PROJECT: Deepening and Expanding Heat Health Action in India
Project Reference: TAAS-0041
In 2013, the city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat State, India, adopted and started 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 was building on this momentum to deepen and expand action on extreme heat.
In Ahmedabad, the team institutionalised 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 was 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 helped to build a strong surveillance and monitoring system for extreme heat.
Expansion and scaling-out happened on a number of fronts. Engagement and technical support to the Gujarat State Government has mainstreamed 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 over three years led 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 attempted to leverage national and other programmes to facilitate wider scaling-out.
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.
CDKN Funding: GBP 300,000