The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations in Building Climate and Disaster Resilience in Bihar (India)

Authors: Shivangi Prasad*, University of Miami
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Asia, Cultural Ecology
Keywords: Nongovernmental organizations; climate adaptation; India
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In Bihar, one of the most impoverished agricultural states in India, climate impacts such as droughts, monsoonal floods, and changing precipitation patterns, have started affecting lives and livelihoods across urban and rural landscapes. Here, climate adaptation plans formulated by the central and state governments are complemented by a bottoms up approach where community stakeholders become active participants in the adaptation process. Such citizenship engagement and empowerment is often facilitated by grassroots level nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs are not-for-profit civil society organizations that operate independently of government for a range of humanitarian issues, including climate change issues. Through a pilot survey of 12 NGOs, this study is an attempt to understand the following aspects of NGO’s role in addressing climate change in Bihar: (1) prioritization of climate issues vis-a-vis other acute issues such as sanitation, water access, education, and female empowerment (2) collaborations and partnerships that create linkages between local and national entities (3) approaches and strategies to building grassroots level resilience (4) Specific focus areas within the broad areas of climate change and natural disasters. The overarching goal is to assess the advantages that NGOs can bring to local level implementation of national policies. This exploratory study provides useful insights into the workings of and challenges faced by NGOs in building climate resiliency in extremely vulnerable communities that score low on indices such as human development, social progress, and general well-being.

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