The Union Minister of State for Environment & Forests, Shri Jairam Ramesh has said that conservation of forests is crucial for sustainable development and green economy of the country. He said this while chairing a one day civil society seminar on “Nature & Livelihood: Women’s Perspective” here today on the occasion of celebration of World Environment Day. He said that the role of women and gram sabha is very crucial for forest conservation. He also elaborated about focus on “Gram Sabha” and its greater role in the recently launched “Green India Mission”, one of the mission under National Action Plan on Climate Change.
The week long events across the country to celebrate the World Environment Day-2011 (WED-2011), with India being global host for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WED-2011 for first time culminated, today during the one day civil society seminar. About 100 women from civil society organizations, self-help group etc. from various states shared experience during interactive sessions with panelists that include eminent environmentalist and grass root leaders like Dr. Sunita Narain, Centre for Environmental Education, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Radha Ben Bhatt, Devajitofa and Ms Jyotsana Sitling.
The UNEP Executive Director, Mr. Achim Steiner and UN Resident Co-ordinator, Mr. Patrice Couer Bizot, also highlighted the environmental concerns in the global perspective and appreciated the initiatives of women leaders at grass root level in India in environmental awareness and forest conservation. UNEP report on “Green Economy and the Forest” was also released. On this occasion, Ministry of Environment & Forests, also instituted “Gaura Devi” Award to recognize the initiatives of “Gaura Devi” in forest conservation during Chipko movement. The award will carry a citation and cash prize of Rs 2 lakhs.
Earlier in the day, a “Green Walkathon”, at India Gate, New Delhi with about 1000 participants from all sections of the society was flagged off by Shri Jairam Ramesh. The Minister also administered a pledge for “Saving our Environment”. In Bangalore, also a green marathon was flagged off in the morning.
First time, India is the global host of UNEP World Environment Day. During this year, shifting from the past practice of organizing World Environment Day at New Delhi only, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India organized a series of activities/events/campaigns during the first week of June, 2011, across the country in New Delhi, Bhubneshawar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Nilgiri Biosphre Reserve etc to highlight the intrinsic link between quality of life, the health of forests and forest ecosystems, and the sustainable use of forests.
The other significant feature was organization of “Green Haat”, involving about 52 partners to showcase initiatives, of forest dwellers, Minor Forest Produce Federations of various states, women self help groups, NGO partners ,highlighting the value added forest products, in partnership with Centre for Environment Education(CEE) at Dilli Haat during June 1st to 5th, 2011. Shri Jairam Ramesh declared that this will now be a regular event by Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Biodiversity film festival for disadvantaged children, general public, prisoners, and Air Force officials was organized in partnership Centre for media studies (CMS) at New Delhi during June 1st to 4th, 2011, the festival screened more than 20 films on biodiversity at National Science Centre, PVR’s Cinemas, Tihar Jail and Subroto Park, Indian Air Force to raise awareness about Environmental issues through showcasing of films from eminent national and International film makers.
Across the Himalayan region, in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, awareness programs and Green March, involving School Children was organized by G.B.Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development.
The North East Museum Gallery at Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubneshawar was inaugrated by the Environment & Forests Minister on 1st June, 2011.
Highlighting the role of media for Green reporting, an UNEP media workshop on Journalism and the Environment was organized at Leela Hotel, New Delhi on 2nd June, 2011.
An exhibition on Mumbai’s Environment, in partnership with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), highlighting the environmental issues of Metropolitan and coastal cities was organized at Chhatrapati Shivaji & Churchgate Stations during 2nd to 4th June, 2011 to create awareness amongst all sections of the society.
On 3rd June, 2011, tree plantation of forest department, Government of Delhi at Juanapur, Mehrauli, Delhi was dedicated to the public, as a mark to celebrate World Environment Day, hosted by the UNEP in India, this year.
Acknowledging the role of corporate sector in ensuring Green Growth and Green Economy, a dialogue with business community on Green economy was organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at CII office, New Delhi on 3rd June, 2011.
On 4th June, 2011, a nature camp for speech and hearing children and Exhibition on Western Ghat diversity was organized at Bengaluru. Involving the IT Business Community and corporate sector, a workshop and Marathon was also organized at Bengaluru on 4th and 5th June, 2011.
To create awareness among children, a painting competition was organized today at Delhi Zoo. On this day, a workshop on, “Emerging issues in Wildlife Conservation” was also organized by Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun.