Mainstreaming Climate Resilience in Urban Areas- A case-study of Gorakhur, India
The Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) has helped 10 cities in Asia to assess their risks from climate change impacts and build their resilience strategy to respond to these impacts. Gorakhpur has been one of the three ACCCRN cities in India. The Gorakhpur Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Analysis were conducted as part of Phase I of the ACCCRN initiative in India. The outcome was a resilience strategy prepared by The Gorakhpur Environment Action Group (GEAG).
The resilience strategy proposed sector-specific actions to be carried out to build resilience and reduce vulnerability of the population of the city. To further this work, TERI took up the task of providing inputs to mainstream resilience options into the urban development process. Mainstreaming resilience strategy into the urban development framework is being viewed to benefit for the long-term planning for climate resilience.
The study suggests potential entry points for climate adaptation in the existing policy and regulatory framework and identifies specific action points that may be taken up at the city and state level to mainstream climate resilience (both mid-term and long-term).
Final recommendations were presented at a consultation chaired by the Divisional Commissioner of Gorakhpur, in presence of the Municipal Commissioner and all city officials and detailed discussions were held on TERI’s recommendations. Later, TERI submitted ‘Action Points’ to the city, which is being pursued for adoption by the city.
Methods and Tools
TERI used the resilience strategy document of Gorakhpur as a baseline to develop a resilience mainstreaming strategy for the city. The process also involved a detailed assessment of the vulnerability report—the geo-hydrological report of Gorakhpur—among others.
A detailed regulatory and institutional analysis was carried out at the level of Gorakhpur city as well as, at the level of the State of Uttar Pradesh to understand the entry points for the adaptation actions as proposed under the resilience strategy. In addition to this, a review of policies and programmes of the government was conducted for each sector in order to recommend actions for the identified sector.
The process included several rounds of discussion with key stakeholders in the city to make it a reiterative process wherein it was made sure that the concerns, experience, and learning of the city stakeholders were well documented.
TERI identified ‘water logging’ as the most prominent risk to city systems due to future and predicted climate change and identified five prime sectors for addressing this risk: Basic Services (drinking water, drainage and sewerage, solid waste), Housing, Urban Planning, Health and Ecosystem Conservation, and Flood Management.TERI also recommends including a chapter on climate change resilience in the Master Plan of the city. TERI identifies: Capacity, Accountability, Coordination, and Efficiency of Institutions, as areas requiring foremost attention to ensure sustainable and resilient urban systems. Capacity building and awareness generation of the state agencies, urban local bodies (ULBs) and local community can play a major role in building resilience. For instance, capacity building of the government health set-ups in the city by assessment of required infrastructure and manpower can help in building an effective public health surveillance system.
Another recommendation is to revisit the drainage (storm water drainage) project sanctioned under UIDSSMT to allow for disintegration points and channels to ensure disintegration of storm water drains appropriately with the new sewer drains as and when they are sanctioned. Exploring the option of decentralized solid waste management systems has also been proposed.
The application of ICT for building resilience through strengthening municipal database management systems has been highlighted. On these lines, in the drinking water section, establishing multiple channels for data collection and reporting on drinking water quality has been suggested. With regard to the issue of urban planning and land-use change, mapping and demarcation of green areas and water bodies in the city to regulate encroachment and reclamation has been suggested.