By Santosh Patnaik
Based on geographic location, socio-economic composition and resource endowments, climate change has profound impact on rural areas of developing countries in South Asia. In order to pursue stated temperature goal, cope with climate change as well as stay true to the development imperatives, countries in South Asia must choose low carbon pathways. At the same time, low cost, location and climate specific, inclusive and stakeholder driven response to climate and development issues is paramount for the region.
In this context, Eco Village Development (EVD) strategies and solutions plays a balancing act between development and emission agenda. EVD is a basket of simple, inexpensive renewable energy technologies in sustainable energy, agriculture, water management and gardening customised to local weather conditions, social and cultural needs. The solutions use local resources and packages technological hardware with software such as training. The sustainable solutions has been successful in reducing drudgery of rural women, equipping women with new social and economic skills, providing cash incomes to families and delivering food security.
However, these sustainable solutions have changed lives of handful of families when millions in South Asia are deprived of basic necessities of life and livelihood. Thus, it is imperative that sustainable solutions realise its scalability potential making the life easier for millions of poor in South Asia. To attain the desired scale like-minded civil society organisations need to come forward and customise need based solutions to suit communities of diverse socio, economic and environmental background.
The government may chip in by making forward looking policies, converging finance of development schemes and creating market for products and services. Government must take regulatory role once the market forces take charge in replicating themselves. Community partnership will be crucial as it unlocks the hidden and underutilized potential to take charge of hardware installation, repairing, maintenance and software such as capacity building, innovating and developing entrepreneurial skill. Involvement of local media such as community radio, FM channels and coverage in vernacular newspaper need to be ensured in order to disseminate experiences and success stories to a wider audience for adoption and adaptation.
Scaling up of EVD strategies and solutions will be key for delivering adaptation and resilience in the context of climate change. At the national level, EVD principles and strategies be included in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). At regional level by enhancing South – South collaboration, sharing locally developed solutions and co-financing them, government could create a positive ecosystem for EVD to grow and thrive. The EVD concept and strategies need to be supported at regional level through a forum of civil society organisations, policy makers, media, academia and researchers. Positive momentum created through favourable policy processes, building partnership and creating opportunities could take EVD solutions forward.
About the Author
He is the Programme Coordinator of CAN South Asia. He is an experienced researcher in energy and climate change issues.