Holiday Experience in a Delta

by Sumana Banerjee

A holiday in Egypt during September this year was my first experience of a delta outside of DECCMA. Like any holiday it was supposed to be a break from work but quite on the contrary, I found myself asking questions, spotting differences and similarities, and doing some online research based on our DECCMA themes. That is why I am writing about the things I learnt on a holiday on our DECCMA blog.

1 The Giza Pyramid Complex, Egypt

 

Significance of the pyramid shape

For most tourists Egypt is synonymous with The Great Pyramid of Giza and I was no exception. The first glimpse of the man-made marvel from the ancient world made my heart skip a beat. It was an enthralling experience to witness the 3000 year old exemplary creation of man. There are plenty of theories about the construction of pyramids and their mysteries. The one fact which will be relevant here is the shape of the pyramid which represents the physical body emerging from the earth and ascended towards the light of the sun. This shape was thus considered sacred by ancient Egyptians. The Papyrus which was first used in ancient Egypt has a cross-section resembling the triangular face of the pyramid and we were told at a Papyrus Institute that this was also very important and sacred for the ancient Egyptians.

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I couldn’t help but draw a connection between the triangular face of the pyramid, the triangular cross-section of the papyrus, and the triangular shape of a delta. I wondered if the delta being a lifeline of the region could have any role to play in influencing the triangular faces of the pyramids.

2 Cross-section of a papyrus stalk

The River Nile

The very first sight of the River Nile at Cairo brought back geography lessons and hours of meticulous map pointing learnt way back in school. I was seeing the world’s longest river and Cairo was the apex of the Nile delta. Our itinerary entailed a 3-night river cruise along the Nile and I was excited to experience it. From our river cruise, we availed an optional speedboat ride to a Nubian village (about 8kms from Aswan) and that gave us an opportunity to soak our feet in the cool waters of the Nile. Before this ride, I knew that cataracts are for aging eyes but during this speedboat ride, our guide showed us the first cataract of the Nile. Cataracts are a mass of rocky formations in the riverbed jutting well above the water. Around this cataract the otherwise calm water was breaking and speeding naturally.

3 Cataract of the River Nile

Alexandria

The journey from Cairo to Alexandria took us about three hours by car. I noticed a stretch where there were many Brick kilns on both sides of the road. This was similar to what we see in the Indian Bengal Delta (IBD). I am not sure if the areas under brickfields in Egypt have undergone similar land transformations like in IBD but I wondered if conversion of deltaic lands into brickfields is a globally lucrative trend.

4 Chimneys of brick-kilns along the highway between Cairo and Alexandria

Flooding of the Nile

Since time immemorial Nile floods have quenched the thirst of the adjacent flood plains and added silt which has played a major role to support the Egyptian civilization. While no flooding led to drought followed by famine, severe flooding proved hazardous. It was the moderate flooding that the Egyptians looked forward to and this was the important part of their agricultural cycle as after the inundation season they sowed the seeds. Like any natural hazard, floods back then too had an effect on the economy – nature of flooding would have an impact on the quality of the harvest which will determine the tax to be paid. These administrative decisions were taken based on the exemplary mechanisms which were in place to predict the floods and thereby the quality of the harvest.

While scientists today have the flood-prediction models, the ancient Egyptians had the Nilometer. We saw one such Nilometer at the Temple of Kom Ombo, Aswan. It looked like a well to us till we were explained the elaborate architecture it housed. Upon looking down, we saw a flight of steps going down along the interior wall of the cylindrical well (see image 6). The water in it is the water of the Nile as the well is connected to the River. Being situated within the temple complex it was accessible only by the priests and kings who were responsible for assessing the water level in the Nilometer, making predictions based on how many steps were inundated, before finally deciding the tax. Like our scientists today who use previous years’ data to fit into models, the ancient Egyptians too kept a record of the previous years’ flood level by keeping marks on the walls. Unfortunately, now these Nilometers have been rendered defunct after the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

5 Nilometer – outside view

6 Nilometer – inside view

Developmental Project, Relocation, and Resettlement

Continuing the discussion on floods, the construction of the Aswan High Dam was an effort to introduce controlled flooding alongside providing water for irrigation and generating hydroelectricity. The economic benefits of this developmental project have mainly been in agricultural and electrical production. The construction of the dam involved resettlement of about 50,000 Egyptians and relocation of ancient monuments as the reservoir, Lake Nasser, created by the dam has flooded the valley. The famous Abu Simbel temple was relocated to higher grounds and I did not understand that the temple was not built at its present place till the guide told me. Not only did I feel overawed seeing the gigantic facade of the temple, I felt awe at the acumen involved in making this relocation happen.

The relocation of the temple was a great feat achieved by archaeologists but it might have been easier than the relocation of the Nubians as the temple did not have a lifestyle and tradition entwined with its original land. Upon some research I learnt that the construction of the Aswan High Dam is not the first time that the Nubians were moving from their lands. During the construction and heightening of the Aswan Low Dam, these people moved to higher lands but after the construction of the High Dam their villages were submerged under Lake Nasser. The Egyptian government put in years of study to make this a successful planned resettlement by trying to replicate as many features of the Nubian villages and also by providing electricity, road network, and irrigational facilities.[1] However all don’t seem happy (as informed by our guide) with the resettlement as this new place hampers the traditional Nubian way of life in many ways. Some online research would also throw light on the gaps in the resettlement process. These lessons might be beneficial for other governments making efforts in planned resettlement.

7 Panoramic view of the Aswan High Dam

Migration then and now

The mystery behind the construction of pyramids still remains and there are countless theories trying to answer who constructed those and how they managed to achieve such a height of architectural precision in ancient times. One of the theories which I learnt was that the farmers from the plains came up to the Giza Plateau, when the Nile’s annual flood inundated their agricultural lands, to work as labourers in the construction of the Pyramids. Skilled architects and artists supervised these labour groups. My DECCMA-laced mind made a note of this example of seasonal migration from more than 3000 years ago which had an environmental factor (at the source) prompting it and an economic opportunity in the destination.

We got a very brief glimpse of migration today as our guide informed us that tourism being an important industry (tourism took a hit after the revolution in 2011 but is slowly picking up since 2016), people migrate to Cairo and Alexandria to work in the hotels, with tourist companies, or even as freelancing guides.

Sobek & Dakshin Rai

The Nile is famous for the Nile Crocodiles and the ancient Egyptians worshipped crocodile as god Sobek. The crocodile, although feared, was venerated and given a place in the temple of Kom Ombo, beside which there is now a Crocodile Museum showcasing the relevance of crocodiles in ancient Egypt with its large collection of mummified crocodiles. The worship was to please Sobek and pray so that he would not harm anyone. I saw this as an extension of the people of the Indian Sundarbans (West Bengal, India) worshipping the Royal Bengal Tiger in the form of Dakshin Rai (Lord of the South). Dakshin Rai is greatly feared in the delta but also worshipped along with Bon Bibi (guardian spirit of the forest) to not harm the people who venture into the forest for crab and honey collection. Separated by thousands of miles and years, the similarity in the belief of the two deltaic civilizations fascinated me.

Had DECCMA not happened to me, I would not have enjoyed my holiday the way I did – taking down notes on my phone, doing some online reading, drawing parallels across deltas, and wondering about things which would not have occurred to me otherwise. On learning about the tomb raiders I had a thought with which I shall end this post. The Great Pyramid of Giza and most of the tombs in the Valley of Kings have been wiped clean of artefacts and treasures which were believed to be there as was the ancient Egyptian custom to help the deceased continue onto the next life. I would like to believe that the tomb raiders who took these objects were in need of the money or wanted luxury and concentrated only on their immediate present which made them overlook the fact that their act was depriving hundreds of generations from witnessing a magnificent past of Egypt. Let us not be the tomb raiders for our future generations. We can do our little bits to not exploit the environment to meet our immediate needs and luxuries so that we do not deprive the future generations from witnessing a clean, healthy, and beautiful Earth.

[1] R. A. Beddis. The Aswan High Dam and the resettlement of the Nubian people. Geography 1963; 48(1): 79.

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2nd round of District Level Stakeholder Workshop, Bhadrak (Mahanadi Delta)

The second round of district level stakeholder workshop for the Mahanadi Delta was jointly organized by Chilika Development Authority and Sansristi on 12th September, 2017 at Bhadrak. Jadavpur University and Centre for Environment and Development provided technical inputs and guided in the planning process. The objectives of the workshop were –

  • Share DECCMA’s findings with respect to the work packages and seek stakeholders’ comments and observations 
  • Seek stakeholder feedback regarding Barriers to Policy implementation & Criteria for Successful Adaptation

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The participants in the workshop were from government departments, Banks, Universities, NGOs, CBOs, and SHGs. There were a total of 33 participants comprising 23 men and 10 women.

DECCMA was introduced and its objectives were shared. Following this, the findings from the project were shared with respect to governance analysis, risk, hazard, multi-hazard, net migration maps, household survey, and adaptation examples taking place in the DECCMA study area of the Mahanadi Delta. The findings were shared firstly at the study area level and then concentrated on the Bhadrak district for evoking better responses from stakeholders.

Barriers to Policy Implementation and Criteria for Successful Adaptation surveys were conducted. The questionnaires were translated into local language Odia and participants were handed out either the English version or Odia version depending on their preferences. The analyses of these surveys are currently being carried out by the team.

Insights were gained from stakeholders on the effects of climate change, vulnerability, migration and adaptation taking place in the Puri district of the Mahanadi Delta. Some key responses are as follows :

–         In migration and Out migration of the various blocks of the district have different reasons (eg Basudevpur and Chandbali). Seasonal migration needs to be captured.

–         The movement of men and women are different. The destination is generally Gujarat and South (Kerala). Young girls are also migrating independently to work in garment factories.

–          Fishing has been restricted for the Dhamra port, which in turn is affecting the livelihood of the people. This leads to migration.

–          To boost agriculture, many initiatives are being taken by the Govt department of Agriculture such as provision of crop insurance, supporting crop diversification, saline tolerant paddy supply, appointment of female agriculture officers, extension work  etc

–          Plantation of mangrove can reduce the cyclonic effect in coastal areas but it needs to be taken up by the communities in a large scale.

–          In pre disaster preparedness programmes, participation of women is good. In Flood/ Cyclone Shelter Management committees one third members are women.

–          In micro planning for livelihood (under Livelihood Mission), disaster is not specifically factored in.

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Capacity Building for Bangladeshi Researchers

Alex, Shourov, Rashed picture

Rashed, Alex and Shourov

Rashedul Islam and Manjurul Hussain Shourov of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) are visiting the University of Southampton to spend time with some of the team members of the ESPA Project ‘An assessment of the ecosystem service and livelihood implications of government development proposals in coastal Bangladesh’, including Prof. Robert Nicholls, Dr Attila Lazar and Dr Alex Chapman. In particular, Rashed and Shourov will be spending time with Attila, who, along with Dr Andres Payo of BGS, coded the ESPA model (ΔDIEM).

The purpose of the visit is to learn about the sensitivity of ΔDIEM, including the processes and coding of the model, how to run results, plot and export maps and how this can be developed in future projects.

ΔDIEM is a Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model developed during the ESPA Deltas project (www.espadeltas.net). It is used for the coastal region of Bangladesh and applies to nine districts.  It shows the relationship between biophysical and socio-economic factors, such as salinity, agricultural productivity, and poverty.  The basis of this integrated model is being used in the DECCMA project to assess migration and adaptation over a larger coastal study area in Bangladesh.  The capacity building gained from this secondment will be beneficial to both projects.

Rashed and Shourov’s visit to Southampton will enable them to explore the use of the model further, and particularly how it can be linked to the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP2100). BUET, the Bangladesh Government (GED) and the University of Southampton are working together to explore the potential of ΔDIEM as a tool for reducing poverty under climate change.

The aim is for Shourov and Rashed to return to Bangladesh, with the knowledge received from Dr Attila Lazar and the rest of the team and provide a knowledge transfer to the BUET team and the Bangladesh Government (GED). This can then be used to continue the development and use of the model within country.  ΔDIEM currently focuses on one of the hotspot areas in Bangladesh but the hope of Shourov, Rashed and the rest of the BUET team is to use the model for a further five vulnerability hotspots in Bangladesh.

Shourov’s aim whilst in Southampton is to learn as much about coding as possible as he is very motivated to push the boundaries of modelling in Bangladesh. Rashed confirmed that this model, with an area this large, is virtually unique and he hopes that it can be transferred to other areas of Bangladesh.

While in Southampton the visitors have enjoyed making use of the local Bengali restaurants and getting to know the families that run them!

DECCMA report and take home from the Resilience 2017 conference

by Ricardo Safra de Campos

DECCMA members Dr Anwara Begum (BIDS, Bangladesh) and Dr Ricardo Safra de Campos (University of Exeter, UK), pictured below, attended the fourth Resilience Conference “Resilience Frontiers for Global Sustainability”, held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 20-23 August 2017. Themes such as global tele-connectivity, power, place, practice, perspective-taking and other social aspects were highlighted as key factors for a “new renaissance” of transformation towards resilience. The role of spatial and translocal connections were addressed in two sessions dedicated to population movements and their outcomes.

Ricardo + Anwara

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Dr Anwara Begum (pictured below) presented the paper Risks of involuntary resettlement initiatives in Bangladesh in the session “Resettlement as Transformation” proposed by DECCMA member Helen Adams (UCL, UK) and chaired by Jennifer Hodbod. The focus of the session was on involuntary resettlements as deliberate actions, often decided upon by a few external actors, and implemented for positive objectives but with unpredictable outcomes, representing a microcosm to understand trade-offs and uncertainties in transformation. Other speakers in the session were Sophie Blackburn (King’s College London) presenting Challenges of ‘deliberate transformation’: Lessons from post-tsunami resettlement in the Andaman Islands, South India; and Christopher Lyon (University of Dundee) presenting Resettlement as refugia under extreme environmental change scenarios.

Anwara Begum

Based on fieldwork findings and literature analysis, Anwara’s talk focused on the challenges faced by resettled communities in Bangladesh due to limited infrastructure, social services, or support for livelihoods transition provided by formal government backed resettlement projects. Of the interviewed households in her research, many of those who received resettlement support were unsatisfied. More than 75 per cent of people wanted to return to their ancestral home because of their desire to reconnect with their sense of community and previous livelihoods. There was no consensus on the efficacy of resettlement as a policy, particularly for women and children. Some respondents suggested that greater effort should be placed on community-based adaptation instead.

DECCMA also participated in a session organised by the TransRe Project: “Mobility, translocality and the resilience of socio-ecological systems: Exploring concepts and empirical evidence.” Migration and the various dimensions of population movement was a topic present in many sessions of the conference, yet it was discussed in a topical manner as a disturbing factor external to social-ecological systems rather than as a field of resilience research in its own right. How migration could be addressed from a resilience perspective was discussed by three presenters.

First, Sabine Henry (University of Namur, Belgium) presented insights from recent research on the role of migration for the left-behind rural communities in Ecuador. Second, Till Rockenbauch (University of Bonn, TransRe-Project, Germany) presented conceptual considerations and methodological approaches for addressing the role of translocal social networks vis-à-vis different capacities of resilience. Third, I presented the conceptual framework of DECCMA’s integrative model developed by Attila Lazar in Work Package 5. My talk provided insights into the modelling of household decisions under development in collaboration with Attila Lazar and Helen Adams using a Bayesian Belief Networks approach.

The audience discussed themes around policy and practical outcomes and the relationship between migration and resilience. The speakers debated the situation of migrants at destination areas including employment, housing and living conditions that allow or deny migrants to send remittances and decrease their level of vulnerability. The (in)ability of household members in sending areas to transform financial and social remittances into adaptive and transformative capacities was also discussed by both audience and panelists. The session was productive as it underlined the diversity of concepts, approaches and major challenges to be addressed by future research. It remains to be seen whether the various forms of population movements will become a more integral part of resilience and transformation research in the future.

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Interview with #DECCMA5th Poster Winner – Gregory Cooper

Poster Greg Cooper

Greg Cooper poster

Gregory Cooper, PhD student at the University of Southampton, won the Poster Competition at DECCMA’s 5th Consortium Workshop in Kolkata (Aug 2016). Here he is interviewed.

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1. Why did you choose the topic for the poster?

This poster relates to the wider topic of my PhD, which focuses on exploring social-ecological tipping points and nonlinearities in delta systems. The Chilika lagoon of the Mahanadi delta, India, captured my interest due to its historical productivity collapse from 7200 tonnes/year (1980s average) to 3100 tonnes/year (1990s average), triggering declined fisher wellbeing, livelihood opportunities and the first recorded instances of economic migration from the region. Therefore, this poster communicates progress (September 2016) on the development of a systems dynamics model of Chilika’s fishery, to assess the causes and probabilities of future productivity collapses. The model’s structure and parameters show how the different components of the system fit together. The small section on model performance analysis argues that the model is capable of reproducing historical fishery trends. Thirdly, initial findings show that the model is producing realistic and policy relevant outputs, which may eventually inform the future governance of Chilika’s fishery.

2. What data sources have you used for the analysis?

The construction of the model has relied on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, from a mix of primary and secondary sources:

  • The rainfall-runoff models of the Lower Mahanadi and Chilika’s western catchments are built from daily resolution rainfall and temperature datasets from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Daily river discharge from Tikarapara on the Lower Mahanadi catchment is obtained from the Indian Central Water Commission’s ‘Water Resource Information System of India’.
  • Ecohydrological monitoring datasets of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) parameterise interactions between freshwater inflows to Chilika and lagoonal salinity, dissolved oxygen, temperature and aquatic vegetation coverage.
  • CDA datasets also inform the model’s socioeconomic components, including estimations of fisher populations, boat numbers, fish price, fishing costs, catch per unit effort and so on.
  • Interviews were conducted with Chilika’s stakeholders and experts to understand any qualitative feedbacks driving Chilika’s fishery catch. For example, Chilika’s fishers spoke of how they adapt fishing efforts to their perceptions of fish stock abundance, in an attempt to protect against overexploitation of Chilika’s resource. Moreover, interviews with Chilika’s scientists and governors have helped consider feasible management approaches to model, such as the necessity of continued sediment dredging and the difficulties of implementing productivity quotas.
  • With the exception of the hydroclimatic datasets, all data was obtained during the field visit of February-April 2016. I express gratitude to the CDA, Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project of Odisha and Jadavpur University for their kind assistance during my visit.

3. What’s the significance of your conclusions?

The model’s outputs have two main significances:

  • Although known since the lagoon’s ecorestoration in 2000, outputs support the argument that Chilika’s sediment requires periodic flushing to sustain fish catches. Without reopening, the lagoon’s main tidal outlet effectively closes by 2040, inhibiting the seasonal migration of 70% of Chilika’s marine and brackish species.
  • Outputs also show that higher annual catches do not necessarily mean higher income for Chilika’s fishers. Fish catch may decline beyond 2060 as fishers pursue alternative livelihoods, but per capita income is higher than it would otherwise be under a future without alternative livelihoods. By guarding against anthropogenic overexploitation, such falling catches promote the multidecadal sustainability of Chilika’s fish stock for future generations of fishers.
    Further work aims to assess how alternative governance approaches can enhance Chilika’s sustainability under a spectrum of plausible futures, before investigating critical driver thresholds leading to collapse, to design a “regional safe and just operating space” for Chilika.

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Indian Bengal Delta State Level Stakeholder Workshop 2nd Round

indian bengal stakeholder workshop

Indian Bengal stakeholder workshop

The second State level Stakeholders’ Workshop in Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) was organized with active support from Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal on 10th November, 2016 in Kolkata.

With this workshop, the DECCMA India team tried a new strategy to ensure wholesome participation from government departments. The team approached the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal, to send out invites for this workshop. A total of 19 Departments from the State Government Departments, and 4 Chambers of Commerce and 4 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were invited for the Meet through the office of the Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. This was beneficial as the number of senior government officials attending the workshop was more than the last workshop.

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The meeting was presided by the Principal Secretary, Mr. Arnab Ray, IAS, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Ray mentioned about the West Bengal State Action Plan on Climate Change and how the Line Departments are trying to implement the plan collectively.

DECCMA’s initial findings were shared with all to give an idea how we are approaching towards our research goals. The different government departments and NGOs were invited to share their experiences relating to DECCMA’s key areas of climate change, vulnerability, migration and adaptation. While the issue of climate induced migration due to possible loss of livelihood came up a number of times, we learnt of successful adaptation instances to make alternative livelihoods, renewable energy, viable for all.

Garnering stakeholders’ opinions and feedback is crucial to DECCMA’s research as it opts for a stakeholder-driven approach. Stakeholders’ feedbacks were collected on Evaluation Criteria of Successful Adaptation and Barriers to Policy Implementation. The research team, comprising members from Jadavpur University and Centre for Environment and Development, helped the attendees by guiding how to fill the questionnaires and resolving any queries. Difficulties with the questionnaire and suggestions to simplify those were received from the stakeholders.

This stakeholder workshop gave us a day to exchange our experiences, findings, and learning to strentgthen our work.

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Ghanaian DECCMA Stakeholder meet in Accra

On the 20th of October 2016, the DECCMA Ghana Team held a one-day Workshop for National Level Stakeholders at the Kofi Anan ICT Centre in Accra. A total of 52 participants made up of policy makers and technical experts from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with representation from Parliament and the Attorney General’s Department attended the workshop aimed at validating the Governance Analysis Report of the DECCMA Work Package 6.

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ghanaian stakeholder meet

Prof. Samuel Codjoe

In a clear departure from the usual mode of organising workshops, a skit was performed by actors from the University of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts to introduce participants to the workshop as well as outline the objectives of the DECCMA project. Professor Samuel Codjoe, the DECCMA Ghana PI welcomed participants to the workshop in a brief statement. A brief statement was also delivered by Mrs. Joy Poane, the Monitoring Officer of the Ghana Office of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

The increasing vulnerabilities of the deltaic areas was reiterated using the drone footage in combination with a short presentation. Similar to the District level engagement, the participants at the Workshop brainstormed on terminologies related to maladaptation and successful adaptation. Stakeholders at the meeting also evaluated the Barriers to implementation and the Adaptation Pathways for the Delta. The barriers to the implementation of policies as well as the successful adaptation surveys were also administered.

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5th DECCMA Consortium Meeting in Ffort Raichak near Kolkata, India

5th DECCMA meeting Ffort Raichak

Modelling team discussion

Before travelling to India for the 5th DECCMA consortium meeting I was constantly checking the weather forecast for Kolkata. Being one of the DECCMA northern team members and never having been in India before the idea of 35oC and heavy rain made me feel a bit uncomfortable. However on our way from the airport to our 70 km away conference venue Ffort Raichak nobody was thinking about rain (there was none) nor temperature. All that counted was hoping that the “mariokart – style” bus driver would deliver us at the hotel in one piece (which he did).

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Luckily we had the rest of the day to recover from the trip before the meeting took off in full speed. After half a day of meetings amongst our seven work packages each of them presented an up-date to the plenary. This was continued on the second day and followed by country up-dates.

Key to the country presentations were what we like to call the “wow!” findings – significant findings that contribute to the knowledge base on climate change, migration and adaptation.

Key emerging findings from Ghana relate to attitudes to migration in the context of environmental stress. Living in an area identified for its prevalence of out-migration, 43% of the respondents would consider migrating as a positive option in response to environmental change in the future. This perception is informed by having seen and heard of the cases of other migrants. Knowing this has important policy implications as Ghana considers how to support adaptation in the Volta delta.

Findings from the Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) also illuminate our understanding of migration processes. What is apparent there is that there are clear hotspots where people prefer to migrate. Again this has important policy implications in terms of knowing where population is likely to grow (or diminish) due to migration.

In the Mahanadi Delta findings counter the common belief that floods are bad and need to be stopped. People from various villages actually consider low and moderate intensity flood to be “Blessings in Disguise”. This is because floods bring prosperity to agricultural households. This occurs in three ways: agricultural production is improved firstly because of the improvements in soil fertility; and secondly because the floods eliminate weeds; and floods also bring fish which serve as an extra source of protein.

In Bangladesh, research on the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) delta highlighted their finding that thrust force is a critical cause of damage to infrastructure during storm surges. They are also investigating the duration of storm surge-driven salinity. These results have practical implications for adaptation, because local authorities can make well informed decisions when building or renewing infrastructure such as roads, houses and cyclone shelters in the affected regions.

Beyond the findings from each delta, it was great to see that GBM and IBD have joined forces to learn from each other. The entire team is really looking forward to their next joint steps and what emerges when the delta is considered as a biophysical system without the political boundaries.

Obviously a lot more exciting things were passed on between the researchers, and good plans were made for the coming months. But in such a large and geographically dispersed consortium, such meetings allow an invaluable opportunity for team building. Those of us that are new can put faces to the names previously only known through email addresses, and for those who knew each other already the opportunity to touch base again reinvigorates enthusiasm going forward.

By the way while being in Ffort Raichak there was hardly any rain but still it was so hot and humid that one was soaked form the inside when taking more than 10 steps outside an acclimatised room. However me personally I had the pleasure of experiencing very serious rain when staying on in Kolkata for a few days after the meeting.

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DECCMA invited to comment on the Draft Climate Change Action Plan of Odisha at the Mahanadi Stakeholder Workshop

The second round of State Level Stakeholder Workshop for the Mahanadi Delta, organized by Chilika Development Authority and Sansristi in collaboration with Jadavpur University (Lead Institution, DECCMA–India) was held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha on August 9, 2016.

The objectives of the workshop were to share some initial findings from DECCMA and receive stakeholder feedback on the same. The workshop also aimed to seek stakeholders’ responses to Barriers to Policy implementation in the context of adaptation and also learn what according to them should be the criteria for evaluating successful adaptation.

The stakeholders included representatives from Government Departments such as Department of Agriculture, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Forest and Environment-Climate change cell (Govt. of Odisha), ICZM Project-Odisha, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management. There were stakeholders from Utkal University and Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT), Scientific Institutions, NGOs, Network organizations, funding agencies and INGOs. District Forest Officials, Researchers and grass root civil society organizations. A total of 35 stakeholders (30 males and 5 females) attended the workshop and all signed the DECCMA Sign-In sheet as a part of the ethical considerations that the project undertakes.

Some noteworthy points that emerged from this workshop:

  • Paucity of gender disaggregated data in agriculture is an issue. Thus forming pro-gender policy is a challenge. A gender cell may come up soon to tackle the issue in a structured manner. The agriculture department is committed towards a gender inclusive policy.
  • With regard to migration, stakeholders mentioned that deltas are not only sending areas, but also receiving areas but there is paucity of data.
  • Stakeholders acknowledged that almost every year Odisha faces disasters like floods, droughts, cyclones etc. Most of the population along the coastal area depends on agriculture and fisheries and both are affected by climate change. And hence migration is imminent.
  • Stakeholders discussed about the registration process of migrants that is being done by the Panchayati Raj department. Tracking of migrants through these registers will be a good move to understand the dynamics of migration.
  • Some adaptation success stories were also shared which included training opportunities which has ensured migration of skilled labour to even international destinations. This has seen a boost in the local economy owing to the remittances being sent.

Representatives from the Department of Environment and Forest, Climate Change Cell shared that the action plan for Odisha was done in 2010, following which it has been evaluated in terms of its successful implementation and a document has been published incorporating the activities of the department. A draft action plan on climate change for the period 2015 to 2020 has been uploaded online. Having a working experience in Odisha on Climate Change, Migration, and Adaptation, DECCMA was invited to share its comments on the draft document.

This stakeholder interaction has given DECCMA a chance to participate in processes which will have effect on the end-users of its research.

DECCMA India’s Household Survey in Mahanadi Delta

The DECCMA Household Survey went live on May 31 2016 and was completed on July 19 2016. A survey company was appointed (according to our survey protocol) and representatives from Jadavpur University, Chilika Development Authority, and Sansristi were present from the project.

Prior to this, training of enumerators, field testing of the questionnaire with the use of tablets, were done.

Households from fifty locations within our study area were selected for this survey based on migrant and non-migrant as emerged from our household listing activity. The survey team travelled to four locations in Bhadrak district, eight locations in Jagatsinghpur district, five locations in Kendrapara district, twelve locations in Khordha district, and twenty one locations in Puri district to complete this survey.

A total of 1427 households were surveyed which included both migrant and non-migrant households, and male and female respondents. DECCMA’s gender sensitive approach ensured that male enumerators interviewed male respondents and female enumerators interviewed female respondents.

The biggest challenge faced by the team during this activity was the heat wave. Odisha was suffering heat wave conditions since April and temperatures almost touched 50 degree Celsius during the survey. Necessary precautions were taken by carrying sufficient water and glucose. The afternoons were the worst and we had members from the survey team suffering blackouts due to the extreme heat. Some had to be hospitalised as well. Under such conditions, the survey had to be paused for a few days.

During the data collection phase, some locations were revisited to maximise the response percentage. This was done since during the main data collection phase, there were some households where members were not present or unavailable to give responses at our time of visit.

Simultaneously with the data collection, continued the data checking processes. The research team put in hard efforts to ensure that checking was done meticulously. The data from this survey will be guiding most of our research work.

Since the DECCMA Indian team works in two deltas (Indian Bengal Delta and Mahanadi Delta), learning from this survey in Mahanadi Delta will help us in implementing it in the survey for the Indian Bengal Delta.

The DECCMA-India team thanks all who have participated, guided, contributed, and helped in this Mahanadi Household Survey activity.