Strengthening Livelihood Security and Adapting to Climate Uncertainty in Chilika Lagoon, India

Sustained provision of the wide range of ecosystem services of Chilika and maintenance of livelihoods of dependent communities is associated with coastal and freshwater hydrological processes. Climate change has induced several uncertainties on maintenance of these processes, which have implications for achieving wise use objectives of wetland management. The currnet research and monitoring systems that underpin wetlands management of Chilika do not adequately factor in the impacts of climate change as well the possibilities of linking wetlands to climate adaptation and mitigation opportunities.
The three year project ‘Strengthening livelihood resilience to changing climate in Chilika Lagoon, India’ aims to enhance climate preparedness of wetland management through developing of response options and strategies for reducing climate related risks as well as increasing community preparedness for changes in wetland ecosystem services. The project is supported under the Climate Change and Water Programme of International Development and Research Center (IDRC). Implementation will be led by Wetlands International- South Asia (WISA) and Chilika Development Authority (CDA), with expert support from the Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Australia. Implementation will build on climate scenarios modelling, participatory risk assessments with Chilika communities, stakeholder consultations, capacity building and communication and outreach.   The project entails a budget of Rs. 20 millions with co-finance from Wetlands International-South Asia.
The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
  • Develop scenarios of change in ecosystem components, processes and services of Chilika Lagoon due to climate change
  • Assess current coping and adaptation mechanisms within wetland communities in the context of climate change
  • Demonstrate options for enhancing livelihood resilience in changing climate through pilot interventions
  • Formulate a “climate smart” plan for wetland management identifying adaptation options, intervention strategies, priority actions and investment required
  • Build capacity of wetland managers to develop response strategy to climate change, particularly addressing livelihood resilience 
The outcomes of the research would be used to guide investment planning for climate change mitigation and adaptation for the Orissa State in general and Chilika in particular. The project would provide a platform for knowledge sharing amongst wetland managers placed in similar development and ecological contexts, as well as advancing research on building livelihood resilience in socio-environmental systems within the context of changing climate. Research outcomes would be available as technical reports, peer reviewed publications, datasets as well as briefs. The specific outputs include the following: 
  • Climate scenarios modelling for wetland component, processes and services leading to identification of critical change elements
  • Enhanced climate preparedness within wetland communities through building coping and adaptation capacities and risk transfer opportunities
  • Toolkit on “wetland management and climate change” to be used for building capacity of wetland managers
  • Climate smart management plan for Chilika Lake identifying specific investment needs and actions for addressing climate change in the context of wetland management