Seeking to address some of the most pressing issues facing India, including air pollution, through innovation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on November 28, 2019, launched the country chapter of its Accelerator Lab at its office in New Delhi and has partnered with the Indian government’s Atal Innovation Mission, to achieve the objectives. “India is an epicentre of innovation and we are pleased to launch an Accelerator Lab here too, where innovators will seek to bring in their energy together, to come up with solutions for common problems facing the country,” UN resident coordinator in India, Renata Lok-Dessallien said at the launch.
Other issues that the laboratory will seek to address, include sustainable water management and client-resilient livelihoods, deputy country director UNDP India office, Nadia Rasheed said, adding the vision is to make faster progress in meeting the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN by 2030. “India’s Accelerator Lab will be part of a network of 60 global labs that will test and scale new solutions to global challenges like climate change and inequality. These laboratories will bring together grassroots ideas, with new sources of real-time data and experimentation, to make faster progress in meeting the ambitious SDGs,” the UN office said in a statement.
UNDP India resident representative Shoko Noda said the speed and complexity of today’s challenges are different from previous eras in history. “We need an equally sophisticated range of development solutions, to tackle these complex problems. The India Accelerator Lab is keen to work with partners, on innovative solutions to some of India’s most pressing challenges such as air pollution, sustainable water management and climate-resilient livelihoods,” she said.
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to get USD 43 million to boost climate resilience
The Green Climate Fund of the UN Development Programme will provide USD 43 million, to boost climate resilience in the coastal states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha
November 14, 2019: In a move that may positively impact over 10 million people living on the coastline, India, on November 13, 2019, kicked-off a USD 43 million project to boost climate resilience in three coastal states, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project is funded by the Green Climate Fund, established within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to assist developing countries. The six-year project will build climate-resilient livelihoods for 1.7 million people in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha, offset 3.5 million tonnes of carbon, protect vulnerable ecosystems and benefit another 10 million people with improved shoreline protection, the UNDP said in a statement.
“India’s coastal areas are quite vulnerable to climate change and in the last five years, we have seen increased floods and cyclones in these regions. This pace-setting new initiative will help enhance resilience and adaptability, lead to emissions reductions and support sustainable livelihoods,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, additional secretary in the Environment Ministry. The Indian government will finance an additional USD 86.8 million towards the new project to mainstream and accelerate the impacts of the Green Climate Fund grant.
“The initiative will also focus on providing tangible benefits for vulnerable communities, including women, female-headed households, young people and the elderly, and members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes,” the UNDP said. To protect life on land and below water, project activities will focus on restoration and conservation of over 15,000 hectares of mangroves, coral reefs, sea grasses and salt marshes. Communities, including the local youth, will be trained to work with scientists in monitoring ecosystem health and coastal ecology.
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, the UNDP said.
106 coastal and marine sites identified as conservation reserves: Government report
The centre has identified over 100 coastal and marine sites as conservation reserves, under its National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031, a biennial report released by the government said
February 14, 2019: As per the second biennial update report (BUR) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), submitted to the UN body on climate change in December 2018, “Around 106 coastal and marine sites have been identified as conservation or community reserves, to increase participation of local communities in governance.” India is encouraging participation of local communities in governance, by recognising the conservation reserves, it said. “India is implementing measures to sustainably harness the potential of the blue economy, while building the climate resilience of the ecosystems and local coastal communities,” it added.
Under the National Wildlife Action Plan for the period 2017 to 2031, the government is working towards the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems from the impact of climate change, the report said. The government said, in its report that in the last four-and-a-half years, India has not only been able to sustain but also increase its mangrove cover, at a time when these ecosystems are disappearing at an alarming rate across the world. “Towards fulfilment of India’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), several initiatives have been taken to meet the targets set under SDG 14 – Life Below Water,” it said.
As per the report, India has rich coastal and marine wealth along the eastern and western coasts, as well as the Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands. “Dense mangrove forests of Sunderbans, which India shares with Bangladesh, the world’s largest congregations of nesting turtles in Odisha, beautiful seagrass beds in the Palk Bay, enigmatic sea cows in the Gulf of Mannar, majestic whale sharks frequenting the waters of the Gulf of Kutch and some of the world’s most magnificent coral reefs in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, are a few examples of the rare treasures of India’s coastal and marine biodiversity,” the report said.
The coastal and marine sector is also a source of valuable fish protein, not only for the growing population but also contributes to the global food basket and in turn, provides valuable foreign exchange to the country, it said. “India produced 3.8 million metric tonnes of seafood during 2017, valued at Rs 5.28 lakh million at landing centre and Rs eight lakh million at the retail level. The fisheries sector supports around 9.3 lakh active and part-time fishers, one of the largest workforce of fishers in the world,” the report said.