Meghalaya has joined the global Under2 Coalition, becoming the seventh Indian state to be part of the largest network of states and regional governments in the world committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Meghalaya will join 270 other sub-national peers in strengthening global sub-national climate leadership. Among other pathways, the Under2 Coalition facilitates government-to-government peer learning, driving knowledge and sharing of policy insights that are required for faster climate action.
Other Indian signatories to the Under2 Coalition are Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, Tripura, West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
With Meghalaya’s inclusion, the eight signatories represent more than 29 per cent of India’s population, contributing nearly 30 per cent to the country’s GDP.
Despite being geographically small, Meghalaya is taking ambitious actions on adaptation and resilience and is one of the first forest economies in Asia to follow a unique doctrine called ‘Environment State’ or nature-based economics for ecologically sensitive regions; a development strategy that looks at ‘nature banking’ and ‘nature markers’ as the central idea to create an environment and conservation-led economy.
Meghalaya has launched various initiatives to drive climate action under its green development doctrine. One of these is instituting a Conservation Basic Income programme as part of which 14,000 youth have also been trained in forest management practices.
A first-of-its-kind Climate Emergency Framework is being developed that can create new rights of nature and institutionalise nature in economics.
The State is also building a unique Climate Change Museum and dedicating its public urban spaces to mainstream the conversations about climate change amongst communities. A ‘Biodiversity Heat Map’ to assess the State’s ancient biodiversity and the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Pilot to aid in conservation finance has been started as well. The State will share its learning from these programmes with peers.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on the joining: “This is an age of localised green imagination, which makes it essential for governments and regions like Meghalaya to partner, learn and build coalitions with various other forest economies and ecological regions of the world. The Under2 Coalition is a great platform for building South-to-South cooperation and sub-national solidarities that can enable great knowledge sharing mechanisms, new supply chains and economics along with new climate action methodologies for indigenous geographies like ours.”
P S Sampath Kumar, CEO of Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, Principal Secretary Health and Convener of the State Climate Action Council said, “Meghalaya has great political and public consensus on creating a unique climate action economy through a new brand of nature economics. This new template of environment leadership from the global south and indigenous regions of the world will inspire its Under2 Coalition peers.”
Welcoming Meghalaya to the Under2 Coalition of sub-national leaders, Dr. Divya Sharma, India Executive Director at Climate Group said, “By joining the global network, Meghalaya has joined the league of states and regions that are willing and able to drive climate action. Its participation will undoubtedly make the voice of the global south stronger, while showcasing Meghalaya’s own initiatives towards a climate resilient, net zero world.”