Environmental Planning & Coordination Organization

Background

The Environmental Planning & Coordination Organisation (EPCO) a unique organization in terms of the foresight and the width of its mandate. was established by the Housing and Environment Department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1981 as registered society under the Registration of Societies Act 1975.

Over the years, EPCO has steadily grown to become the State's premier organization in the field of environment related matters. It has worked closely with the State Government on various projects; yet it has established its own identity as an autonomous organization. It is a think-tank for environmental matters, but is also project oriented.

Structuren Of EPCO

His Excellence the Governor of MP is the President of the organization where as Hon’ble Chief Minister and Hon’ble Minister of Housing & Environment Department are Vice Presidents. Principal Secretary Housing and Environment Department is the Director General and Chairs the meetings of the Governing Council of EPCO. Executive Director is the executive head of EPCO.

EPCO Aims & Objectives

  • To assist and advise the State Government on environmental policy and planning through
  • To organize training programmes for manpower development in the field of environment sciences, technologies and management.
  • To develop a cadre of professionals and experts in the field of environment and maintain information on the availability of diverse expertise in the field.
  • To formulate supervise and evaluate environment related projects in the State and mobilize financial resources for them.
  • To provide environmental awareness and education by: Organizing lectures, debates, conferences and seminars on topical issues
  • Participatory programmes in educational institutions
  • Assisting and interacting with NGOs
  • Dissemination of environmental information through the media orienting policy makers and opinion leaders towards environmental issues
  • To take up consultancy projects for environmental studies and designs.

Activity Profile Of EPCO

In the last three decades EPCO has been in unique position to witness the environment related developments at the international, national and regional level since the time they began to unfold. It has also witnessed rapid developments in the field of environment and has touched upon virtually every kind of work that is related to the field of environment. It has carried out pioneering work in creation of environmental awareness and focusing attention on environmental problems of the State.

EPCO’s comparative advantage or its USP is its ability as an “environment problem-solving intermediary” This has largely been helped by the multi-disciplinary composition of the EPCO professionals. In this unique position EPCO connects government as well as non-governmental agencies in solving the environmental problems. To avoid silo thinking in environment and development sector the organization is attempting to play a bridging role between bilateral or multilateral donors who wish to make better investments in people and communities so that the investments are green and also leads to better green governance.

One of the major roles that EPCO performs is to mainstream environmental concern in various development initiatives of the state; especially poverty and livelihood related issues. EPCO has successfully focused attention on the environmental problematic areas of the state through Environmental Status Reports. One of the major roles that EPCO performs is to mainstream environmental concerns in various development initiatives of the state; especially poverty and livelihood related issues.

In association with the Department of Bio-diversity and Biotechnology, Govt. of MP. EPCO formulated State Bio-diversity strategy and Action Plan. As nodal agency for Biosphere Reserve EPCO supports variety of small projects and conducts studies on environmental issues of Pachmarhi and Amamrkantak Biosphere Reserve.

It has also been a pioneering organization that integrated urban aesthetic and environmental concerns with architecture. Under National Lake and River Conservation Program EPCO is coordinating the projects in Madhya Pradesh.

Realizing the fact that climate change is a major global environmental problem and also an issue of great concern for the state, the Government of MP has assigned high priority to the issues of Climate Change. State Government has declared EPCO as the State Designated Agency for Climate Change. As per the intent expressed in the Vision Document the State Government has set up a State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change in EPCO.

As an autonomous organization of the State government EPCO enjoys easy access to all government stakeholders in the State to facilitate and co-ordinate environment and climate change related works in the State.

State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change

Introduction

The 5th Assessment Report of Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (WG 1- approved summary of policy makers) categorically mentions that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”

Locally, the state of Madhya Pradesh has enough reasons to be bothered about the impacts of climate change as it has a large population depending on its natural resources for livelihood. The state has agrarian economy with agriculture as the primary occupation for about 70% of its population.

Observed climate trend analyses for Madhya Pradesh, carried out as part of the preparations for MP State Action Plan on Climate Change and Vulnerability and Risk Assessment of MP towards Climate Change, indicates that there is a decreasing trend of rainfall in most parts of the state.

The study carried out by IITM-Pune using the HADCM3 simulations downscaled with PRECIS indicate an all-round warming over the Indian subcontinent associated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. Both maximum and minimum temperatures are projected to rise significantly under the PRECIS A1B scenario. Rainfall is also projected to increase under this scenario.

There is a clear need for initiating actions to abate the impacts of climate change on agriculture and allied sectors, water resources, forests and human health. At SKMCCC, we believe that more knowledge based actions are required to establish not only the link between various aspects of these sectors and climate change but also to combat the challenge posed by climate change.

Context

Under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), a National Mission for Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change has been created. The Government of MP has adopted a Vision Document-2018 wherein it has been mentioned that a State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change (SKMCCC) will be set up in Environmental Planning and Coordination organization (EPCO).

GoMP has declared EPCO as the ‘State Designated Agency for Climate Change’ in state and also Nodal Agency for Climate Change Knowledge Management. Notifications to this effect have been issued by General Administration Department of GoMP. In this context a State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change has been established in EPCO.

An institutional mechanism has been created to review and monitor the activities of the SKMCCC. Chief Secretary Govt of MP heads the State Steering Committee to provide policy guidance, directives and interdepartmental coordination. Principal Secretary Housing and Environment, GoMP is the chair of the SKMCCC Oversight Committee. A Project Implementation Committee under Executive Director, EPCO has also been constituted.

Coordinator, SKMCCC (EPCO) who is also the Principal Investigator (PI) of the DST project along with Co-Principal Investigator, works under Executive Director, EPCO. Senior Consultants, Subject Experts and Junior Research Fellows would add on to the strength of the centre’s human resources.

It is often felt that plenty of knowledge and information based on research studies on climate change aspects of the state, is available yet it remains embedded within the respective institutions and organizations leading to knowledge silos and knowledge divide.

To bridge this knowledge gap and to build the capacity of the state government officials to coordinate and better mainstream climate change issues in development activities and policies, the SKMCCC proposes to create and integrate the knowledge on climate change and disseminate through appropriate channels and mediums.


Mission & Objectives

The mission of SKMCCC is to become a centre of excellence and knowledge hub in the state to cater the climate change related information and knowledge needs of policy makers, scientific community and general public on issues related to climate change through creation, collection, synthesis and dissemination of knowledge. SKMCCC aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Creating climate change knowledge repository
  • Improving climate change knowledge access and transfer
  • Enhancing climate change knowledge environment
  • Managing climate change related knowledge as an asset.

Structure

The functional architecture of SKMCCC is designed on a hub and spoke model while fostering backward forward informational linkages, collaborations between relevant institutions, authorities and stakeholders. The knowledge hub would be at Bhopal equipped with all necessary human resources and infrastructural wherewithal. An effort is being made to engage subject experts from relevant sectors to take up research studies and projects and address the information and knowledge needs of the concerning departments through quality expert inputs.

It is important that knowledge hub is engaged with the concerning departments in a structured and planned way. Therefore departmental climate change working groups (DCCWG) have been constituted. The members of these DCCWG provide vital link to connect with department. Most of the DCCWG are active and functional. It is being proposed to build the capacities of these DCCWG through focused sectoral trainings etc.

12 communities based Climate Change Pulse Centres (CCPC) would be set up at 10 divisional headquarters to cater to the needs of 11 agro-climatic zones across the state and would act as the spokes. These CCPC would be run by professional NGOs and would be guided by a Divisional Committee to be headed by the divisional commissioners. The information and knowledge would flow from the hub to spoke as well as from the spokes to the hub for greater reach. A strong monitoring and reporting system would be brought in place for efficient working of the Centre.

Functions

Major function of SKMCCC is to create, collect and disseminate the knowledge on climate change. SKMCCC intends to partner up with the organizations that are already working in this field and would help in strengthening their capacity and disseminating their works.

Capacity building and training activities would be taken up in a much larger and focused way to create awareness on climate change issues and thereby assisting the states’ officials to formulate policies and programs that strengthen its resilience. The centre aims to become one stop platform to address the climate change issues in the state.

 

Knowledge Creation –

  • Research studies commissioned to scientific institutions
  • Scholarships for primary research on CC issues of MP
  • Action research projects to generate new information

 

Knowledge Collection –

  • Establishing networks and strategic partnerships with scientific institutions
  • Documentation of best practices
  • Case studies on adaptation and mitigation aspects

 

Knowledge Dissemination –

  • Knowledge portal
  • Capacity building and training activities
  • Engaging communities and piloting adaptation projects
  • Communication and outreach strategy

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