An analysis of the Sikkim Action Plan on Climate Change
Sikkim has been engaged in a number of climate related initiatives since 2008. Much of the work has been supported by a Chief Minister (CM) keen to further the state’s green credentials. Sikkim’s climate plan – drafted as an extension of its green drive – was initiated in 2010 and actively driven by senior bureaucrats who were already engaged in climate-based research and writing. The plan, by many accounts, facilitated the commissioning of additional studies, incorporated work by civil society organizations on specific climate issues, and crucially helped scale-up programmes in the water sector using resources from existing schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
Driven by a strong state mandate on a number of development issues, the Sikkim climate plan is largely adaptation based. However, it was firmly guided by the overarching framework set by donor agencies and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and had limited external participation during the post-draft stages. In addition, the document is uneven in structure and detail owing to varying degrees of ownership and engagement by bureaucrats as well as consultants in charge of different sectoral chapters.
While the Sikkim climate plan takes cognizance of the impact of climate change on hydropower generation given how changes in rainfall and river discharge could impact future production, the document ultimately steers clear of this politically sensitive topic in not offering any substantive measures to address it.