Knowledge of climate change vulnerability and impacts is a prerequisite for formulating locally relevant climate change adaptation policies. A participatory approach has been used in this study to determine climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation aspects for the Kangsabati River basin, India. The study approach involved engaging with stakeholders representing state (sub-national), district and community levels, through an interactive brainstorming method, to understand stakeholder perceptions regarding (a) local characteristics which influence vulnerability, (b) climate change impacts and (c) relevant adaptation options.
The study reveals that vulnerability varies across upstream, midstream and downstream sections of the river basin. Suggested adaptation options, in this predominantly agricultural basin, are found to be applicable across spatial scales. Stakeholder perceptions, regarding vulnerability and impacts, vary with the level of interaction, academic background and type of experience. Interaction confirms the notion that stakeholders have inherent knowledge regarding adaptation, reveals their preferences and ability to think unconventionally. We discuss limitations of the approach while demonstrating its ability to deliver locally relevant and acceptable adaptation options, which could facilitate implementation.
We conclude that engaging stakeholders at multiple levels was highly effective in assessing locally relevant aspects of climate change vulnerability, impacts and applicable adaptation options in the Kangsabati River basin. Based on this assessment, a sub-basin scale is recommended for evaluating these aspects, especially for water resources and agricultural systems, through multi-level stakeholder input.
Authors: Ajay Gajanan Bhave, Ashok Mishra and Annemarie Groot.
Date: February 2013