Indian Heat Action Plan and Video Spotlight Climate Adaptation Efforts


Today, Dr. ABhiyant Tiwari from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, our partner in the implementation of a Heat Action Plan in the city of Ahmedabad, is participating in the 4th Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This forum has been organized by the Asia Pacific Adaption Network (APAN) with the theme “New Partnerships for Resilient Development: Government, Business & Society” and will bring together over 500 climate change adaptation practitioners, including top public and private sector officials and experts to discuss strategies on how to protect the most vulnerable communities from the effects of climate change.

Befitting the theme of the summit, the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) is facilitating a crucial session on “moving from planning to implementation of sub-national adaptation.” In this session, Dr. Tiwari will be summarizing the extreme heat resilience plan – the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan – the first comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events in India launched in Ahmedabad last year. The Plan creates immediate and longer-term actions to increase preparedness, information-sharing, and response coordination to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations.

During his presentation at the conference, Dr. Tiwari is also releasing a new video that spotlights the warning signs of extreme heat and activities undertaken by our coalition of partners to implement the Plan and build community resilience in the city:


Ahmedabad’s efforts to better prepare for future extreme heat events are, in part, in response to the deadly heat wave that hit the city in May 2010, when the temperature reached 46.8°C (116°F). Extreme heat can lead to dangerous, even deadly, health consequences, including heat stress and heatstroke. As climate change worsens, instances of extreme heat events are expected to become more frequent and severe – as recognized by several experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as others.

The 2010 heat wave was a wakeup call that intergovernmental agency action, preparedness, and community outreach is critical to saving lives. Future responses must be based on a citywide understanding of impacts and actions, with a strong focus on coordination, awareness and documentation. The Heat Action Plan brings together relevant resources, best practices from various countries, and strategies to minimize health impacts when extreme heat events hit. As the lead agency, the AMC Health Department has the overarching responsibility for the coordination of heat wave activities. This includes monitoring forecasts and sending heat health alerts and disseminating public health messages to local departments and community service providers, as well as working with the AMC press office to increase media around preparedness.

From start to finish, this project is about saving lives and helping the people of Ahmedabad to create healthier communities, more secure from the dangers of heat waves, even as climate change fuels more extreme weather around the world. We hope that through dissemination platforms such as the Malaysia forum and dissemination mediums such as the video, this Heat Action Plan can help act as a guide for other interested cities and rural areas in India to adapt and develop their own heat action plans. Through preventative action, countless lives can be saved and cities can become more resilient in the face of climate change.

Co-authored by Nehmat Kaur, NRDC India Representative