IN ORDER to combat climate change in coastal towns of Maharashtra and enhance climate resilience of the coastal communities, the state government is set to get US$ 25.7 million under the United Nations-backed Green Climate Fund (GCF) over six years. The fund supports climate change mitigation projects in developing countries.
The fund comes at a time when a study published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), confirmed coastal habitats are at critical risk with increased probability of cyclones in the Arabian Sea.
Earlier this month, a more detailed report using satellite maps by Climate Central concluded that coastal cities like Mumbai could be partially inundated by 2050. This will be the second time that the state will receive the fund after the ‘Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan’ the scheme to make the state drought-free.
The fund will be disbursed to the state government over six years for climate resilient livelihood programmes and coastal ecosystem restoration projects in four coastal districts ? Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Palghar.
To protect life on land and below water as outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the project activities will focus on 735 hectares of mangroves, coral reefs and watershed in the state. Some of the proposed livelihood interventions include training of youth to work with scientists to track restoration and conservation of coastal ecosystems.
“We have received communication that the funds have been approved by the Centre and will soon be disbursed to the state. The inception workshop of all stakeholders is scheduled on November 13,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests and joint president of the state mangrove committee.
In addition, to strengthen climate risk-informed coastal management and infrastructure planning, the innovative project will create an online decision-support tool available via mobile phone for use by government officers, academic institutions, community members and scientists. The project will also build local knowledge of climate change and the associated risks via training and public education programmes.
According to the proposal, the total investment in projects in coastal cities of the state, along with Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, is US$ 130.3 million. While the GCF has approved US$ 43.4 million, the rest of the money will be raised through co-financing from the environment ministry, all three state governments and private sectors. The grant is a part of more than US$ 1 billion approved by the GCF for 19 new projects to help developing countries tackle climate change.