Preeti Soni, Advisor (Climate Change), UNDP India, talks to OneWorld South Asia, on the sidelines of an international conference held in New Delhi earlier this month.
OneWorld South Asia: How do the challenges brought by climate change present an opportunity for better management of natural resources in India?
Preeti Soni: Climate change is of course a challenge which we need to address, but it also an opportunity for better planning and more efficient use of natural resources in a more holistic manner and move towards a carbon resilient and low emission economy.
Take the example of water. Water insecurity is likely to increase due to climate change in the coming years. But it also offers us an opportunity to conserve water if we start preparing for it from now on, through a better water management system, so that such a crisis does not appear in future.
OWSA: Why is it important to address the challenges from climate change at the sub-national level and what is the significance of decentralized adaptive planning?
Soni: Most of our actions, especially related to adaptation to climate change would happen at the local level. So, you can have a broad framework at the national level which addresses climate change but how they are translated at the state level by the district officials or by the affected communities will make the actual impact on the ground level.
The idea is to build capacity at the Panchayat level and the community level so that the people at the grassroots level are ready to face the climate change challenges.
OWSA: How important is evaluation mechanism while implementing programmes to combat climate change?
Soni: Evaluation mechanism is important for all kinds of programmes that we implement, but it becomes more significant when we talk about climate change because things are happening fast and there is a level of uncertainty and to look and address the uncertainties which are already available. Such a mechanism will help in the long run to ascertain if the actions are really helpful.
OWSA: What is the significance of assessment of socio-economic indicators to identify the vulnerabilities vis-à-vis the climate change?
Soni: Socio-economic indicators are of utmost importance because the whole argument of socio-economic inclusion is based on this premise. It helps us gauge the current vulnerabilities and how we can superimpose climate change-related vulnerabilities and their impact on the marginalized sections of the society.
Interview by: Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five 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 the 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>>