Kochi: India is one of 27 countries that will be worst affected by rising sea levels due to global warming and the 60 million-plus people living on the country’s coasts will bear the brunt, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The UN body which works to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities through the sustainable development of nations, through the social media on Sunday referred to a USD 43 million initiative kickstarted by the Government of India, UNDP and the Green Climate Fund late last year.
It said over six years, 10 million people will benefit from improved shoreline protection in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha.
“India is one of 27 countries worldwide most vulnerable to sea-level rise. Over 60 million coastal Indians are at risk of losing homes & livelihoods. We’re teaming up with the govt of India & @theGCF to boost coastal resilience,” the UNDP said in a tweet on Sunday.
Noting that India has made significant strides in lifting millions out of poverty, the UNDP said the country remains extremely vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Through the joint initiative by the Government of India, UNDP and GCF, 15,000 hectares of mangroves, coral reefs, seagrasses and saltmarshes will be restored and conserved.
This will lead to a reduction of 3.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions, the UNDP said.
“And 1.7 million people will learn how to build climate-resilient livelihoods. It will help protect vulnerable ecosystems and train local communities to monitor ecosystem health. This initiative is another example of India’s leadership in climate action and help India reach its goals under the Paris Agreement as well as achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030”, the UN body said in a video presentation attached to its tweet.
India has about 6,740 km2 of mangroves, including some of the largest mangrove forests in the world. Mangrove cover along India’s coastline has decreased by 50 percent in some areas, largely because of human pressures, including alteration of flow of freshwater from upstream. Sea level rise is predicted to result in further reductions.
The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are both predicted to be subject to extreme climate variability, with the frequency and intensity of cyclones and extreme weather events projected to increase, particularly on the eastern coastline.
Climate change projections predict a 2C rise in average annual temperatures across South Asia by the mid-21st century, exceeding 3C by the late 21st century.
According to a report from the World Bank, an increase in global mean surface temperatures of 2C will make India’s monsoon highly unpredictable, while a 4C increase would result in an extremely wet monsoon (which currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years) occurring every 10 years by the end of the century.