India’s State Action Plans on Climate Change: towards meaningful action
A new OPM briefing note outlines the limitations of, and opportunities provided by, India’s State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs).
The SAPCCs represent the largest climate change planning exercise at the sub-national level in the world, with each of India’s 29 states and seven union territories taking part. As the international community gathers in Paris to try and reach a global climate agreement, our new briefing note highlights why – and how – states need to overcome the barriers to implementing these plans.
Despite the weaknesses that prevail in the plans, and delays that have held back their implementation, the plans represent a big step forward on mainstreaming climate change within development planning in India. The process began in 2010 and is ongoing. The plans focus primarily on measures to adapt to climate change, with less reference to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. With the devolution of most climate-relevant governmental functions to the state level, India’s progress towards tackling climate change hinges on the successful implementation of these plans.
Our note outlines some of the key obstacles to implementation of the plans – these include a lack of both sufficient political will and clarity on what actions will be taken. These problems are in part explained by the origin of the SAPCCs, as a top-down exercise led by the central government. This has led to a general absence of local ownership of the plans.
Suggestions of how to overcome the barriers are based on the experiences of the OPM-led Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, supporting six state governments to implement and mainstream their SAPCCs into regular development budgeting and planning processes. A key priority is helping state governments access sources of climate finance, as there is currently very little additional funding available from the central government.
Elizabeth Gogoi, Consultant at Oxford Policy Management and author of the note, said:
‘Analysis of the SAPCCs shows the scale of the issues Indian policymakers are facing. Striking the correct balance between supporting economic development and putting in place measures to adapt to a changing climate is difficult to do, particularly without any extra resources to do so. However, our experience with ACT tells us that, with a sustained focus on building institutional capacity and effective targeting of global finance mechanisms, it is possible for state governments to put in place a new climate-resilient economic development pathway.’
Read the full note here.