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The second day at the APAN forum witnessed the presence of the Sri Lankan president H.E. Maithripala Sirisena. Some participants from the audience were impressed with Sri Lanka’s clear prioritization and articulation of the concept of the blue green economy: Of increasing green cover on land, enhancing ocean resources. There was also appreciation of the participation of a significant number of women presenters in the high level, plenary and parallel session panels.

For Utkala University researcher Shakuntala Pratihary from the Indian state of Orissa, the lack of inclusion of experiences and stories or even policy plans and framework for women and children. They are the most vulnerable. Her involvement with the Center for Research and Community Action, and her doing interdisciplinary research on Climate Change and its impact on human capability is bringing up new hypotheses. Her research guide Kabir Mohan of Utkala University’s Geography Department calls for more interdisciplinary collaboration, be it between education departments or public and organisations or government and private institutions.

Thus the call for integration to achieve adaptation to climate change seems to resonant with the audience as well. The human security angle pops up. Those most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate induced migration are women, the elderly and children. Ambika Prasad Nanda formerly with UNDP also from Orissa pointed out the relationship between increased domestic violence and the loss of livelihood caused by climate change in forest area.

Hence, when the government announces rural employment guarantee schemes that involves reforestation and funds being made available to state governments then this adaptation strategy could address both rural unemployment and violence against women.

Nagaland’s Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Ms. Neikiesalie Kire was happy to reveal the increased tree cover in her state. More than half the state under forest cover according to the latest Government of India survey. She also emphasized the fact that the seven sisters – the northeastern Indian states – benefitting from becoming aware of the importance of sustainable development before “development” came to these seven periphery states of India. Thus they could be at the forefront of climate friendly action. She proudly mentioned the repeated return of masses of Amur Falcons resting in between migrating from Mongolia and South Africa in October and November. Both an indication of the strong preservation of local ecology and a source of income. These birds and the forests would act as a draw for tourists, specifically eco-tourists. The Himalayan state of Sikkim another one from this region has gone 100% organic in its agriculture. This in turn has opened up new markets and brought in incomes enhanced the “organic premium price.”

The importance of governments in addressing environmental concerns is central to climate change adaptation. Yet the needs and the ground realities of communities are essential for proper implementation. And transitioning from a hydrocarbon driven economy to a carbohydrate driven one would enable more equitable development, as mentioned by Dr. Ranil Senanayika, proponent and pioneer of Analog Forestry.

Raakhee Suryaprakash

About Raakhee Suryaprakash

Raakhee is writer, editor, analyst and nascent social entrepreneur based out of Chennai, India. Her areas of interests include sustainable development, renewable energy, environment and climate change, women's empowerment, rural development, leveraging corporate social responsibility for sustainable development, and foreign policy.