By Aishwarya Das Pattnaik
Over the years, it has been proved that the Sundarbans is becoming highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, largely threatening biodiversity as well as the safety and livelihoods of local communities.
In a move to improve lives of community members and make the region resilient to the growing impacts of climate change, WWF India has been working to create Climate Smart Panchayats across all vulnerable islands in the Indian Sundarbans.
The initiative aims to build capacity of village panchayats and local communities to adopt climate resilience into the region’s development planning, further securing livelihoods and the overall biodiversity of the island.
WWF India is working with government agencies, civil society partners and science-based institutions to achieve maximum conservation impact with the help from village panchayats-who play a major role towards ensuring local economic development at scale.
WWF India is playing a strategic role in finding solutions to the multiple challenges found in the Sundarbans and fostering change through a strong mix of policy advocacy and community participatory methods. This holistic model helps in building the capacity of communities to adopt climate friendly methods that improve their livelihood options.
Through this inclusive model, WWF India largely focuses on on-ground policy implementation developed along with the active participation of communities to achieve substantial conservation impact in the region.
Climate Smart Agriculture Rapid Appraisal
Since the majority of the communities are farmers, WWF India engages with them to offer insights into sustainable agricultural options depending on varied weather conditions. This move helps to provide an assessment of key barriers and opportunities for Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) adoption across the landscape by means of data collected from each household. This appraisal combines participatory workshops, expert interviews, household/farmer interviews, and farm transect walks to capture challenges faced by this diverse farming community.
Post this assessment, WWF India helps communities chart a cropping calendar which gives them an understanding of the realities and challenges of each cropping season, and how to address the same.
Integrated Farming System
WWF India is working closely with farmers to promote an Integrated Farming System which aims to focus on innovation in farming to increase production through optimal use of local resources. Communities are given training on effective recycling of farm waste, organic farming, productive management of dairy, poultry, fishery and vermicomposting, among others. Likewise, these integrated and simple methods help in maintaining healthy crops and livestock, and thriving fisheries, thereby, increasing income level of communities.
80 households were given 4 trainings under the IFS initiative on low input agriculture, pisciculture and livestock management in 2019 .
The writer works as a Senior Communications Officer with the Marketing and Communications Department of WWF India