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Deepening and Expanding Heat Health Action in India


Project Reference: TAAS-0041

In 2013, the city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat State, India, adopted and has begun implementing the first Heat Action Plan in South Asia. This was the result of two years of research, engagement and awareness-raising carried out by a local-international consortium and with CDKN support. Please see here for the full details on this initial phase.

The project has been recognised nationally and internationally for its success in bringing heat health issues to the fore and there is now new interest in climate-induced extreme heat preparedness and demand to scale up this project in India. Based on learning from the project’s first phase, and interest from other state and municipal governments in India, the next phase is building on this momentum to deepen and expand action on extreme heat.

In Ahmedabad, the team is institutionalising the impact of the action plan by ensuring it is firmly embedded within the Government system and is reaching the most at risk. The Government is being supported to assess implementation of the plan to date, update and refine policies, and deepen implementation, for example by working with sectors and groups which directly affect the vulnerable (e.g. construction industry, police) and further operationalising the early warning system. To ensure the project’s legacy, the team are helping to build a strong surveillance and monitoring system for extreme heat.

Expansion and scaling-out is happening on a number of fronts. Engagement and technical support to the Gujarat State Government will mainstream heat-health action within the State Action Plan on Climate Change and sectoral policies and plans. A process of engagement and research with two new cities in different geographical zones will over three years lead to policy action on extreme heat which is appropriate and relevant to each city. Lastly, through a dedicated learning and knowledge management component, the project will attempt to leverage national and other programmes to facilitate wider scaling-out.

This project was selected as one of the top 20 for the Munich Re Risk Award 2015, which was presented at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, March 2015.

 

Update

Nagpur, Maharashtra. In the heart of the subcontinent, the city of Nagpur and neighboring cities Chandrapur, Gondia, Akola, Nanded and Jalgaon are devising heat action plans to be adopted ahead of the 2016 heat season. For seven consecutive summers, the city has seen temperatures exceed 45°C (113°F). Through efforts led by the Maharashtra State Public Health Department and Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Nagpur is on track to become the second city and Maharashtra will become the first state to adopt regional heat preparedness plans in India.

Surat, Gujarat. Located along Gujarat’s western coast, the city of Surat’s high humidity compounds the health impacts of extreme temperatures each year. Surat’s heat action plan could create the groundwork for a regional or state-level heat resilience plan in Gujarat.

Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The state of Odisha suffered an historic heat wave in 1998, with more than 2,000 people losing their lives. The city of Bhubaneswar, which also experiences high humidity, is working with the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority to expand its regional disaster planning based on the Ahmedabad model to prepare for rising temperatures.

Key cities, NRDC and IIPH are also working with the Indian government to mainstream heat wave planning at the state and national levels. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) plays a critical role at the national to local level, providing cities with guidance on using weather forecasts and determining temperature thresholds to declare heat alerts. IMD is supporting the scaling up of Heat Action Plans by strengthening and coordinating forecast communication to the cities. The Indian National Disaster Management Authority has also started providing guidelines for heat-related disaster risk reduction plans to increase communities’ resilience to extreme heat and overall capacity in climate adaptation efforts across India.

Publications and resources

Inside Story: Addressing heat-related health risks in urban India: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan
Action Plan: Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan 2014
Feature Story: Feature: Vibrant Gujarat – Evaluating Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan

At a side event at COP21 in Paris, December 2015, NRDC released a new ‘How To’ manual or toolkit detailing steps to develop an urban Heat Action Plan based on the Ahmedabad experience.

City Resilience Toolkit: Response to Deadly Heat Waves and Preparing for Rising Temperatures.

CDKN Funding: GBP 300,000
Project Manager: Aditi Paul (aditi.paul@cdkn.org)

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Project Highlights

credit Neil Palmer/CIAT

REPORT: Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan 2014

This publication, the 2014 Heat Action Plan is an updated version of the first comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events in India launched in Ahmedabad last year. The Plan creates immediate and longer-term actions to increase preparedness, information-sharing, and response coordination to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations.
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