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Climate Group brings Indian states and philanthropies together to strengthen India’s subnational climate action

4 May 2022, 15:07 UTC 3 min read

Rana Pujari

Indian states and philanthropic organisations have the power to accelerate India’s climate action by aligning their goals and priorities.

With this view, Climate Group convened a closed-door in-person State-Philanthropy roundtable in New Delhi in April 2022. Senior officials from eight Indian states and nine leading philanthropies attended the roundtable. At this critical juncture of the Climate Decade, the strategic intent of this convening was to initiate an open dialogue between states and philanthropies to exchange their strategy, vision and actions. It was also an opportunity to unpack the challenges and credible solutions around accelerating subnational climate action in India. The event also looked at the avenues for these actors to work together and strengthen the shared network and resources on climate action.

Keynote address

Setting the tone for the meeting, Suresh Prabhu, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and former Sherpa to the G7 and G20, provided the keynote address where he highlighted the critical role of both states and philanthropies in supporting India’s climate ambition.

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The Roundtable

The roundtable began with a presentation by Climate Group on the ambition and role of the world’s largest group of states and regions ‘Under2 Coalition’ and its impact on the region so far. This presentation followed remarks by senior officials from state departments of environment, forest and climate change, renewable energy and science and technology on the vision of their respective states as well as implementation challenges at varying levels. Aspects of the energy mix and energy efficiency within the respective state action plans were highlighted. Philanthropic organisations reflected on the current and future energy transition as one of the driving forces behind their engagement in the climate sector with subnational players.

On the pace of renewable energy adoption and the related structuring challenges, states suggested the need to revise and actively execute solar and wind energy policies to make the transition efficient and sustainable. To address this, a state official highlighted the critical role programmes such as NITI Aayog’s multi-stakeholder Su-BaH (Sun’s Blessings and Health) are playing to solarise healthcare institutions across India through innovative models.

Looking beyond mitigation efforts, several states and philanthropic organisations came on board for prioritising resilience and adaptation of local communities. The group felt the need to jointly work towards designing programmes and initiatives around climate adaptation as existing state action plans and policies do not adequately reflect the same. It was further observed that ecological disaster prevention is one of the predominant requirements throughout the nation. To tackle this, states are designing local and tailored solutions which would require enhanced support from philanthropic organisations and technical and civil society organisations.

The group acknowledged the importance of assimilating knowledge and stressed the need to build data banks at the state level and work on data management and exchange of the same with other states. Beyond these other key emerging topics discussed were mitigation in agricultural practices, water crisis management in several states and net zero building practices.

Capacity building will be a key enabler toward meeting state-level climate goals. On this, Climate Group’s recently launched State Climate Fellows initiative was highly appreciated. Few states expressed interest in collaborating on this initiative and sought support towards this.

Key takeaways

The convening was successful in facilitating an open and active dialogue between states and philanthropies in India. Following were the key aspects and strategic takeaways that emerged from the discussion:

  • Capacity building is essential for the clean, just and equitable transition in Indian states
  • Co-creating action plans with a people-centric approach to climate action at the subnational levels will be key
  • Including vital systems such as food, within the net zero goal
  • Designing tailored projects through philanthropic support to support subnational initiatives
  • Building top-level buy-in to ensure stakeholder participation and successful implementation

Under2 Coalition has been focussing on capacity building and knowledge sharing among Indian states and regions to leverage the power of networks and partnerships to rapidly move from ambition to action.