housing sector of the state is likely to get benefited by roof top solar, net metering and energy efficiency building code to all kinds of buildings.
- Climate-resilient agriculture is essential for the state of Odisha as most of citizens are dependent on agriculture. The agriculture sector must transition from high-input, low-productivity to low-input, high-productivity system.
- Forest is a dominant ecosystem which occupies 34.9% area of the state. Therefore, it is essential that biodiversity conservation is taken up as an approach to deal with impacts of climate change in the state.
- All Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly need to develop a low-carbon and climate-resilient constituency development plan supported by experts.
- Convergence of climate finance through coordination amongst various schemes across departments is needed to make development climate-proof. Budget allocation for climate action and monitoring needs to be done in all government departments.
- Various sources of finance need to be mobilised, for example, part of the coal mining levy needs to be allocated for state climate actions
- Slow onset disasters such as forest and land degradation, sea level rise and desertification are very much prevalent in the state. Therefore, it is essential that the state efforts need to go beyond extreme disaster relief response. A holistic framework is needed to address such issues and state machinery needs to be geared up towards it.
- Disaster assessment at district and block level needs to be conducted by Odisha State Disaster Management Agency (OSDMA). Comprehensive disaster planning is necessary for the state.
- Scientific mapping of mangroves and plantation of mangroves in coastal areas needs to be encouraged which act as a barrier against natural disasters. Ecosystem services of mangroves needs to be recognised.
- Rainwater harvesting and energy management needs to be encouraged in the state to build resilience for future and assure water security and energy security.
- Better river basin management needs to be promoted in the state to avert flood situation and to improve irrigation and water supply situation in the state.
- Native varieties of crops have better adaptive capacity to the changing climate and therefore should be given due importance in the agricultural policy and practice.
- Low carbon agricultural technology needs to be promoted to improve productivity and income from agriculture in the state.
- Improvement of irrigation, availability of quality seeds, post harvest technology and better market linkage needs to be ensured in order to improve farm resilience to climate change.
- Improving the farm productivity and improving livelihood security of farmers by leveraging activities under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act needs to be undertaken.
Commitments for future action:
- Hon MLA Priyadarshi Mishra expressed keen interest to utilise MLA-LAD fund for climate-resilience building measures in his constituency.
- Prof A K Das, Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University shared the plan to set up a Climate Change Resource Centre to support government plans and actions with research and studies.
- Shri Bijayshree Routray, Honorable minister of Revenue & Disaster Management reiterated his commitment towards disaster preparedness and risk reduction in the state. He acknowledged there is more need to done to deal with slow on-setting events such as sea level rise.
- Shri Jogendra Behera, Honorable Cabinet Minister Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises expressed his willingness to realign the priorities of the ministry as per the emerging realities of climate change to safeguard the rural entrepreneurs.
The state consultation underscored the need of low carbon growth and building of climate resilience in the state. Considering the climate vulnerability of the state, climate action plan needs to be a scientific exercise ensuring the participation of all relevant stakeholders. State departments and the government need to provide the leadership so that the planned action could be implemented.
Press Release of the consultation:
Please download from here.