Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA-RAI)

Project description

Title: Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA-RAI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: India
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)
Overall term: 2008 to 2019

India. Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming in Tamil Nadu  © GIZ


Climate change can have a dramatic impact on our natural resources, economic activities, food security, health and physical infrastructure. India is one of the countries most affected by climate change. The threat is especially severe in places where people’s livelihoods depend on natural resources. In such areas climate adaptation measures take on a special significance for safeguarding rural livelihoods and ensuring sustainable development.

The Indian Government launched the country’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change in 2008. With an advanced institutional landscape, India is now better prepared to deal with the multi-faceted nature of climate change. Many institutions have already developed relevant expertise. However, the current challenge is to develop a cross-sectoral, integrated Approach.


Central and state governments of India integrate adaptation to climate change in their sector policy decisions and rural development programmes to reduce the risks posed by climate variability and change.


To address India's differing agricultural and climatic zones, the project selected the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal as the locations for its activities. It operated at national, state and local levels, supporting the integration of climate change adaptation into development planning and policy decisions. It also demonstrated practical solutions at community Level.


State-level vulnerability and risk assessments
Although various methods exist for gauging climate change vulnerability and risks, there is still a gap between global scenarios and local risk assessments. The project has developed a cohesive approach for assessing vulnerability and risks associated with climate change, to help decision makers and practitioners. It also supported the partner states in conducting such assessments. Building on expert contributions from relevant stakeholders, these assessments provide a solid base for policy formulation, decision-making and adaptation monitoring.

Developing and testing adaptation measures
In collaboration with a number of NGOs, research institutes and universities, the project developed and demonstrated several measures to address climate variability and change in nine project sites of the four partner states. For all measures the target groups consisted of the rural poor who are most affected by climate change, and whose survival depends on natural resources. Socio-economic conditions and environmental services improved in all nine demonstration sites, resulting in enhanced adaptive capacities of the communities in question.

Climate proofing of public investments and rural development programmes
Policy makers need to ascertain the sustainability of public sector programmes in the context of climate change. To assist them, the project supported the introduction of a climate proofing tool. This tool is used to analyse whether or not the success of public projects is threatened by climate change, and how the planned measures could be adapted. In this context, the project assessed both the Watershed Development Programme of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India’s most important development bank, and the Forest Department’s Joint Forest Management Programme.

Human capacity development
To enhance the relevant capacities among policy makers and practitioners, the project conducted training measures aimed at integrating climate change adaptation into development planning at various levels. In terms of their content and format, all measures were tailored to the respective needs of the target groups. Over five years, the project developed a team of skilled trainers at the national and regional levels and it built up the capacities of many practitioners, decision makers and support organisations.

India. Increased the preparedness to cyclones and floods in West Bengal © GIZ

State-level action plans on climate change
The State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) are intended to support India's environmental policy at the state level by integrating climate change concerns into policies, plans and programmes. They also help to build adaptive capacities at the local level. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) called on all the Indian states to develop their climate action plans in line with the objectives of the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The project assisted with the development of action plans in 16 states and two union territories. Of these plans, 11 have already been endorsed by MoEFCC.

From April 2015 the project will continue as part of the ‘Indo-German Environment Programme in Rural Areas’.