Maharashtra is pioneer in climate service provision and drought risk management, and, as such, serves as a useful laboratory to study the governance and innovation potential of climate services. Regarding climate variability and extreme weather events, communities in the Monsoon belt of India are particularly exposed and vulnerable to long term changes and greater risks and uncertainties (IPCC 2014). Predictions are that monsoon rainfall will be more unpredictable and erratic, and have later onset. However, it is uncertain how spatial and temporal patterns of rainfall and rainfall intensities will manifest themselves on the ground and how risks and uncertainties will be perceived locally (IPCC 2014). Regarding climate services, empirical studies suggest, that they are faced with a set of institutional, managerial, technical, financial, translation and socio-political challenges. For example, in four out of six states in India, farmers surveyed disclosed that they primarily depended on personal experience, traditional framing practices, lunar calendar and traditional agricultural festivals as indicators for their farm-based decision-making. Findings from the EVA project (http://www.teriin.org/projects/eva/) suggest that the degree to which farmers rely on formal extension advice in actions are limited (Vedeld et al. 2014a/b). Building on such studies, a growing literature focuses precisely on the importance of local or experience-based knowledge in local farmers’ adapting to climate change.
Despite a growing body of research on these issues in India, little is known about how the coordination between fragmented climate service actors takes place today, or should take place in view of future climate scenarios, and how climate knowledge is in everyday practice communicated and translated and adopted across the producer-user interface (e.g. from scientific knowledge to usable information for farmers and rural users). Moreover, little is known about how the climate knowledge networks operate, including who and how various users benefit, and how these networks can be transformed and function as learning networks, and become better for a variety of users (e.g. more timely, accessible, tailored, equitable). In addition to that, the degree to which the services are decentralized and informative/accessible for local councilors at village, block and district levels is also less known. Given the important role of local government in climate risk management, there is a need to know more about it and how well local politicians/ administrators (and rural citizens) are informed about risks, how they perceive risks, and what they are willing to (or should be willing to) do about risks and vulnerabilities of local citizens in terms of reducing risks or accepting that people come to live with risks.
IPCC 2014. Summary for Policymakers. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Cambridge, UK and New York, USA: Cambridge University Press. Vedeld, T., Aandahl, L., Barkved, U., Kelkar, U., de Bruin, K., and P. Lanjekar 2014a. Drought in Jalna. Community-based Adaptation to Extreme Climate Events in Maharashtra, TERI-NIBR, Delhi: TERI Press
Vedeld, T., Salunke, S.G., Aandahl, G., and P. Lanjekar 2014b. Governing climate extremes in Maharashtra. Final report on WP3.2 EVA. TERI-NIBR. New Delhi: TERI Press. http://www.teriin.org/projects/eva/index.php