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This eighteen-month project supported by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi, commenced in July 2020, with the aim of developing a framework for facilitating multilevel climate governance at the sub-national level. The state selected for this purpose was Kerala. The project team reviewed the status of existing policies in climate/environment and the actual process of implementation by the state government and (especially) local self-governments, as they are mainly responsible for management of key sectors such as waste, transport and electricity services—all critical sectors targeted for mitigation in the NAPCC/NDCs—besides being responsible for climate adaptation activities in the vital sectors of forest, water, agriculture, and coastal. The final outcome of the project is a more empowered and strengthened governance system (and stakeholders), thus establishing Kerala as a model for multi-level climate governance in the country. To achieve this outcome, the project received non-financial support from the Local Self-Government Department, Government of Kerala.

In the year under review, an extensive field survey for primary data collection was carried out to assess, analyse and evaluate the barriers and challenges facing the current climate governance regime in Kerala, as also drivers enabling progress at the local level. The WISE project team surveyed select villages from the districts that were identified as being vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as well as the six municipal corporations in the state and respective state government departments, conducting a series of one-on-one interviews with the concerned officials. In addition, online and telephonic interviews were also conducted. A comprehensive google survey with end users and stakeholders was also carried out to assess their views on the current climate governance scenario in Kerala. Post the survey, detailed statistical analysis of primary and secondary data was carried out by the project team and the findings summarized with suitable interpretations.

The preliminary findings were then presented to the project Advisory Committee chaired by Mr S M Vijayanand, IAS (Retd), Former Chief Secretary, Kerala, and Chairperson, Sixth State Finance Commission, Kerala, and co-chaired by Mrs Sarada Muraleedharan, IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary, LSGD, Kerala, and relevant feedback to strengthen the draft was obtained. Furthermore, organisation of two online stakeholder meetings was carried out with key experts from the field (actual events could not take place due to the pandemic), and the findings of the study validated by the relevant experts and interventions/ recommendations suggested to overcome them. The final draft report incorporating the key findings and recommendations was submitted to Shakti in March 2022. WISE plans to submit the final report to the Government of Kerala for necessary action in the near future.