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.

Sharing Research Experiences: The CARIAA Ghana example

sharing research experiences

Sharing research experiences

Research into Use (RiU) is a key tool in the CARIAA Theory of Change (ToC) for engagements through the project cycle to the dissemination of research products with the objective of influencing changes in development, adaptation policy and practice. The CARIAA Ghana projects; Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) and Deltas, vulnerability, Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) seized the opportunity presented during the recent Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa (CCPOP Ghana2016) to share their experiences in the use of RiU strategies as part of their research activities.

The annual CCPOP, organized by the Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana is a trans-disciplinary conference that brings together scientists from all over the world in a bid to promote lessons on the best scientific practices with potential development impacts on Africa. Inspired by the active orientation of the discourse around climate change and Ghana’s commitment to the iNDCs, this year’s Conference focused on Research-Into-Use (RiU), policy frameworks and intervention projects that have made a difference in climate change mitigation or adaption efforts hence the theme: “Building bridges and Research into-Use”. The conference drew participants from policy, research, national institutions and the academia including student poster presentations.

The moderated RiU panel which run parallel to other sessions was held at the auditorium of the Nogouchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) under the theme RiU in action: Before, During and after the Research and drew over fifty (50) participants from policy, research and the academia including the Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University and a former head of the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Ghana, Professor E. Nyarko.

The panel shared with the audience how the ASSAR (Lawra and Nandom districts) and the DECCMA (Volta delta) projects are using RiU and other stakeholder engagements process to improve the understanding of vulnerability, wellbeing and adaptation issues in their respective study areas. Through the use of videos and oral interaction, the discussants illustrated how CARIAA approaches its research differently by keeping RiU central to the concept of its TOC. Specifically, the use of participatory tools such as the Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) and the Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) processes were explained. The use of innovative tools/techniques to communicate vulnerability to impacts was also stressed using the DECCMA drone footage of Fuveme (a flooding coastal community) as an example.

The Oxfam Ghana (Tamale) advocacy Officer and the Deputy Municipal Officer of the Keta Municipality who respectively are from the research areas of ASSAR and DECCMA also shared their views of how to effectively partner with institutions and the local communities to successfully execute projects. The discussions also showed practical examples of appropriate two-way collaboration between vulnerable communities and scientific research teams and, highlighted effective tools for communicating climate change adaptation to local communities.

Generally, the audience were enthused about the innovative attempt and willingness on the side of the CARIAA consortia to share information with other practitioners. The audience also emphasized the need for increased collaboration between the research community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have presence in the study communities for a more holistic engagement.

See here for news on the Conference and Photos

Out-migration and effects on women in the Mahanadi delta

DECCMA is committed to providing policy support to develop sustainable, gender-sensitive adaptations within deltaic environments. Taking a gender-sensitive approach to the research process, and ensuring that data can be analysed with a gender lens, are integral to achieving this aim.

Awareness of the importance of gender has increased as a result of global commitments, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action. The recently-announced Sustainable Development Goals includes one where the aim is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality and empowerment of women also features in the text of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At local level, however, gender differences are pervasive. Understanding context-specific differences in the roles of men and women, and the relations between them, is essential. Only when these are known is it possible to ensure that planned adaptations are equitable and contribute to gender equality.

In this clip, University of Southampton PhD researcher Giorgia Prati explains how she is investigating the effects of out-migration on women left behind in the Mahanadi delta, India.

Characteristics of migration in Satjalia Island in the Indian Bengal Delta

Migration is a complex phenomenon. DECCMA defines migration as “the process by which individuals or whole households leave their usual place of residence for another geographic location, usually crossing an administrative or national border and remaining for at least six months, usually as a result of a change in the relative attractiveness, real or perceived, of the usual place of residence with respect to the destination.”

At the same time, DECCMA recognises that migration is multi-dimensional. The duration and distance of migration vary, as do the migration patterns of men and women in different contexts. Dr Tuhin Ghosh and his colleagues from Jadavpur University in Kolkata have been investigating the nature of migration in Satjalia Island in the Indian Bengal delta.

Local residents in Satjalia island have been trained to undertake a participatory household survey to investigate the nature of migration patterns. Climate change and environmental change are among the stresses contributing to migration, as sea level rise is higher than average, and the high population density exacerbates those at risk when river embankments fail.

The island experiences a variety of migration types, by men and women. In-migration and out-migration are both occurring, and on both a seasonal and permanent basis. Just over half of the migrants are men who migrate on a seasonal basis in search of work. In this clip, Dr Ghosh explains the results from the nearly-3000 surveyed households.

The nature of migration, and the destinations, strongly reflects dominant roles for men and women. The majority of seasonal male migrants are working age (36-55) and their main destinations are peri-urban areas in other cities, where they are able to find work as labourers. The rate of migration of women is much lower, and the destinations are typically urban centres (of cities closer to Satjalia) where they can find work within the domestic and childcare spheres. More information on this project was profiled on the TransRe website in March 2016 in a blog on “Understanding internal migration patterns in the Indian Bengal delta”

Migration, resettlement, river erosion and cyclones; WP 3 Fieldwork in Bangladesh – May 2016

migration fieldwork in bangladesh

Migration fieldwork in Bangladesh

Of all the countries in the world, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The regular and severe environmental hazards that already batter the country – tropical cyclones, river erosion, flood, landslides and drought – are all projected to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of global environmental change. Fieldwork conducted in the Lakshmipur district, southeast of Dhaka, enabled Northern and Bangladesh WP 3 members to observe first-hand how the effects of cyclones such as Roanu (heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge) together with the impact of Meghna river erosion affect the daily lives and livelihoods of inhabitants of Lakhipur and Ramgoti. The WP3 team in the field consisted of Dr Anwara Begum (BIDS), Mr Rashed Bhuiyan and Mr Mahmudol Hasan Rocky (RMRRU), and Dr Ricardo Safra de Campos (University of Exeter), with logistical support provided by BUET.

As part of our work associated with resettlement, displacement and abandonment, the fieldwork team interviewed local government officials in Lakhipur and Ramgoti, members of governmental agencies in Dhaka, NGO representatives, resettled communities and members of households residing in vulnerable localities. In total, 19 stakeholder interviews were conduct by the WP 3 field team covering resettlement policy design and implementation. The fieldwork also included visits to resettlement projects in Ramgoti Upazila where researchers conducted interviews and collected empirical evidence on perceptions, expectations, and material and subjective wellbeing of local families. Among other findings, the interviews revealed the magnitude of the impact of riverbank erosion in Ramgoti. The mighty Meghna River has already engulfed 37 kilometres of the 96 kilometre flood protection embankment covering the Ramgati and Kamalnagar Upazilas, putting agricultural land, homes and local infrastructure at risk. These and the many other adverse effects of climate change will have profound repercussions for the economy and development of the country.

One of the most important impacts related to climate change and environmental hazards will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of loss of homes, lands, property and livelihoods. For many inhabitants of deltaic areas in the country, spatial mobility in the form of permanent, seasonal and circular migration has become an integral part of life. Over past decades, a significant proportion of men and women in those areas have become migrant workers in order to sustain their families back home. The vast majority of this population movement takes place internally presenting the government with enormous challenges such as addressing key issues of housing, income-generating activities and access to frontline services such as health, education and basic sanitation in large urban centres such as Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna.

Other objectives of the field activity included pre-testing the preliminary draft of the migrant receiving area questionnaire in localities in Dhaka that concentrate large numbers of migrants. The WP 3 team visited the informal settlement districts of Mirpur-12, Bholar Bosti, Molla Bosti and Duaripara. Interviews with local residents of these localities revealed a variety of migration pathways, histories and driving factors including an environmental factor – whether climate related or not. Virtually all stakeholders interviewed suggested that rural to urban migration will continue to slums. Due to the lack of adequate income, food, water, shelter and basic amenities these migrants might be drawn into a cycle of poverty and indebtedness, as labour migration is often costly in itself. Nonetheless, those families that cannot employ migration as an option to improve their living condition might be worse off. These people may be ‘trapped’ in a deteriorating environment where traditional forms of livelihood are unsustainable and poverty and social disadvantage are a constant presence in their everyday lives.

Training of Enumerators for Sending Area Survey in the Volta Delta, Ghana

training of enumerators

Training of enumerators

DECCMA Ghana Work Package Three (WP3) has trained 30 Field Enumerators (FEs) and 6 Supervisors for the Sending Area Household Surveys in the Volta Delta. The Sending Area Survey involves some 1500 households in 50 Enumeration Areas (EAs) across 9 Administrative Districts within the Volta Delta stretching from Prampram in the Greater Accra region to Aflao in the Volta region.

The DECCMA project is aimed at analysing the impacts of climate change and other environmental drivers across deltas in Africa and Asia. This Household survey together with other participatory research and economic methods will be used to analyse the processes of migration across the deltas.

The four-day (3-6 May) training held at the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana took participants through the survey instruments, the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) as well as a pilot survey in Oshiyie near Kokrobite in Accra. The training covered specific areas with respect to data collection such as community entry, questionnaire administration, as well as safety on the field. The enumerators were also taken through the various sections of the Household Head and Individual Questionnaires.
Following a thorough discussion of the various sections of the questionnaires in the hard copy format, the FEs formed three groups according to the languages spoken in the study area (Ewe, Ga/Dangbe and Twi). After several bouts of translation exercises and role plays, the Computer Aided Personal Interviewer (CAPI) was introduced and similar role play sessions carried out. At this point, a number of omissions and errors were detected while additional comments and suggestions were made on how to improve the final instrument.

On the final day of training, the FEs together with the trainers visited a fishing community along the coast of Accra and carried out a 4 hour pilot interview with members of the Oshiyie Community following the regular protocols of community entry which included a visit to the Chief of the town.

To ensure that the data collected meet the highest standards for synchronization and comparison with data from other Deltas, a Survey Structure which consists of an apex Survey Headquarters (based at RIPS), Supervisors and finally the Field Enumerators at the base was put in place. The Supervisors are directly in charge of all field operations including daily assignment of surveys to enumerators, community entry, editing, approval, collation and onward transmission of data to the Survey Headquarters who have final authority in accepting or rejecting completed instruments submitted through the Supervisors.

Beyond the three main elements of the structure, there are also a standby Teams of Observers and Monitors who would carry out regular visits to field teams to observe their work, make suggestions to Supervisors as well as the Headquarters on the progress of work among others.

Follow our posts on our Google+ page and also visit our blog for more updates on Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) Ghana activities.

Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture for Climate Change Adaptation

integrated shrimp aquaculture

Shrimp aquaculture in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta

Shrimp aquaculture started in GBM delta during 1980s and mainly within coastal polders. It expanded rapidly where salinity was suitable. However, there was much concern on environmental and social grounds due to mal-practice of shrimp culture and diseases. In course of time, shrimp culture practice and areas of shrimp culture changed and mix culture took hold at many places. Integrated or mix farming with less environmental and social conflicts appears to have great potential as an adaption option to climate change in the coastal zone. Recently, a field survey has been conducted to learn more about this adaption option and appears to hold great promises.

It has been found that integrated farming is propagating in areas with salinity lower than 15 ppt. Various forms of integrated and mix farms can be seen. Such farms adopts a combination of crops such as brackish water shrimp (bagda), freshwater shrimp (golda), tilapia, other fin fish, crab, horticulture/agriculture (dry season vegetables and paddy) and Geese/duck. Usual cropping pattern would be Bagda-Paddy, Golda-Paddy, Golda-Bagda-Agriculture. These integrated farming systems are developed by farmers through trial and error with little extension support from line agencies. However, such integrated approaches usually are difficult to be supported by single line agency. Extension support for such integrated farming will require a completely different extension model. These integrated approaches would be more resilient, cost effective, rational use of resources to climate change condition.

It is apprehended that in climate change condition new areas of GBM Delta will be inundated and salinity will intrude farther. Many areas may not remain suitable for paddy farming and may be considered for shrimp aquaculture. In such situation only good practices with integrated form may be one of the adaptive solutions. Based on investigation made during 2015-16 by IWFM, BUET under DECCMA study, several integrated and sustainable shrimp farming practices in Chitalmari and Fakirhat of Bagerhat District has been found where horizontal and vertical expansion of this aquaculture pattern absorbed seasonal and local unemployed youth including women. It is observed that in these areas farmer opted brackish water shrimp in one season and freshwater shrimp in another season. In between, farmers considered Tilapia and other fin fishes and also horticulture/agriculture. The yield and income has been profitable and sustainable. There are indications that such integrated/mix farms reduces migration too.

So far, integrated farming is mostly seen in the Khulna region. It is not seen much in Barisal or Chittagong region. With climate changed condition it is estimated that more areas will become brackish especially in some areas in Pirojpur, Jhalokathi and Barisal. It is apprehended that people would prefer mix shrimp-fish culture (towards integration) as salinity level will not be high to choose for Bagda alone and not so less to continue with rice farming. So there will be scope for integrated fish-shrimp-horticulture. Thus, existing coverage of integrated farming though not very high but in future it will be considerable especially if there is adequate extension support. In future, integrated farming involving marine fish may also take hold where salinity would be little high. Again it will require new form of extension services.

Integrated shrimp aquaculture also observed other Deltas under DECCMA study. In Mahanadi Delta in India especially in the Chandipur area at the outfall of Subarnarekha River within permissible salinity range. In Volta Delta in Ghana Shrimp Farming not yet flourished. One farm established in 2013 (including a hatchery) in the Ada East District and created job opportunity for many people.

Examples of adaptation to climate change in deltas

examples of adaptation

Examples of adaptation

The DECCMA WP6 partners have been recording examples of adaptation that are in practice across our study sites. These examples, from literature and observation, are being collated into Adaptation Inventories for each area – a database of current adaptation practices that are being utilised to combat climate change in deltas.

For a sneak peak at some of the types of adaptation that have been recorded, see these illustrated examples:
Mahanadi Delta, India
Volta Delta, Ghana
Ganges Brahamputra Meghna Delta, Bangladesh
Indian Bengal Delta, India

The full Adaptation Inventories will be completed later in 2016.