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INDIA: Not Part of Asia or Regional Adaptation Network?

The geographical coverage of SIDA-Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency supported initiative ‘Adaptation Knowledge Platform‘or (Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform ) with international partners like SEI-Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Swedish Environmental Secretariat for Asia (SENSA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) includes: Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.

The list includes almost all South Asian and Pacific countries except INDIA (and a few others). What does this mean? One can look it through multiple dimensions of regional politics, priorities of lead agency or its further delineation of new boundaries within South Asia! It may also reveal that the agencies have categorized countries like India among the adequately equipped country on various climatic adaptation fronts, which need not to be included in the Network. Though, the recently held ‘Adaptation Forum’ had representation from a
few activist group and business houses from India. However, it had no representation from Environment Ministry in India, which is responsible for National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) and a well known representation in UNFCC (COP), IPCC and BASIC countries, on strong political and knowledge front.

There is a possibility that the organizations are concerned about the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol that was recently discussed during Tianjin. As the adaptation draft includes options for a new Adaptation Protocol, the establishment of a more robust Adaptation Fund
– separate from, yet somehow connected to, the current Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol. At Tianjin, the countries were fighting amongst themselves over who should receive priority for adaptation funding.

Given that, India commits to help smaller neighbors in Asia to cope with climate change the India’s Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh recently mentioned in a Press conference that India would do its bit to help capacity building exercises. He said that, “we have a substantial commitment to help our South Asian neighbors adapt to effects of climate change”. And, as an indication of its commitment, the minister handed a cheque of US $ 160,000 to the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

In Sep, 2010 in a two days meeting of Major Economies Forum in New York, that revolved around discussing what would be the likely outcomes at Cancun, Mexico, India was among the lead including other selected sian countries. Even India reaches out to small island nations on Climate Change, which are the most vulnerable to climate change, to convey its sensitivity to their concerns on the issue. In this context the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), had asked emerging economies like India and China to take legally binding cuts on carbon emissions at the Copenhagen conference last year.

Knowing the stated commitments of the Regional Adaptation Network, e.g. Regional knowledge sharing system with a regionally and nationally owned mechanism, Generation of new knowledge for national and regional
climate change adaptation process, and Application of existing and new knowledge for sustainable development practices, etc., one could be assured about the larger and inclusive coverage of the initiative.

However, given the importance of India and other excluded Asian countries, what dissuades their inclusion in regional adaptation network, need further thought in terms of network’s integrity and its future!

CHI News:

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