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FEATURE: CDKN’s film “For a safer future” gets its Indian premiere

Aditi Paul, CDKN’s Country Programme Manager for India reports on the premiere of ‘For a safer future – Insights on climate resilience from India’, a well-received film charting the experiences of Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG) to integrate climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction in their flood-prone district.

A documentary film produced through the CDKN- ICLEI initiative for sub-national learning, “For A Safer Future”, received it’s premiered in India, New Delhi, on 9th of September.

Featuring some of the next practices as an answer to complex issues of integrating climate information into disaster risk planning,the film showcases a more robust, definite strategy towards addressing climate induced disasters and their ensuing fallout. TERI India have effectively manged to highlight the extreme events challenges faced by the people of Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh and how the “Shared Learning Dialogue Mechanism” has made for an effective, holistic response.

Designed by the Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG) , in association with ISET-International, India and National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), the film is about empowerment -knowledge of changing weather patterns and adapting to climate change by applying local solutions to local issues; with views of district authorities to civil societies organisations to farming communities, the film helps the viewer understand the unified message of driving an agenda collectively, especially that of women as change agents – catalysts in helping reduce climate vulnerability, enhance adaptation capacity and build community resilience.

The showing was followed by a lively question and answer session on the issues raised in the film. While applauding the efforts of all this behind the film, Mr. Anil Kumar from NIDM expressed certain reservations. “We have come a long-way through our project supported by CDKN. However, until there a wider scale application of such initiatives, we will remain effective in saving Gorakhpur only”.

Dr. B. N. Sathpathy from NITI Aayog, known as the policy think-tank of the Government of India, said: “There should be more such films, asorganisations such NITI Aayog can use them as an effective learning tools”. He also spoke on thefour essential elements for effective integration between CCA and DRR ; villages/ communities as units of integration, use of efficient technology for forecasting,generating resources to support implementation and exploring mechanisms for bringinghome lessons learned on the ground to policy makers. The film actually addresses all these elements, he said, except for “a need of a framework for policy inputs”.

Mr. Amit Mitra, a disaster management and gender equality expert, termed the film an effective “visual document” and said that 20mins is not enough to capture the transformation in Gorakhpur. Echoing Dr. Sathpathy’s remarks, he said the film can be a good tool for training purposes but needs to be supported by more case study materials.

Mr. Sunandan Tiwari from ICLEI stated that “if a film like this can stimulate an effective discussion, our job is more or less done”!

In conclusion, Mr. Kamal Kishore, from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that “the film conveys a rich, multi-layeredmessage. Diversification of risk at farm level, inclusive planning by local authorities, using local innovations to save lives during disaster and preventive planning well presented in the film”.

So for CDKN, the event was a success on two fronts – Policy and Knowledge: The project has made the great leap forward through the success of the Gorakhpur project; more importantly, through film, it has managed to effectively convey the positives of the project.

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