Gobeshona Global Conference 2021

On January 23rd 2021, Cool Infrastructures Karachi team member Adam Abdullah presented at a session titled “Climate Adaptive Heat Stress Management in South Asia” hosted jointly by the Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), India, and the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN), and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The session was part of the 7th Gobeshona International Conference, organized by the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD).

The theme of this year’s Gobeshona Conference was ‘Research into action on locally led adaptation’. Adam presented on heat management practices of low-income, off-grid populations during the Covid pandemic. The data was drawn from a GeoPoll survey conducted during June-July 2020 in 4 cities across the Global South, as part of the larger Cool Infrastructures project. The analysis included crosstabulations of various vulnerability indicators, and speculated on some tentative insights drawn from the survey data. It talked of the ways in which vulnerable communities are affected by disruptive events such as containment due to a pandemic, which when compounded by high indoor temperatures, loss of income, and reduction in water intake, can lead to extreme outcomes such as heat stroke and death. The presentation was a follow up to the Covid-Heat Nexus presentation made by Dr Elspeth Opperman, also part of the Cool Infrastructures team, at the Anticipation Hub (https://coolinfrastructures.com/2020/12/14/cool-infrastructures-at-anticipation-hubs-8th-global-dialogue-forumhttps-www-anticipation-hub-org-global-dialogue-platform-2020-anticipation-hub/) earlier in December 2020.

It was an exciting session, and Adam got a chance to interact with individuals and organizations working in India on heat management and heat-related policymaking. The session acknowledged the need to focus on chronic exposure to heat, not just heat waves as discrete risk events. Prof Jyoti K Parikh, Executive Director, IRADe chaired the session. Notable speakers included Dr Subhash Chander Bhan, scientist at the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), who spoke on early warning systems in place in India, and evaluated Indian heat action plans; Prof. Ajit Tyagi, Former Director General of the IMD, who spoke on heat impacts and heat stress management in South Asia, and the increase in heatwave days over time; and Dr. Vijendra Ingole, who presented interesting meta-analyses of the relationship between ambient temperature/heat waves and mortalities in the South Asian context. The proceedings of the session can be accessed online at:

We look forward to discussing our ongoing work at more events in the future, and will keep you updated here as we produce and share new knowledge!


Adam Abdullah is a Senior Research Associate at the Karachi Urban Lab, IBA Karachi and works on urban issues, social-demographic analysis, and on conceptualizing compounded vulnerabilities through spatial and statistical data. He can be reached at: adam8juneabdullah@gmail.com and @a8junea on Twitter.

IRADe is an independent research institute based in New Delhi, India, focusing on policy analysis and engagement with stakeholders from various tiers of government, NGOs, the corporate sector, and academia. IRADe works towards effective solutions in climate change, energy systems, urban development, and gender equity. You can learn more about their work at: http://www.irade.org

The Canadian IDRC engages with knowledge, innovation, and workable solutions towards improving lives across the developing world. IDRC is also one of the major funding partners for KUL, and has supported two of KUL’s recent projects, on Land Displacement and on Gender and Violence. You can learn more about their work at: http://www.idrc.ca