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Managing Climate Change, Water Resources, and Food Security in South Asia

Presentation at 6th South Asia Economic Summit Colombo, Sri Lanka 2-4 September 2013

South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment (SWATEE) Kathmandu, Nepal

Presentation outline
Evidences of climate change Increased vulnerability of climate change What is at stake? Impacts on water resources Impacts on agriculture and food security Measures at national level Measures at regional level Conclusions

Is climate change real: some evidences of climate change

Observed climate change in different countries in South Asia Country Change in temperature Bangladesh Increasing trend of about 1oC in May and 0.5oC in November from 1985 to 1998 India 0.68oC increase/century with increasing trends in annual mean temperature and warming more pronounced during post monsoon and winter Nepal 0.09oC increase per year in Himalayas and 0.04oC in Terai region with more in winter Pakistan 0.6-1.0oC increase in mean temperature in coastal areas since early 1900s 0.016oC increase/year between 1961 to 1990 over entire country and 2oC increase/year in central highlands Change in precipitation Decadal rain anomalies above long term average since 1960s Increase in extreme rains in north-west during summer monsoon in recent decades and lower number of rainy days along east coast. No distinct long-term trends in precipitation records for 1948-1994 10-15% decrease in coastal belt and hyper arid plains and increase in summer and winter precipitation over the last 40 years in northern Pakistan An increase trend in February and decrease trend in June

Sri Lanka

Source (Cruz et al. 2007)

Increased vulnerability of climate change (1)

Increase in temperatures and extreme heat Change in the monsoon pattern Increased intensity of extreme weather events, including flooding and tropical cyclones Sea level rise

Increased vulnerability of climate change (2)

Potential climate change impacts Country Climate change impacts Afghanistan Droughts, glacial melt, flash floods, landslides Bangladesh Droughts, cyclones and storm surges, flooding, sea level rise and inundation of low lying areas Bhutan Glacial lake outburst floods, droughts, landslides India Droughts, heavy rainfalls leading to flash floods, inundation of low lying coastal areas, glacial melt Maldives Inundation of islands, storm surges, droughts Nepal Glacial melt, Glacial lake outburst floods, reduced river flows, floods, landslides Pakistan Droughts, flash floods, glacial melt, reduced river flows, inundation of low-lying coastal areas Sri Lanka Droughts, flash floods, cyclones, landslides, inundation of low-lying coastal areas
Source: Dissanaike, IFAD 2008

What is at stake?

Statistical overview Country Populati Arable on land (%) (millions ) 35.3 150.5 0.7 1,241.5 0.30 30.5 176.7 20.9 12.13 55.39 2.3 48.83 13.33 16.07 24.44 13.96 Irrigated land (%) Cereal yield (kg/ha) Agricult % of Undernour Prevalence of ure population ished food employ below population inadequacy ment $1.25/day (millions) (2010-2012) (%) (year) (%) 1659.9 78.6 36 12 45.2 (2009) 4191.0 48.1 43.3 25 26.8 (2010) 2705.2 65.4 10.2 0.19 (2007) 2883.3 51.1 32.7 217 27.5 (2010) 2507.5 21.2 <2 0.018 11.4 (2004) 2481.3 66 24.8 5 25.9 (2010) 2717.8 44.7 21 35 27.7 (2008) 3503.3 32.6 4.1 5 32 (2010)

Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Maldives Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka

5.4 52.6 6.7 35.2 27.4 70.1

One fifth of worlds population; Unique geography shapes the livelihood and 75% of the regions population depend on agriculture and it is a major source of employment Most of the farmland are un-irrigated, monsoon based farming and agriculture productivity is low Majority of the population live under $1.25/day More than 300 million people are undernourished

What is at stake?
Statistical overview (contd..) Water Population People withdrawal below 5 affected by by meter floods and agriculture elevation landslides (%) (mn) Afghanistan 4 23123 98.8 0 Bangladesh 6 35870 87.8 20.9 600,000 Bhutan 57 338 94.1 0 15000 India 23 761000 90.4 46.6 2,000,000 Maldives 39 6 0 0.3 Nepal 18 9787 98.2 0 85,000 Pakistan 36 183450 94 2.2 300,000 Sri Lanka 29 12946 87.4 1.1 45,000 Source: ADB 2013, World Bank 2013, FAO 2013, Climate Vulnerable Monitor 2012. Country Piped water access (%) Total water withdrawal (million m3/yr)

Most of the people do not have safe drinking water High prevalence of rainfed farming , but fresh water withdrawal is increasing Agriculture is the main user of freshwater About 70 million people live in coastal area that lie 5 metre or less above sea level More than 21 million people were affected by floods and landslides

Climate change impact/ implications on water resources

Extreme rainfall and flood Increasing seasonality precipitation and drought Declining snowfall and glacial loss Sea level rise Increased tropical cyclone intensity Reduced energy production Tension over the use of water

Climate change impacts/implications on food security

Increased competition for water within and between sectors, transferring water out of agriculture Decline in crop yields
fluctuating temperature (heat stress) and precipitation (agriculture and its dependence on monsoon) and its impact on agriculture and food production (shorter growing season and reduced crop yields) floods result in sediment deposition in agriculture land and deterioration in the quality of land and crop production. Shift cultivation to lower cooler elevation where steep slopes are susceptible to landslides and unsuitable for agriculture. Most dramatic impact will be felt in arid zones and flood affected areas, where agriculture is already at the edge.

Decline in agriculture biodiversity High cost of adaptation

Measures at national level

Internalize the challenge of water-food-energy nexus in policy framework Conserve water and energy sources Increase investment in agriculture Built resilient farming system Promote community based adaptation Move beyond the farm paradigm

Measures at regional level (1)

Recognize trans-boundary nature of climate change and river system needs regional cooperation Strengthen SAARC platform to address climate change issue with SAARC Climate Fund and Research Center, establishment of Early Warning Systems for climatic disaster management, among others. Proactive sharing of information on hazards such as floods, droughts, and increasing risk-pooling insurance facilities. Manage the water and related natural resources on the basis of trans-boundary river basins for mutual benefit and sustainable development

Measures at regional level

Operationalize and strengthen SAARC Food Bank and Gene Bank Reform regional trade regime Enhance collaborative activities and mutual learning in agriculture research, including trans-boundary diseases and climate friendly technology

South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change. Climate change its impact on food and water security affect the socio-economic condition of the region, and the impact will be felt more by low income and rural population. National level initiatives need to be collaborated by regional actions to address problems of climate change, water resources and food security.

Thanks for your kind attention

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