The Strategic Pilot on Adaptation to Climate Change or SPACC organizes the farmers residing within a Hydrological Unit (natural drainage basin) as a group and provides the necessary scientific information and builds the adaptive capacity of the farmer to face the consequences of the drought, collectively. Being part of the Hydrological Unit makes the inhabitants dependent on each other, sharing the common resources.The ultimate goal of SPACC is to evolve “Community Climate Adaptation Plan (CCAP)”, at the HU level. Building the adaptive capacity of the communities in a HU is the over-arching strategy adopted to evolve the CCAP.
Dr.Satya Priya, National Programme Coordinator
Drought, Community, Climate, Adaptation, Resilience, Response, Variability
Droughts occur, at regular intervals, in seven districts of Andhra Pradesh (India), often resulting in crop losses are reduction of yields. Governments bring in “contingency plans” more as an after-thought to reduce the impact of drought. Contingency plans are often generalist and planned at the state level. Farmers, over the decades, have developed their own strategies of adaptation to climate variability, based on the local conditions, which are more robust and futuristic. However, the resilience of the farmer differs from individual to individual, mostly determined by his/her family background, social status and economic class.
The Strategic Pilot on Adaptation to Climate Change or SPACC organizes the farmers residing within a Hydrological Unit (natural drainage basin) as a group and provides the necessary scientific information and builds the adaptive capacity of the farmer to face the consequences of the drought, collectively. Being part of the Hydrological Unit makes the inhabitants dependent on each other, sharing the common resources. Action of an individual in a HU, for example, water harvesting in the upper reaches, has repercussions for the other individual, living in the low lands.
The ultimate goal of SPACC is to evolve “Community Climate Adaptation Plan (CCAP)”, at the HU level. Building the adaptive capacity of the communities in a HU is the over-arching strategy adopted to evolve the CCAP. Three key strategies are currently tried out, as part of the pilot, to reach this goal (through activities, outputs and outcomes viz., i) Climate Variability and its Impact Monitoring; ii) Climate Field Schools; and iii) Pilots on Sustainable Land and Water Management methods/technologies. One-time input of SPACC is the HU level information sharing on: current climate variability; observed climate variability impacts; a check-list of suitable adaptation measures currently practiced; a basket of available options mainly from literature review; and results of the pilots in the form of manuals, Non Formal Education (NFE) tools, pamphlets, display boards, and CFS curriculum.
CCAP is implemented in 9 pilot Hydrological Units, falling in seven drought prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, India. 143 rural habitations, in Semi-arid region, are covered by the intervention. The results of the pilot are expected to be ready for dissemination towards the end of the year 2013.
Who is currently developing this solution?
CCAPs at the HU level are being developed by the 9 Community Based Organizations (CBOs), referred to as Hydrological Unit Networks (HUNs). Climate Change Adaptation Committees (CCACs) organized at the habitation level are members and change agents in the initiative. Nine Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) facilitate the implementation of project activities at the field level i.e., HU. The Executing Agency – Bharathi Integrated Rural Development Society (BIRDS), through its Project Management Unit (PMU) provides the technical and managerial support this network of NGOs. Technical back-stopping and co-financing is provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), while the financing comes from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Government of India, through the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), oversees the project implementation, being the GEF Focal Point in India. The State Government of Andhra Pradesh participates in the intervention, by Chairing the Project Steering Committee.
Who should initiate the project? Which actors will be strategic in the implementation?
Similar projects could be initiated by NGOs, with strong roots at the district level. CBOs and local Government functionaries should be involved in planning and implementation to ensure post-project sustainability. The Governments at the State and National level should be taken into confidence to ensure up-scaling of the learning. Peer groups at the village level provide good vehicles of information dissemination and building trust with the communities. The UN agencies and GEF may come forward to support such grass-root level and pragmatic initiatives.
Who should ensure follow-up of the solution at the local level?
Data for climate and its impact monitoring should be generated by skilled members of the community, under the leadership of the CCAC. The HU level CCAC should take over all the tasks of the NGO, after withdrawal of support. At district and state level government machinery may provide the necessary technical and financial support, after the successful completion of the intervention. Policy level support is needed from the national level policy making bodies and relevant ministries.
The project entered second year of implementation. The results produced so far include: i) Completed Baseline Study Document; ii) Formation of CCACs; iii) Mass Awareness Generation; iv) Staff Training and Exposure; and v) Strategy Papers for Implementation of activities
The next steps of project implementation (in 2012 and 2012) would produce: i) Community operated Climate Monitoring Stations; ii) Climate Impact Monitoring database; iii) Curriculum for Climate Field Schools (CFS); iv) Document capturing learning of CFS; v) Implementation Guidelines for Pilots on SLWM; vi) 3 Manuals on learning of the Pilots on SLWM; and a Dissemination platform (website operated by BIRDS/FAO).
Key question your solution aims to answer (i.e. if your Solution is the answer, then what is the question) and how does that fit with the target?
The emerging innovative solution – Community Climate Adaptation Plan, will answer the question: “How to prepare the communities for facing the consequences of drought?”
How does the solution contribute to the target’s effective implementation and attainment?
Unlike floods which are visible, droughts are invisible and strike its victims silently. Drought has the same if not more devastating effect, giving miseries to millions of people across the globe. Both forms of the natural disasters are predictable through a systematic time-series analysis. However, the fruits of research at the global and national level, seldom reach the rural communities, catching them unaware and making them mute spectators, seeking shelter through migration.
Community Climate Adaptation Plan could become an effective tool in the hands of a villager, residing in a HU, and prepare him/her for facing the consequences of drought in a better way. Preparedness at village level could be location-specific and realistic, and would result in better preparations at the higher level. HU, being the nature’s administrative unit, compilation of HU level CCAPs would end up as pragmatic district/state/national CCAPs. Thus, the emerging solution could address the target “1.4.4 Disaster preparedness plan at all levels”, under the Priority “1.4 Prevent and Respond to water-related risks and crises”.
What will be the solution’s key outputs and how is the solution “innovative” as such?
If available, please provide a brief description of the preliminary results yielded by the solution or by any pilot/R&D activities undertaken so far.
Outputs of the emerging Solution are:
Indeed, through outputs of the solution are targeted to fill-in the existing gaps in driving the role of community leadership in the context of climate change adaptation about enabling transformation and generating willingness to take action and fostering the local capacity to make informed decisions amidst uncertainty. This is aimed to cover habitations at local level using participatory approach by building resilience – a local capacity grouped into Knowledge, Systems, Structures, and Policies gaps as below :
- Adaptation knowledge: Information that brings together adaptation researchers, civil societies practitioners, policy makers, to bridge existing network and joint learning gaps, sharing of experiences for its effective implementation in the purview of local and scientific knowledge on impacts of the climate variability and change.
- Adaptation systems: Designed systems that develop and put climate change adaptation knowledge into widespread use efficiently and systematically; Local Monitoring System of climate variability and its impacts operating; CBOs with capacities to integrate climate variability adaptation measures in Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM)
- Adaptation structures: An entity that serves as a repository for climate change adaptation knowledge, and as a point of coordination and interaction for knowledge sharing and directed capacity development – Farmers acquire skills in managing climate variability and testing adaptation technologies in farming systems through participation in Climate Field Schools (CFS) to carry out the pilot testing of alternative adaptation technologies and practices in SLWM
- Adaptation policies: Policies that would support the development, sharing, use, and governance over climate change adaptation knowledge – including the further development of new policies based on tested package of methods, tools and institutional approaches in support of district and state level natural resource management initiative to address the impacts of droughts; embrace lessons into polices for land based climate change adaptation measures suitable to drought prone areas
Number of Hydrological Units where CBOs incorporate monitoring of climate variability and adaptation measures in SLWM practices
- Average Crop Yields
- Soil Moisture Availability
- Soil Organic Carbon content
- Sample size (distributed by gender, vulnerable groups/sectors) of the farmer survey
- Number of sample locations in the farmer survey
- Number of variables included in the farmer survey
- Number of CBOs in HUs conducting systematically monitoring
- Number of climate variable indicators monitored
- Number of climate variables and its impact indicators incorporated in the CBO database
- Number of CBOs that have established Climate Change Adaptation Committees
- Number of CBO leaders and representatives trained in climate variability monitoring
- Number of CBO leaders and representatives trained in integration of adaptation measures in SLWM
- Number of CBOs participating in identification of adaptation measures with agriculture scientists
- Number of CBOs with local Climate Change Adaptation Plan (CCAP)
- Number of functional CFS
- Number of farmers attending CFS
- Number of farmers disseminating best experimental practices of adaptation measures
- Number of pilots testing technologies and measures included in local CCAP
- Number of CBOs and farmers participating in pilot testing
- Number of best adaptation practices and technology manuals
- Number of website visitors
- Number of participants in dissemination workshops
Curriculum developed for CFS with focus on adaptation in drought-prone areas, including methods on identification and field testing of adaptation measures
- Project lessons, results and products available on platform website
Given your experience, who would / should be most interested in this Solution and Why? How will it help them?
Farmers living in the drought-prone areas should be the most interested, as project products would equip them with necessary tools and skills to have a concrete CCAP. NGOs working in the drought hit regions would be interested as their clientele will get direct benefit from advances in science and technology. Government Agencies and/or Departments responsible for implementing drought adaptation; Statistical department; Rural Development; Planning Commission; Ministries; would like to up-scale the successful institutional, scientific and technical models. Research Institutes working on drought proofing; meteorology; agriculture; water; watershed development; livelihoods; population studies would like to review the results of CCAPs in their research work. International Agencies, working for efficient water use, food and nutrition security; drought and water stress: would like to up-scale the model at global level and use the model as policy and advocacy tool.
In what context do you think this solution could / would work best and why?
This solution would work best in drought affected regions, across the globe. As the project aims to produce technologies/methods and institutional frameworks for adaptation to drought, focusing on sustainable land and water management, the outputs of the project would be of great utility to agencies working for building up community resilience, in agriculture based economies. Given uncertainties in projected climate changes, the project would provide the right context to prepare the communities to adapt to impacts on short-term changes (variability), already observed by the local communities.
Given your experience, what would be needed to upscale this solution, for example to a political or/and a regional level?
- APFAMGS approach is already popular and discussed in several forums and papers. Through this SPACC study the APFAMGS model is currently being up-scaled for climate change adaptation to prepare against the climatic risks.
- FAO Head Quarters, with its global reach, can short-list the potential areas/countries for up-scaling SPACC, elsewhere in India and the World.
- Once the project is successfully completed, FAO will investigate the feasibility for potential for SPACC up-scaling.
- The APFAMGS Network, now with its full capacity based at Hyderabad, will be available for extending support for similar kind of initiative anywhere. CBOs will also participate actively in this up-scaling, where farmer-farmer interaction is deemed effective.
What tips and guidance (dos and don’ts) would you give to others interested in applying this solution in their own context?
Since this work is an extension of APFAMGS approach, most of the dos and don’ts remains the same and will have similar normative except the knowledge component will work to identify and establish linkages between climate variability and change to evolve not only local but also an affordable effective adaptation options and measures to extend these pilots across the drought regions of the state and beyond.
- Foundation stone of the APFAMGS approach is the Hydrological or Aquifer System Unit. All the planning should be done at this level. The implementation can be broken down at the habitation level.
- There should be room for regular interaction between the stakeholders within a HU or Aquifer System Unit.
- Socio-cultural practices should determine the strategies of the intervention.
- Involvement of NGOs, who have strong roots in the area of operation, is mandatory.
- NGOs should be willing to hire technical staff and should be comfortable with implementing technology-based initiatives.
- Create enabling environment for multi-disciplinary nature of work, through staff orientation and training.
- Bring strong linkages with local government machinery, from the beginning, in view of the sustainability of the intervention.
- Establishment of Climate Monitoring Network should be completed, one month before the start of the hydrological year, so that the data collection starts on correct time.
- Skill development training should be done after the establishment of monitoring stations, so that the facility can be used in training.
- Train more number of people to avoid data gaps. Essentially train woman in data collection.
- Use local folk-art as medium of awareness generation and demystifying climate variability and change science.
- Encourage farmers to develop their own NFE tools for effective interaction between the GMC and CFS users.
What is the minimum investment necessary (in terms of human resources, time, energy, infrastructure, financial resources, political will, etc.) in order to effectively implement this solution?
This intervention is heavy on the human resources side, and needs professionals from different academic background on board. The team should be lead by a professional versed with the climate change paradigm and its strengths and weaknesses. Professionals from the sectors (mostly for short-term inputs but full-time in key sectors) have to be taken on board including water, agriculture, climatology, soil science, irrigation, pest management, institutional development (not an exhaustive list).
A physical implementation of the solution might take 3-5 years. But, actual results are expected in the long-term, when climate variability/change becomes more obvious. Infrastructure development would be mainly in the form of climate monitoring stations. Finances are mainly needed to cover the salary/honoraria of the professional and extension workers, infrastructure and training (including CFS). As the solution uses a bottom-up approach, enlisting of political will is easier after CBOs become visible and functional.
What projects/programmes inspired this solution?
The solution is inspired by the success of the Dutch funded FAO Nationally Executive Project – “Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS)” and its pre-cursor – “Andhra Pradesh Community Borewell Irrigation Schemes (APWELL). The Hydrological Unit as basis of intervention was picked up from the APWELL pilot – Participatory Hydrological Monitoring (PHM), while the institutional framework, CFS and Agriculture intervention strategies are influenced by APFAMGS.
- Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India (GoI)
- Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India
- Department of Rural Development, State Government of Andhra Pradesh, India
- District Water Management Agencies (DWMA)
- District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA)
- Local Governance Institutions
- Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
- Community Based Organizations (CBOs)
Dr. Satya Priya
National Programme Coordinator – Land and Water
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations