Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA RAI)

Submitted by Dirk Rolker | published 4th Apr 2013 | last updated 17th Mar 2020
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The Indo-German development project 'Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA RAI)' aims to enhance the adaptive capacities of vulnerable rural communities in India so that they are better equipped to cope with climate variability and change. The project partners are:

The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is guided by India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change and works in different areas, pursuing a multilevel approach.

The four above-mentioned states were chosen for the implementation of CCA RAI as they represent India’s different agro-climatic zones. Through the project, a strong network of partners in the four states is being built, relying on existing institutions in the public and private sector. 

Fields of work

CCA RAI works in seven different fields related to climate change adaptation in India with a strong focus on rural areas.

State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC)

The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has asked all Indian states to develop action plans to define how they intend to undertake activities and programmes aimed at climate change adaptation and mitigation. These State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) should be in line with the objectives of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and ensure its implementation at state level.

The German development organisation GIZ and other organisations, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), are providing technical assistance to interested states to help them develop their SAPCC. The SAPCCs play a vital role in the implementation of the NAPCC. At the same time, they consider particular regional and local characteristics and the specific concerns of vulnerable sectors and communities within each state. So far CCA RAI has supported 16 Indian states and 2 Union territories in developing their SAPCC.

Vulnerability and risk assessments

Although there are various methodologies for vulnerability and risk assessment, there is a gap between global scenarios and local risk assessments. Through CCA RAI the governments of the four participating states are being assisted in carrying out vulnerability and risk assessments.

These analyses provide the scientific basis for decision-making at the policy level. They take into consideration global scenarios and local peculiarities as well as contributions from different experts and stakeholders. The assessment approaches that are currently being developed and tested in the four partner states aim to be simple, robust and easily replicable.

Adaptation measures

So far, there is very little detailed empirical knowledge about how to deal with the risks of climate change or exploit the opportunities it may bring. The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and GIZ are supporting the governments of the four partner states, local communities and other relevant stakeholders in identifying, developing and carrying out adaptation measures in model regions.

Once tested, these adaptation measures can be fine-tuned and implemented in other regions with similar agricultural-climatic conditions. So far, nine projects have been selected to test adaption options at local level. They are mainly being implemented by non-governmental organisations.

Financial instruments for adaptation

The rural poor often have only limited access to financial means that could help to reduce the impacts climate change has on their livelihoods. Through CCA RAI, a number of financial instruments that already exist are being assessed. These include insurance and credit schemes that might be suitable for promoting adaptation to climate change.

In order to design, test and market affordable financial products to support adaptation in rural areas, CCA RAI also establishes close links with international and national actors from both the public and private sectors.

Climate proofing government programmes

The sustainability of public programmes and investments may be at risk due to climate change. In order to reduce climate change risks in development programmes, GIZ has developed its Climate Proofing for Development tool.

Policy-makers can use the climate proofing tool to analyse whether the objectives of government projects might be threatened by climate change and how the planned measures could be adapted accordingly. First, selected public schemes are assessed to ascertain how they are already contributing to adaptation and then options are developed for how they could further prepare communities for climatic changes and build capacity to deal with them. 

In India, public investment schemes and rural development programmes are being climate proofed in the four partner states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.

Information and knowledge management

Awareness on climate change and the necessity and possibilities for adapting to its impacts still have to be improved. This applies particularly at local level since a lot of existing experts’ knowledge does not reach the communities that are affected most by climate variability and change.

For this reason, CCA RAI provides information about relevant approaches, technologies and lessons learnt. A network of stakeholders for future activities and exchanges of information is being built up. CCA RAI promotes involvement on different scales, ranging from rural communities and states to national and international levels.

Human Capacity Development

In their daily work decision-makers, development planners and practitioners in India are increasingly being confronted with the question of how to deal proactively with the effects of climate change. CCA RAI conducts a number of different training courses in order to build capacities and spread awareness and knowledge of adaptation.

More information on CCA RAI training courses can be found here.

Placemarks of CCA RAI case studies

CCA RAI climate change adaptation demonstration projects

Further resources