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UN-Habitat and UK hold dialogue on changing weather trends in India

Hyderabad, India, June 2021 - To mark World Environment Day, the British Deputy High Commission in Hyderabad and UN-Habitat India partnered to arrange a virtual panel discussion “Changing weather trends in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana” on 4 June 2021. The dialogue centred on the recent weather patterns, the impact of climate change on communities, and potential interventions that could be undertaken by decision makers to manage the risk of future extreme weather events.

The panel discussion was part of a dialogue series to raise awareness of climate change following up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland in November.

The panel brought together a diverse group of speakers including representatives from the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, located on the Eastern seaboard, and specialised agencies, civil society organizations, weather bloggers and experts from around the world.

India is predicted to face significant challenges to adapt and mitigate the impact of changing weather patterns in urban and rural areas. A report by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water that found 75 per cent of districts in India, with a population of 683 million people, are categorized as extreme climate hot spots. In addition, 13 out of the 20 world’s most climate vulnerable cities are in India.

For Andhra Pradesh and Telangana global warming could mean more frequent heatwaves like the one in 2015 which resulted in the loss of more than 2500 lives, as well as extreme rainfall events leading to flooding as was the case in Hyderabad in 2020. Another major concern is the reversal in weather patterns as traditionally flood prone districts such as Guntur, Kurnool, and Srikakulum in Andhra Pradesh are now becoming drought prone. Panellist, Dr. G. Sreenivas from the Agricultural Research Institute Hyderabad explained that similar trends were observed in Telangana.”

Policy coherence between global, regional, national, and local stakeholders is a foundational requirement to deliver the needed transformations toward sustainable and resilient development,” stated Ms. Parul Agarwala, Country Programme Manager, UN-Habitat India. This was echoed by Mr. Adhar Sinha, Special Chief Secretary to Telangana Government and Director General, Environment Protection and Research Institute who highlighted that guiding policies like the Telangana State Action Plan for Climate Change can provide a system-oriented approach to preempt and respond to climate disasters at the local level.

Local governments are on the front-line in combating climate change and can be a proactive force in implementing adaptation measures. In Vijayawada, the second most populated city in Andhra Pradesh, 44 per cent of households live in vulnerable areas.