Coastal communities must be made more resilient to climate change

Bhubaneshwar: In another step towards improving the climate resilience of coastal communities, the government of Odisha has decided to implement a community action plan from the current year.

This was discussed in the Integrated Coastal Management Society (ICZMS) Steering Committee held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra in digital mode from Lokseba Bhawan, where the Additional Chief Secretary, Forest Environment and Climate Change, Satyabrata Sahu, introduced the discussion proposal.

Considering the different outlines of the plan, Chief Secretary Mahapatra ordered to focus on regenerating the coastal ecosystem and promoting sustainable and climate-resilient livelihoods in coastal communities.

He ordered to prepare the annual action plan in consultation with the respective communities. Mahapatra also ordered to give priority to villages which usually face weather-induced calamities over the years. This has been also decided to densify the mangrove forest and seagrass beds to enrich the coastal ecosystem and reduce the impact of tidal waves and storms.

The SC requested to explore all possible places for the development of ecotourism with facilities for boating and wildlife observation. It was decided to prepare the livelihood plan according to the needs of the people and the potential of the areas concerned.

ICZMS Project Manager Sushanta Nanda informed that the interventions would be rolled out from the current year and be completed by 2026-27. An amount of Rs.261.50 cr would be invested. The main coastal landscapes to be addressed under the project would include areas such as Talsari in Balasore district, Bhitarkanika in Kendrapara district, Bahuda and Chilika in Ganjam district, and Devi Mouth, Chilika in Puri district. Approximately 3,75,321 hectares of coastal area spanning 339 Gram Panchayats and five forest divisions would be included.

The project would contribute to the state government’s ongoing efforts to address the impacts of climate-related hazards and disasters on vulnerable coastal communities through the popularization of climate-smart livelihood activities. Community-based organizations, NGOs, eco-clubs, women’s self-help groups and local village communities would be involved in the planning, execution and delivery of the intervention.

Additional Chief Secretary Water Resources Anu Garg, Additional Chief Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Satyabrata Sahu, Principal Secretary Tourism Surendra Kumar, Principal Secretary Finance Vishal Kumar Dev, Director Environment and PD, IZCMS Susanta Nanda as well as senior staff from relevant departments participated in the deliberations.