India ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, aiming to maintain the global temperature rise to well below 2°C, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5 °C. Further in November 2021, during the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) hosted at Glasgow, India announced five climate targets focusing on expanding non-fossil energy capacity, increasing renewable energy sourcing and reducing the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now onwards till 2030. One target that stood out was committing to achieving net zero by 2070.
National commitments and subnational climate actions
While rapid transitions would be undertaken at the national level to achieve the new climate goals, informed policies, programmes and actions would also be required at the subnational level to implement national policies and state climate ambitions. In the existing scenario, the pace of climate action often varies across states due to different degrees of preparedness, institutional arrangement, coordination among various departments and technical expertise. This calls for enhancing the support to States at the forefront of climate change impacts and strengthening their capacities towards subnational climate action, including and beyond the implementation of their State action plans on climate change (SAPCC).
While states can be supported in multiple ways, facilitating the implementation of sectoral policies by working with the state nodal departments will be critical in the future. Some of the most active Indian states in terms of climate action are often supported by dedicated resources, which further reinforces their efforts to deliver their commitments. To take this further, we at Climate Group India have joined hands with Swaniti Initiative, a nonpartisan social enterprise, to launch the State Climate Fellows initiative in several states across India.
State Climate Fellows initiative
This initiative aims to deploy a cohort of young, dynamic and experienced climate professionals in six different Indian states, which require sustained support to streamline their climate actions. These Fellows would be engaged in suitable sectoral departments of each state for 12 months. They will be pivotal in championing state climate strategies by ensuring that the appropriate levers for climate action are being pushed. They would further support aligning the states’ climate goals with national ambition.
The State Climate Fellows initiative is aimed to boost the technical capacity of states as the Fellows would support them in prioritising future interventions for achieving the desired national and sub-national goals. Further, the Fellows would enable knowledge exchange, interdepartmental coordination and explore collaboration between states and external agencies and networks facilitated by Climate Group and Swaniti Initiative.
This initiative will act as an opportunity to build the capacities of such dynamic and young professionals by exposing them to the subnational policy and governance side of climate change at an early stage in their careers to be future climate champions.
The vital role that states and regional governments play in tackling climate change is now globally acknowledged. Capacity building and knowledge sharing foster transformational change within the government, which is more pertinent for subnational actors to undertake necessary climate action. Shifting focus towards strengthening capacities of states in the global south is crucial to shaping the next decade in terms of reducing emissions, building the resilience of communities, and moving towards just and equitable transition. Through the State Climate Fellows initiative, we plan to achieve greater coordination and robustness in terms of policy implementation within states, allowing them to demonstrate tangible climate action fast.