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New centre on climate change

Shillong, July 26: Meghalaya and Germany today jointly launched the Centre for Adaptation to Climate Change, which will facilitate data collation, and information dissemination to the people of the state and in the region.

The centre was inaugurated by chief minister Mukul Sangma in the presence of several officials from Germany. While dedicating the centre to the people of Meghalaya, Sangma said, “I believe that that this centre can be a source of knowledge and data that will benefit not only Meghalaya but also its neighbouring states and countries like Bangladesh.”

He said the centre can be a platform to bring together government departments and civil society groups in the crusade to address issues related to climate change. The chief minister said climate change has affected orange and areca nut cultivation in the Garo hills region. He, therefore, said cultivators should be taught how to adapt to climate change. The centre is a joint initiative of the Meghalaya government and the German government under Indo-German bilateral co-operation.

The head of the South Asia division from the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development, Thomas Helfen, said Meghalaya, in its state action plan on climate change, had highlighted the problem of limited and fragmented knowledge.

“Climate change calls for an informed and an integrated decision making. Compartmentalised knowledge is just not enough in the face of threats posed by climate change,” Helfen said. He said the centre was an important step to improve data collection, data use, timely dissemination and management, which would bridge the knowledge gap.

Helfen said a project on the assessment of climate and land use impacts on land and water resources in the Umiam river basin was kicked off in co-operation with University of Jena (Germany) and local research institutions. A call was also made to blend traditional and modern knowledge to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The idea behind the centre is to centralise the fragmented data and information on natural resource management and climate change, have sustainable data storage and maintenance and achieve co-operation between the research institutions, government institutions and users.

It also aims to have a key reference point of contact for information on natural resource management and climate change and to facilitate transformation of data into knowledge useful to communities at the field level.