The response mechanisms are challenging post-daytime, and the possibility of loss of life rises even more. Despite timely early-warning system (EWS) dissemination and preparedness, huge losses and damages were incurred that year.
What has changed?
Has the river morphology or the frequency of extreme weather events changed? I also often wonder has the human-environment relationship of coexistence or the human perceptibility of environment and lifestyle has changed.
The world is committed to climate resilience, but risks are increasing manifold
International initiatives like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement promote climate adaptation measures to combat climate change through cooperation and collaboration.
This sets a stage of hope to address climate challenges in vulnerable regions like South Asia. While the world is committed to resilience, climatic impacts are becoming more severe and increasing the communities’ susceptibility.
In the last few years, events like heat waves, wildfires in the European and South American region, extreme cyclonic events in Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and erosion and floods in South Asia were witnessed.
The COVID-19 crisis response mechanism was also complex. Apart from following the ‘social distancing norms’ to ensure safety, the basic resources had to be accessible to people across multiple locations.
Stage of hope to address climate adaptation and resilience
India builds efficient climate strategies through its various policy interventions, international cooperation, and collaboration to implement ‘human-nature interaction’ actions at the grassroots level.
For example, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF), Government of India, announced G20’s first environment and sustainability group, emphasizing blue economy and coastal sustainability, restoration of degraded lands, and ecosystems enhancement of biodiversity and strengthening of the circular economy.
India is also a Party to the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement in 2015, India submitted its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) based on climate change priorities, sustainable development, poverty eradication, and economic growth.
Similarly, states of India have developed State Action Plans on climate change. Assam’s State Action Plan outlines strategies for water resources, floods and erosion, agriculture and forest, and biodiversity.
What other climate change lessons can be learned from Assam, India?
In the social context, the Indian traditional wisdom of “vasudaiv kutumbkum” which means one earth, one family, one future value of all life, and interconnectedness of each other in the universe, promotes living in harmony with the ecosystem.
It can change the indigenous way of life and cause turmoil. Climatic events witnessed across urban cities worldwide and India can have similar impacts. This can be addressed through policy interventions to combat long-term impacts.