Global Climate Change Agenda and Processes: Scouting for Traditional Grassroot Adaptation Strategies in Arid and Semi-Arid Agriculture of India. Working Paper Series No. 46 uri icon


  • The paper attempts to explore how a global Climate Change agenda and processes (coveringconcerns, debates, negotiations, research-based projections, impacts and actions broadlycollectively termed as ?global discourse? in this paper), can help enhance the farmers?adaptations against impacts of climate change in arid and semi-arid regions of India, which ispotentially more vulnerable to climate change.After a brief introduction to these dryland agricultural regions, the paper looks at the mainthrusts of largely macro level focused global discourse on climate change. This is followed bya discussion on relevant features of farmers? traditional adaptation strategies against climaticvariability in the above-mentioned regions captured through longitudinal village level studies byICRISAT, and supplemented by other studies focused on farmer responses to weather inducedrisks. Based on the above, we look at the extent of match or mismatch between the two toidentify the limitations and potential of the macro-level global discourse on climate change, forenhancing farmers? adaptation strategies against the negative impacts of climate change.Information on mainstream global discourse is picked up from a variety of reviews and critiquesof the specific components of global discourse on climate change. The information on farmers?adaptation strategies is provided by a number of studies on farmers? vulnerability and riskmanagement conducted during the last thirty years in different parts of arid and semi-arid areasin India.The important concerns about usability of global discourse relate to highly aggregative andmacro level focused information, projections, modeled scenarios, etc, along with their currentinformation gaps and uncertainties. Consequently, they do not offer apparent concrete contextsat micro levels to which dryland farmers respond by way of adaptation measures. Besides, theglobal discourse largely focus on mitigation as against adaptation to climate change, whichdoes not help dryland farmers? adaptations to climate change. Finally, the farmers? adaptationresponsesare not directed exclusively to weather induced risks and uncertainties, but theyaddress the other sources of risks such as market and other calamities. Since the globaldiscourse on climate change has highly skewed perspectives (reflected by its focus mainly onclimate change with little attention to other linked global changes), it may not offer inspiringlead lines, even in the perspective sense to dryland farmers to evolve holistic coping strategiesagainst risks.Based on the evidence and understanding of farmers? traditional and present adaptationstrategies against weather variability, the paper attempts to explore some indicative possibilitiesto benefit from macro level global discourse on climate change. They include the indicativeapproaches to harmonize the elements of traditional adaptation approaches and potential fieldoriented (micro level focused) new approaches guided by imperatives of climate change, usingnew technological and institutional options. Their involved facilitative interventions, however,are largely product policy programs initiated and promoted by the governments. In some way,one of the most significant contributions of global discourse on climate change is generatinginformation and concerns of policy makers about potential risks created by climate change andneed for promoting measures against them including the above-mentioned interventions, which2ultimately help in making development steps climate sensitive. However, promotion of suchsteps will be greatly facilitated if some downscaling of current global approaches, by way offocusing on regional and local/landscape situations, is promoted

publication date

  • 2013