Climate adaptive action plans to manage heat stress in Indian cities
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that rising global temperatures will increase the amount and severity of heat waves. In India, these heat waves are exacerbated by the heat generated by human activities in urban areas. This has a considerable impact on the health of vulnerable communities, including a rise in fatalities. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, in 2015 alone more than 2,400 people died of heat-related causes. Despite projections by climate models of a warming climate and increasing frequency of extreme heat events in the coming years, in India the public recognition of the magnitude of these hazards remains low. Administrative support systems generally lack preparedness measures and data to quantify how heat stress affects human health, work productivity, and livelihoods.
This project, implemented by the New Delhi-based organization Integrated Research for Action and Development, will support the development of location-specific and gender-sensitive heat stress action plans in Delhi, Bhubaneswar, and Rajkot. These plans will be based on quantitative and qualitative measures, primary and secondary data, and shared learning dialogues with stakeholders.
The researchers, in collaboration with the municipal corporations, will identify the spatial vulnerability of populations during extreme heat events; analyze the impact of extreme heat events on health, work productivity, and livelihoods; select appropriate, innovative, and affordable climate adaptation measures that consider associated cost effectiveness and gender-based implications; provide training to urban planners, municipal commissioners, city engineers, officials from various healthcare centres, and municipal health officers to improve their ability to execute heat stress action plans; and organize policy workshops to facilitate the implementation of the heat stress action plans into municipal disaster strategies in the selected areas.
The research process and plans developed are expected to influence appropriate adaptation actions and associated policy at the municipal scale, which will improve resilience and reduce vulnerability of more than 10 million at-risk people in the selected areas. The plans will be made available to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Indian Institute of Public Health to enable an analysis of their potential to be applied to other cities in India.