IMPRESS Funded Major Research Project P1637
A Major Funded Research Project titled “Linking Community Perceptions, Livelihoods Resilience and Scientific Evidence on Climate Change in Selected Coastal Communities of Maharashtra” was granted under the “Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS) under the initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, GoI, and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).”
The Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB) received a grant of Rupees Ten Lakh for the research. The research and study conducted under this funded project provide vital inputs in policy formulation and evaluation related to one of the crucial issues, climate change and its impact on the coastal communities. The study envisages coordinating a reactionary response from local communities to a strategic one based on documenting various community perceptions and resilience about climate change using an integrated vulnerability framework and science-based evidence validation.
The Key Project Objectives of the study include building an understanding of communities’ perception of climate impacts and strengthening the capacity and livelihood resilience of local communities and relevant stakeholders, resulting in a mechanism for policy support for local communities through resource-based climate adaptation interventions. The scoping studies involved various stakeholders, mainly the local communities, through NGOs, regional development agencies, universities, and government organizations. The unique strength of the project was its involvement of local stakeholders at every stage through the focused group discussions and small informal brainstorming sessions with them.
From stakeholder perspectives of local communities, the study focuses on rural coastal districts of Maharashtra, namely Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, where local stakeholders (fisherfolk communities, farmers, tourism and hospitality industry, etc.) are likely to be vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability. A total of 76 villages from 10 Talukas from the districts of Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, and Raigad of the Western coastline of the state of Maharashtra were identified up to 2 km from the coastline.
This involves engagement and interaction with around 1455 community representatives and more than 100 stakeholders in the coastal areas which also includes various conservationists, NGOs and academic representatives. The study's key project objectives include building an understanding of communities’ perception of climate impacts, strengthening the capacity and livelihood resilience of local communities and relevant stakeholders, and developing a mechanism for policy support for local communities through resource-based climate adaptation interventions.
The study explores some of the pressing questions like, What are the critical community-based perceptions on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable ecosystems of coastal Maharashtra?”; Can perception-based climate queries be validated through existing scientific evidence on local climate variability and impacts?; Are there any external factors or threats responsible for community and ecosystem vulnerability and livelihood?; Can science-based advice help address future climate impacts in coastal ecosystems at the regional level for policy intervention? How will an integrated adaptation plan be beneficial locally for the policymakers to integrate climate change concerns into the local development planning process? The study encompasses and thrust on the coastal zone conservation through community involvement, fisheries management, and sustenance of livelihoods and other essential aspects of prime concern for western Maharashtra coastline local communities. Some of the recommendations derived from the study are of importance from the policy interventions and formulating strategies to cater to climate change vulnerabilities at the local and regional levels.