4th November 2009
A public hearing on the ‘impact of climate change in rain-fed areas’ was organized on 4th November, 2009 by Oxfam and its allies at B.S. Mehta Bhavan, HCM- RIPA, Jaipur. The event hosted by CECOEDECON and Pairvi was attended by representatives from 11 states of the rain fed areas of the country.
The objective of the public hearing was to include the voices of the agrarian and pastoral communities into the climate change debate in the national debate. Testimonies of the farming community from the rain-fed areas which stated the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods and their coping or adaptation mechanisms were presented in the public hearing. The testimonies would enable to generate demands from the government for appropriate actions/policies to support the people in adapting to the impending consequences of climate change. The public hearing for rain-fed areas was the last session after six public hearings organized by Oxfam India all over the country. The findings would provide inputs to the national public hearing which is on 11th November 2009.
About 400 people from 11 rain fed states in the country (UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttarakhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh) converged in Jaipur to discuss the impact of climatic change in their regions and their lives in the public hearing on climate change. The participants came from different streams like farmers, pastoralists, agricultural experts, scientists, and members of civil society. A jury of eminent citizens comprising Justice V. S. Dave, Justice Panachand Jain, Shri Rajendra Bhanawat (NREGA, Commissioner, Rajasthan), Shri Manhar Adil (Representative of Chhattisgarh Government, Dr. Suman Sahai (Gene campaign) and Ms. Sunita Satyarthi (Advocate and ex-member Women commission Rajasthan), Mr. Arun kumar ‘Panibaba’, and C. K. Ganguly conducted the public hearing.
The summary of the testimonies highlighted the shrinking of rainy and winter seasons and increasing of summer. Delay in the onset of monsoon, untimely rainfall, higher temperatures, dwindling forests and growing deserts. During the public hearing, deposing before the jury farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar said for the last five years the precipitation and number of rainy days has come down significantly and disrupted the entire agricultural cycle in the region. Tribals and pastorals from Jharkhand and Gujarat said that due to the decrease of forest cover due to climate change their livelihood opportunities and income from forest produce has significantly reduced compelling them to migrate to nearby urban areas. NGOs from these states also attested to loss of number of species of plants, pests and insects.