This study is one of a series of regional studies which aim to present evidence of the interactions between environmental, social, political and economic risks at the local level in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Drawing on field-research and consultations with policy-makers, practitioners and academics, this case study looks at the dimensions of local resilience in two communities living around Chilika Lake in Odisha (formerly Orissa), the biggest brackish water lake in India. Both communities are entirely dependent on the lake for their livelihoods; the first community, living on the stretch of the lake shore closest to the sea mouth, is a fishing community and the second, villagers living on the northern, inland lake shore, carry out salt farming.
In order to understand local resilience, the case study aims to address two key questions:
1. What are the root causes of vulnerability (to climate and conflict risks)?
2. How can external adaptation interventions (by the state or international institutions) address these root causes of vulnerability?
Findings from this study point to the following as key priority areas to build resilience:
• A comprehensive lake management policy that supports regulations and enforcement for effective management and equitable distribution of the lake resources;
• The availability of formal credit mechanisms that make loans available to the fishing communities on soft terms for their basic capital requirements to reduce their dependency on middlemen and the mafia;
• Livelihood diversification options to ones that are not directly dependent on the lake.
Mitra, S.; Pandey, N.; Vivekananda, J. Strengthening responses to climate variability in south Asia. Discussion paper: India. International Alert, London, UK (2013) 36 pp.