19 October 2018, Manama, Bahrain – The Government of India took an important step toward its goals for low-carbon, climate-resilient development today with the approval of a US$43 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, supporting climate resilience of millions of people living in the coastal states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha.
The new project will be supported through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and is an essential step for India in reaching its goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These global compacts call on every nation to end poverty and hunger by 2030, and to take strong action to ensure no one is left behind in protecting vulnerable people from the extreme impacts of climate change.
Over 1.7 million people are expected to directly benefit from livelihoods support, with another 10 million indirectly benefitting from improved shoreline protection. In reaching the Sustainable Development Goals for gender equality and reduced inequalities, the project is focused on providing tangible benefits for women, female-headed households, young people and the elderly, and members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
Over 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 will be sequestered through restored ecosystems over the next 30 years.
“India’s coastal areas are quite vulnerable to climate change and this project focuses on selected vulnerable areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha states. The new project, with GCF assistance, will not only help enhance resilience and adaptability, but also lead to emissions reduction while providing support to local communities for their livelihoods. It aligns well with the priorities of the National Action Plan on climate change, the State Action Plans, as well as the nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement,” said Ravi S. Prasad, Joint Secretary, Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Government of India.
The Government of India will finance an additional US$86.8 million toward the new project to mainstream and accelerate the impacts of the Green Climate Fund grant.
To be led by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, with support from UNDP, the six-year project will work with communities in restoring ecosystems and promoting climate-resilient livelihood options, such as the sustainable farming of mud crabs.
To protect life on land and below water as outlined in the 2030 Agenda, project activities will focus on the restoration and conservation of over 15,000 hectares of mangroves, coral reefs, seagrasses and saltmarshes. Communities, including local youth, will be trained to work with scientists in monitoring ecosystem health and coastal ecology.
“In addition to helping communities establish more climate-resilient livelihoods, this multi-dimensional project will contribute to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – over 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 will be absorbed through restored ecosystems. It will also have considerable long-term environmental benefits including healthier ecosystems, better biodiversity conservation and improved buffering against climate change-driven extreme weather,” said Francine Pickup, Country Director at UNDP India.
To strengthen climate risk-informed coastal management and infrastructure planning, the innovative project will create an online decision-support tool available via mobile phone for use by government officers, academic institutions, community members and scientists. The project will also build local knowledge of climate change and the associated risks via training and public education programmes.
A range of partners from the public sector, private sector and civil society were consulted in the creation of the project proposal and will be involved throughout its implementation. The project is set to begin in early 2019 and run to the end of 2024.
Notes to editors
India’s coastline is expected to be among the regions most affected by climate change globally. The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are both predicted to be subject to extreme climate variability, with the frequency and intensity of cyclones and extreme weather events projected to increase, particularly on the eastern coastline.
Climate change projections predict a 2ºC rise in average annual temperatures across South Asia by the mid-21st century, exceeding 3ºC by the late 21st century. According to a report from the World Bank, an increase in global mean surface temperatures of 2ºC will make India’s monsoon highly unpredictable, while a 4ºC increase would result in an extremely wet monsoon (which currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years) occurring every 10 years by the end of the century.
India has about 6,740 km2 of mangroves, including some of the largest mangrove forests in the world. Mangrove cover along India’s coastline has decreased by 50% in some areas, largely because of human pressures, including alteration of flow of freshwater from upstream. Sea-level rise is predicted to result in further reductions.