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GUIDE: Heat action plans – Scaling up India’s ambition to protect the climate-vulnerable

Heatwaves may not conjure the powerful imagery of a flash flood or cyclone, but they can be damaging for society and dangerous – even deadly – for vulnerable individuals. However, reducing this risk is within the grasp of city authorities, and cities and states in India are leading the way in taking effective action.

This CDKN Guide presents the story of how an action research initiative in a single city in India has evolved into contagious policy action in 17 cities and 11 states, with interest from national leadership. By starting small and learning by doing, heat-wave planning and response has become increasingly ambitious in Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat state, and success there has had a strong demonstration effect.

This Guide outlines what other cities can learn from this experience for tackling the heat risk and also for other urban challenges. It focuses on the factors that have enabled this success. This includes the process of devising and rolling out Heat Action Plans, which have been pioneered in Ahmedabad as follows:

  • ƒƒPreparing an early warning system and heat-wave response plan, and building inter-agency coordination and communication for delivery.
  • ƒƒBuilding public awareness and community outreach about the risks posed by heat waves and the measures that individuals can take to protect themselves.
  • ƒƒBuilding capacity among the medical community and health-care professionals to recognise and respond to heat-related illnesses. This includes training, and involvement of health professionals in community outreach.
  • ƒƒLonger-term adaptation measures to reduce the urban heat-island effect and the physical threat from extreme heat. This can include measures such as cool roofs, minimising air pollution, and tree planting.