Understanding the vulnerabilities and resilience of the local communities to climatic and non-climatic risks

Anuradha Phadtare

In semi-arid region of Maharashtra state of India, there is high dependence on natural resources for living and livelihoods. The limited adaptive capacities of the local people from rural results in them being highly vulnerable to the climate and non-climatic risks they encounter. In the studies, WOTR found that risks and uncertainties to project implementation has increased over the period of time with the rapidly changing context, increasing variability in climate, and occurrence of extreme climate events in the area. To capture local level vulnerabilities and translated in to the policies, bottom-up approach should be followed to draw particular plan and models. Hence to understand this scenario thoroughly WOTR applied the tool Community Driven Vulnerability Evaluation (CoDriVE-PD- The tool Community Driven Vulnerability Evaluation–Programme Designer (CoDriVE–PD), is a recumbent tool developed by converging key aspects of two known international research, developed by WOTR) that engages the village as a whole as well as the different landholding groups within, so as to get the people’s perspective and to come up with certain interventions that will enhance resilience. Objectives: 1) To assess the climate and non-climatic risks and coping mechanisms followed and to evaluate how these affect long term sustainability. 2) To identify the vulnerabilities of the communities of study area as influenced by the climate and other factors, using the tool Community Driven Vulnerability Evaluation – Programme Designer (CoDriVE-PD) 3) Based on the participatory vulnerability assessment findings, to identify the important thematic areas of intervention that will enhance resilience. The first stage involves identification of the study villages. This entails grouping of villages based on similarities of the bio-physical and socio economic indicators. All villages that have somewhat similar characteristics (such as location, water spread area, land use) are grouped. The second step involves applying the vulnerability assessment tool and Capital wise vulnerability codes would be generated at village level through FGDs with different stakeholders The third step involves using CoDriVE PD results providing recommendations for adaptation i.e. to suggest climate proofing activities by assessing current practices
Findings from the study:
1. Group of landless people is more vulnerable in terms of finance, knowledge and skills, and participation in social activities as well as various assets.
2. Large farmers are also relatively vulnerable even though have availability and accessibility of various resources.
3. Majority of the coping mechanisms which rural people did were mal-adaptive and not sustainable.
Significance of work in policy and practice:
In India the percentage of small holder cultivators is approximately 80 percent of the total cultivator households. These small holder cultivators have poor risk-taking ability and low adaptive capacities as their rations/food often depends on a fragile ecosystem, Under this circumstances, steps need to be urgently taken to reduce the degradation and enhance the resilience of the natural resource base in the arid and semi-arid regions of India and using vulnerability evaluation tool, strategic recommendations can be done which would directly government or policy makers to be incorporated in the policy at block (sub-district) level and for implementation.