Based on decades of research by the scientific community, there is now wide recognition that emissions of greenhouse gases are changing the climate in the Himalayan region and that the future impacts from such changes will harmful, especially to the rural population of Uttarakhand. In response, policymakers across India are beginning to consider what actions should be taken to limit climate change damage.
The Himmotthan Society with the support of Sir Ratan Tata Trust and in collaboration with Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR), Dehradun, convened a workshop to explore the current state, in analysing climate-related benefits, and its strengths and weaknesses and ways to improve it. The book release of a publication Opportunities for Carbon Trading and Co-Benefits in the Uttarakhand Himalayas was also done by Dr RBS Rawat, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand. The book was a result of a yearlong study by CEDAR, and an attempt to put forward the complexities of the carbon market in simple language. It also outlines the possible areas of rural lifestyles and ecosystems which may be potential areas for linkage to the carbon market in the state.
The workshop was designed around a few, relevant presentations on core topics followed by discussions. While the presentations focused on highlighting issues, rich participant discussion added texture and richness to bring out core areas of future collaboration. More than 50 experts from different backgrounds attended the workshop, including strong participation from local NGOs, the State Forest Department, research institutions, regional universities and consulting firms. The one-day workshop was divided into three thematic areas viz
- Climate change and the Uttarakhand Himalayas — current state of knowledge and future research
- Carbon trading — international policies, opportunities and constraints, in particular with relation to Uttarakhand
- Climate change and indigenous knowledge in Uttarakhand.
Apart from presentations made by experts on the above themes, findings of two studies on climate change carried out by CEDAR and People’s Science Institute were presented. These studies were supported by the Trust through the Himmotthan Society.
On the basis of the deliberations, representatives from different organisations (government and the non-government) agreed on collaborating on various issues pertaining to climate change for future research and development in the Uttarakhand Himalayan region. Dr Rawat in his speech extended financial and administrative support of the State Forest Department to field NGOs and research organisations through various mechanisms such as CAMPA and the National Aforestation Programme to deal with issues related to climate change, including research and adaptation mechanisms. Sri Jai Raj, (APCCF and Member Secretary, State Pollution Board) requested the gathering to collaborate with the government in the development of the State Action Plan on climate change, and presented the current status.
In the concluding session, special emphasis was laid on developing adaptation strategies for vulnerable communities residing in mountainous areas of the state through developing linkages with ongoing government and non government supported programmes. Dr VRS Rawat (Scientist F) of the ICFRE and Deepak Bawari of Emergent Ventures India, led a discussion on the possibilities of linking rural communities with voluntary carbon markets. Some of the programmes eligible for carbon and social crediting and schemes include the Integrated Fodder and Livestock Development Programme of the Trust, organic hill farming and small water mills were discussed, however the details of these need to be further researched before applying for credits under the Voluntary or REDD+ schemes. Jyotsana Sitling (CCF and project director, Aajeevika) also mentioned the possibility of the State’s IFAD (Aajeevika) programme to take up similar linkages.
Overall, the workshop put forward the complexities of the carbon markets in a simple, understandable format and concluded with the aim of developing a platform of concerned organisations and individuals to take forward the issue of rural livelihoods and carbon markets in a focused manner in the near future.
This workshop was organised by Himmotthan Society in collaboration with Centre for Ecology Development and Research on January 24, 2012, at Dehradun, Uttarakhand which was supported and funded by: Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>