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Darjeeling hosts first ever round table conference on climate change

Darjeeling: A ground zero approach is required for policy formulation on climate change impacts in the mountain region, feels the Intigrated Mountain Initiative (IMI). In this direction, Darjeeling witnessed the first ever round table on climate change on Friday.
IMI is a civil society initiative which integrates the knowledge and experience of multiple stakeholders working on diverse issues accross Indian mountain states.
This is used to inform and influence policy, both at the State and national level.
The IMI is implementing a project titled "Understanding Mountain People's Approach and Practices to Combating Climate
Change in the Indian Himalayan Region: Research to Renewal and Reforms" under the "National Mission on Himalayan Studies," of the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. The project is for the period from April 2017 till March 2019.
"What we are wanting to achieve through the National Mission on Himalayan Studies is to develop a compendium of best practices linking climate change to sustainable development, build awareness, communicate sectoral learnings and best practices. It is also aimed at capacity building of stakeholders to identify ways for upscaling across mountain states," said Fantry Mein, Secretary, IMI. She stated that the compendium is on climate change adaptations on various livelihoods in the ten mountain states and two districts ( Darjeeling and Kalimpong) of the country.
"We are trying to influence policy formulation in the mountains with IMI advocacy groups. Many good schemes have been initiated for the mountain regions by the Government but it is difficult for people sitting in Delhi to understand the ground reality of mountain states because of the remoteness of these areas. People who live in the mountains are the best advocates of their regions. Thus, we are trying to create an eco-system amongst the mountain people to meet and discuss various issues on climate change," stated the IMI Secretary.
IMI is trying to do advocacies so that policies are tailor made to suit the mountains. Climate change has had an impact on agriculture, water, forests and also natural disasters thereby affecting daily lives.
"Communities should try to adapt to the climate change instead of trying to mitigate which is a Herculean task. Ways and methods of adaptations have to be worked out," suggested Mein.
State level round tables are held in each of the 10 mountain states. "As West Bengal has only two mountain districts, we do not have a state-level body. The Darjeeling Himalayan Initiative is working in West Bengal in this direction under the IMI. This is the first round table conference in Darjeeling on climate change," stated Praful Rao, President, Darjeeling Himalayan Initiative.
Incidentally, the project was conceptualised to document adaptation of good practices, with a focus on indigenous ways of managing natural resources by the mountain communities. Using case study approach, it aims to identify the key success factors, lessons learnt and options for regional replication.
An Indian Himalayan Region level compendium will present the final outcome in the form of detailed case studies, good practices and lessons learnt through case study review and interviewing experts and communities within the State.
"The rountables are aimed at enhancing capacities of the research teams and participants on climate change issues. They will also improve the understanding of climate change impacts and existing or proposed strategies for the identified sectors," Rao added.
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