In a first of its kind approach, Environment Support Group, supported by the Commonwealth Foundation, is in the process of evolving a socially inclusive and deeply democratic climate action plan for Bengaluru!
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In January 2021, Mr. N Manjunatha Prasad, IAS, then Commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), announced the decision to “support the implementation of the Paris Agreement” and to “commit the City of Bengaluru to develop and begin implementing a climate action plan (or series of plans) that will deliver action consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.” In order to assist the metropolis in developing strategies aimed at meeting the Paris Agreement targets, Environment Support Group (ESG) initiated a webinar series to deliberate upon the steps needed to make the city more climate friendly.
During the webinars various thematic issues, concerns and imaginaries were discussed by stakeholders including the State, BBMP, subject experts, youth, representatives of various sectors and residents from diverse sections of the society. Such detailed interactions resulted in the inquiry of viable solutions to build the climate action plan with equitable participation. The outcome of the series of webinars has been compiled into a booklet accessible here. In this context, ESG, with the support of the Commonwealth Foundation, is in the process of evolving a participatory, socially inclusive and deeply democratic climate action plan for Bengaluru from the ground-up. Owing to the varied demographics of economic, socio-cultural and geographic backgrounds of people in the city, the methodology is tailored to recognize and meet the needs of all stakeholders who are most susceptible to climate change and its unfortunate consequences. In order to ensure a ground-up plan, ESG is conducting a series of consultations with marginalized groups, ward committee members, academia, public officials and civil society, to observe and deduce a clear understanding of the community-specific climate challenges in the city.
The principal aim is to guarantee that the opinions of the groups that are disproportionately impacted and susceptible, together with the wider community, are acknowledged and taken into account when improving climate policies. A guidebook will include the recommendations from these consultations. Along with the manual, ESG will produce vulnerability maps for every zone in the city, which will make it easier to develop and carry out inclusive climate action plans at the ward level all throughout the city. Based on their unique demography, other metropolises can apply a similar decentralized model.
Consultation 1 – Engaging Senior Citizens
The first consultation in the series was held on 28th November 2023 with senior citizens at Beneath The Mango Tree, Benson Town. The participants included resident senior citizens of the area and representatives from an assisted living facility in the neighborhood. More often than not, senior citizens are neglected in key policy matters despite their experienced knowledge, as written by Bhargavi Rao of ESG in the News Click.
Aligning with the objective of such consultations, the discussion revealed several aspects of how climate change amplified existing difficulties faced by senior citizens living in the metropolitan region. The first consultation in the series was held on 28th November 2023 with senior citizens at Beneath The Mango Tree, Benson Town. Please find the report of the same here.
Workshop-cum-Consultation with Landfill-Impacted Commuities
On 16th December, 2023, ESG held a consultation with the landfill-impacted community at Mavallipura, Bangalore North. The discussion brought to light the various challenges posed by climate change on communities that are already facing the generational impact of the two decades-old landfills at Mavallipura. These challenges encompass social, economical, health and nutritional impacts. The consultation also resulted in the identification of multiple strategies to reduce the climate impacts in these specifically marginalised communities which includes provision of basic facilities such as clean water, nutritious food, functional and accessible PHCs, health camps, child care facilities, restoration of farmland, and other strategies. Read the detailed report of the consultation here.
Click here to view press coverage.
Consultation 3 – Sex Workers Community
On 18th December, 2023, ESG conducted a consultation with the community of sex workers, in collaboration with the Sadhana Mahila Sangha, SIEDS and Gamana Women’s Collective. The interactive discussion revealed the multitude of challenges faced by individuals within a profession that is deeply stigmatised. The women not only live their daily lives in unsanitary environments without basic facilities, but also live with constant fear over their health and safety, and continue to face harassment and violence as an outcome of the deep-rooted stigma for the profession. The discussion revealed how climate change is further exacerbating their difficulties in simply making a living, and led to the identification of various strategies that would alleviate the impact of climate change. Read the detailed report of the consultation here.