Interventions: Climate Change and Sustainable Development:
Capacity Building...

Uttarakhand Climate Camp

1-2 August 2011
A 2 day workshop on Climate Change was organized in SIDH Campus, Mussorie district, Uttarakhand; by the Beyond Copenhagen Collective (BCPH). The intent of this workshop was to 2 fold- engagement and interaction of the participants on the critical aspects of climate change and to encourage the partakers in taking propriety and ownership in the process of creating awareness on key climate change issues within their respective localized environment/context. Discussion were centered on the following points - India’s position and current state of play of international climate negotiations, agriculture and food security and preparedness viz a viz impacts of climate change. Developments in other pertinent sectors – such as energy, water, livelihood and the women’s stake in climate justice were also key points of discussion during the camp.
 

BCPH – as a collective, has been engaging and intervening through advocacy and policy decisions and active awareness generation on climate change and climate justice issues with varied stakeholders, since its inception in 2009. Continuing with its mandate, this year the Collective deliberated and decided that it would intervene with a more focused agenda to engage on issues of food security, improved resilience of small farmers and agriculture against climate change impacts and generating appropriate policy support for agricultural adaptation at national and international negotiations on climate change. Apart from the ongoing interaction with Policy makers and the polity- this year greater focus will be given on engaging and encouraging dialogue with women farmers and farmers groups, and also to the process of review of National Missions proposed in the NAPCC and in the formulation of State Action Plan(s) on Climate Change –the process for which is currently underway in close to 10 states across the country,  albeit without wider consultations.
 
The participants hailed from grass roots movement and organizations, working on a host of issues concerning human rights and environment sustainability, in various regions of the India. Participation was representative of close to 10 states namely – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
 
Structure and Flow of Climate Camp:
The following were the proceedings for the two-day camp:
 
 Introductory Session : Beyond Copenhagen Collective and its work
In this brief introductory session, the participants were informed of the genesis and initiatives of the Collective- which was formed in the run-up to COP 15 held at Copenhagen in 2009, with more than 40 organizations coming together and forming the collective now called BCPH. Mandate of the Collective is to undertake meaningful advocacy work on climate change and climate justice issues – with a special focus on the affect of climate change on Agriculture, Food Security and Small Farmers in India- and engage at various levels and with varied stakeholders.
 
victims from various regions of the country, and testimonies were presented before a panel of eminent Jurists; meetings and consultation which were organised with key media partners, Judicial and Legal experts on Environment issues, Members of Parliament and representatives of developed and developing countries through their embassies and missions and other civil society partners from within the country and those from the Indian Subcontinent (SAARC countries) – to encourage and propel greater interest and space by the media on the pertinent development issue of Climate Change, to take forward representation and advocacy work on policy and legislative actions being taken by the Govt. and to monitor India’s position viz a viz international climate negotiations.
 
 Concepts and Insights into critical areas of Climate Change
This next session involved discussion on the critical areas of human existence being gravely affected by Climate Change as the challenging hindrance to development. The topic was introduced – laying forth the current state of play in international negotiations taking place through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the role and stake of Developed and Developing countries and LDCs in the process of negotiations; Kyoto Protocol and its relevance, and India’s position in the international negotiations process. Post Cancun (COP 16) developments and global outlook towards COP 17 were also discussed. From the international context down to the linkage between India’s vulnerability to Climate Change and its bearing on aspects of people’s everyday lives (especially the resource poor and those living in abject poverty), affect on their health, way of life, economic development etc.-was also a major focus of this session. Partners from Bihar remarked that the climate negotiations need to move beyond the mere focus on some magical numbers for reducing emission levels, those violating their commitments should adequately compensate for their role in aggravating the situation of climate crisis. Moreover, India should assert its stake more proactively and not get restricted by Climate Diplomacy. Partners from Rajasthan and Odisha were also in agreement and added that civil society in India should urgently work towards bringing focus and strength to the voices of the climate victims, those worst affected by climate change- so that they may be integrated with the official position of India.
 
 India ‘s Response to Climate Change- National and State Action Plan on Climate Change
This next session entailed a detailed presentation on the policies and actions initiated by India with regard to preparedness towards mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. Although, internationally, India is seen as a leader of sorts for having taken some benchmark policy initiatives such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change, which was released in the year 2008. However, the real efficacy of missions set up thereafter, is yet to reveal. Especially where agriculture is concerned the Govt. does recognize that farmers in the country have been gravely affected by the intra-seasonal variability of rainfall, extreme events and unseasonal rains and that there is an urgent necessity to speed up the efforts to evolve and implement strategies towards achieving food security, yet the focus of its policies shows greater commitment and allocation of resources to establishing more nuclear plants for energy security than increasing budgetary allocation for extension and other essential services for the farmers. Clearly Govt.’s priorities don’t seem to be in order.
 
Even the process for the formulation of the State Action on Climate Change (SAPCC), which was set in motion soon after the release of the NAPCC in the states across the country; is concerned, the picture looks grim. Partners from Uttarakhand were quick to point out that like the NAPCC, the UKSAPCC – was also prepared minus any consultative engagement with the general public. They also spoke of the dualism in the strategy of the state Govt. where on one hand it is seeking “Green Bonus” from the Union Govt. for maintaining its green cover; yet on the other hand it has been encouraging development of projects on energy production and industries which are otherwise environmentally unsustainable and would result in great deal of displacement and damage to the local population.
 
Discussion on advocacy and policy engagement with the respective state govt.s where SAPCCs are currently being formulated- proved to be the highlight of this session. Taking the discussion forward, the participants keenly discussed possibilities of engaging in the process of SAPCC and giving representations to the Govt.
 
 Concluding Session : Forward Plan
Encouraging responses have been received from the participants, along with the inclination to take the process forward. They are as under:
  1. Partners from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will be engaging with media (print) on coverage to the issue of climate change in the respective states.
  2. Partners from Uttarakhand are keen on taking forth advocacy actions and engaging with the Govt. on UK-SAPCC. A follow up meeting has been proposed in the State.
  3. Partners from Bihar have pledged their support to the process of the Collective and a State level meeting will be held in August, with stakeholders – on identifying key priority areas for Bihar State Action Plan on Climate Change.
  4. Suggestions were also received regarding photo- exhibitions, greater engagement with schools and colleges in both rural and urban settings- on climate change awareness and education.
  5. Partners have also pledged support to advocacy initiatives of the Collective (BCPH) in reviewing Mission documents and the performance of the National Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.