By Sagarika Chandel, KIIT School Of Law, Bhubaneswar.
The Adaptation Fund is a financial instrument under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol that has been established with an objective to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are party to the Kyoto Protocol. This is an effort to reduce the adverse effects of climate change as faced by different communities, countries and sectors. This fund was proposed in 2001 and made operational in 2009. Activities supported by the fund include:
- Water resources management, land management, agriculture, health, infrastructure development, fragile ecosystems;
- Improving the monitoring of diseases and vectors affected by climate change, and related forecasting and early-warning systems, and in this context improving disease control and prevention;
- Supporting capacity building, including institutional capacity, for preventive measures, planning, preparedness and management of disasters relating to climate change;
- Strengthening existing and, where needed, establishing national and regional centres and information networks for rapid response to extreme weather events, utilising information technology as much as possible.
The Government of India, on 10th July, 2014, allocated Rs. 100 crore for the establishment of the ‘National Adaptation Fund’ on Climate Change. Climate change can be defined as a change in global or regional climate patterns, and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather around longer-term average conditions. Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiations received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions.
The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley while presenting his maiden budget announced to establish the aforementioned Fund for climate change. The Government, through this had recognized that climate change is an increasingly crucial issue which is faced by all of us. More importantly, agriculture is most prone to the vagaries of nature and climate change.
Also, the government also announced a proposal to have a National Centre for Himalayan Studies in Uttarakhand with an initial outlay of Rs. 100 crore to study how glacial melt impacts Indian climate. It is true that the Himalayan Studies have not been given the due recognition in our country and the Finance Minister through the monetary allocation of Rs. 100 crore, apportioned in the country the money required for conducting the Himalayan Studies. The Finance Minister also announced a sum of Rs. 500 crore for establishing a “Price Stabilization Fund”. Price Stabilization Fund is a fund created by Government of India to mitigate price volatility in the agriculture produce which create uncertainties and hardship for the farmers. This fund is going to be deposited with Public Account of Government of India. This fund will not be used to meet the money needs. The interest that the government will be earning on these funds will be utilized to meet the needs of the growers. Thus, through the creation of this fund some sort of financial relief to the farmers or growers against the volatility of prices of agricultural commodities in the market is given. Currently, this fund covers tea, coffee and cardamom.
The Budget also focused on clean energy with an announcement of Rs. 500 crore to take up Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Ladakh in J&K. The government also announced a scheme for solar-power driven agricultural pump sets and water pumping stations for energising one lakh pumps with an allocation of Rs 400 crore. Also, focus was laid on renewable sources of energy, promotion of wind energy in our country, implementation of projects as Green Energy Project, and reducing the custom duty by providing concessions on machinery and equipment required to set up compressed Biogas plants.
Adaptation Fund is an important step towards the recognition of the crucial subject as climate change which is increasingly gaining momentum due to the constant change in atmospheric and environmental factors. Through the National Adaptation Fund, the Government of India has made an effort to meet the growing problems faced due to increasing climate change and through these measures- like the Ultra solar power projects and solar power pump sets, the pressure on the extinction of resources can be reduced. By focusing on environmental friendly measures, the environment can be preserved and the terrestrial ecosystem and biodiversity can be protected. The National Adaptation Fund is an important step towards realising this objective. Through this Fund, the long neglected subject of Himalayas has also been given due consideration. It is known that excessive climate change has adversely affected the Himalayan glaciers and glacial lakes. Himalayas are warming faster and it is of paramount importance that they are preserved for the very fundamental reason that half of the world’s population gets its water from the glacial melts and rainfalls in the Himalayas and other lofty peaks. Climate change needs to be controlled to stop its interference with Nature.
In today’s world where scientists have urged a global ‘wake up call’ to deal with climate change, steps as the like of this fund have become immensely essential. Now the implementation of the objectives is the next big step which needs to be duly met to bring about required positive results and ensure that the allocated resources are not wasted.