The State of the Climate in Asia 2021

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    • Recently the State of the Climate in Asia 2021 report was published by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

    Report highlights

    • On Asia:
      • Natural Disasters:
        • Floods and storms accounted for 80 percent of the natural disasters that struck Asia in 2021. 
        • Flooding:
          • Flooding was the event with “by far the greatest impact in Asia in terms of fatalities and economic damage.”
      • Financial losses:
        • Asian countries incurred financial losses worth $35.6 billion (nearly 2.9 lakh crores) in 2021 because of natural disasters.
        • China suffered the highest economic loss in Asia ($18.4 billion) after flooding.
        • Similarly, storms also caused significant economic damage, especially in India ($4.4 billion), followed by China ($3 billion) and Japan ($2 billion), the report stated. 
    • On India:
      • Heavy rains & Floods:
        • The country faced heavy rains and flash floods during the monsoon season between June and September 2021.
      • Storms:
        • During 2021, India experienced five cyclonic storms with maximum sustained wind speeds of ≥ 34 knots.
        • Taukte, Yaas, Gulab, Saheen, Jawad, etc are the Cyclonic storms reported by the report.
      • Casulty & damage:
        • These events resulted in about 1,300 casualties and damaged crops and properties, the report said.
        • Additionally, in 2021, thunderstorms and lightning claimed around 800 lives in different parts of the country, the report highlighted.
      • Economic losses:
        • India suffered huge economic losses from floods and storms in 2021 as climate change has made these events more frequent. 
          • India suffered a total loss of $3.2 billion from flooding. 
        • The country was only second to China in the Asian continent in this regard, according to the report.
    • Budget requirements:
      • ESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Reports of 2021 and 2022 estimated that India would need an annual investment in adaptation measures at $46.3 billion. 
      • It is estimated to be 1.7 percent of India’s GDP.
    • Disaster potential of Global Warming:
    • Warming is particularly strong in the Arabian Sea and in the Kuroshio Current system. These regions are warming more than three times faster than the global mean upper-ocean warming rate according to the report.
    • Ocean warming could contribute to sea level rise, alter storm paths and ocean currents and increase stratification, the report warned.

    More about ‘Disaster’ and ‘Disaster management’

    • Disaster: 
      • It defines a ‘disaster’ as a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area – arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence. 
        • It results in substantial loss of life, human suffering, or damage to and destruction of property or the environment.
    • Disaster management: 
      • It is defined as a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures necessary to prevent the danger or threat of a disaster, mitigating or reducing the risk of a disaster or its consequences; capacity-building; preparedness to deal with a disaster; and rehabilitation and reconstruction.

    Indian initiative for Disaster Management:

    • Disaster Management Act, 2005:
      • It is a national law that empowers the Central government to declare the entire country or part of it as affected by a disaster and to make plans for mitigation to reduce “risks, impacts and affects” of the disaster.
      • Nodal Authority:
        • The Act designates the Ministry of Home Affairs as the nodal ministry for steering the overall national disaster management.
      • Key Features:
        • It puts into place a systematic structure of institutions at the national, state and district levels. 
    • Four important entities have been placed at the national level:
      • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): 
        • It is tasked with laying down disaster management policies and ensuring a timely and effective response mechanism.
      • National Executive Committee (NEC): 
        • It is composed of secretary level officers of the Government of India assigned to assist the NDMA.
      • National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM):  
        • It is an institute for training and capacity development programs for managing natural 
      • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): 
        • It refers to trained professional units that are called upon for specialized response to disasters.
    • Indian initiatives on global platforms:
      • India is taking the lead and offering the expertise of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI) to its friendly countries .
      • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was first proposed by India during the 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in New Delhi.
      • Security and Growth for All in the Region(SAGAR Programme):
        • SAGAR is a term coined by  Hon. PM Narendra Modi in 2015 during his Mauritius visit with a focus on the blue economy.
        • It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to the Indian Ocean region (IOR) for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in the Indian Ocean region.
        • It is in line with the principles of the Indian Ocean Rim Association(IORA).
        • Effective response mechanism to address humanitarian crises & natural disasters one of the most important pillars of SAGAR.

    Way ahead

    • Lacunae:
      • India does not have a separate adaptation fund, but the money is embedded in several schemes by the agriculture, rural and environmental sectors.
      • The investment in adaptation is much lower than the annual average loss from disasters, which shows us how much economic losses we could be saving by investing in adaptation measures
    • Suggestions:
      • Some adaptation priorities that require high investment include resilient infrastructure, improving dry land agriculture, resilient water infrastructure, multi-hazard early warning systems and nature-based solutions.
      • The civil society, private enterprises and NGOs can play a valuable role towards building a safer India.

    Source: TH