The summit with Sustainability and Development in focus will be held on December 18 in New Delhi. A gala of speakers from academia, environmental NGOs, journalism, IFS and ministers will adress and debate on issues related to environment and sustainability.
Leading national weeklies Organiser and Panchjanya are jointly organizing a summit on Sustanability on New Delhi. The summit will be held on December 18 and will focus on Sustainability, Development and Water Rejuvenation.
The Inaugural Address will be by Shri Prakash Jawadekar, Minister, Environment and Forest, GOI. The keynote address will be by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, GOI. The other keynote speaker will be Swami Avadeshanandaji Maharaj.
Details of the Summit
The Sutainability summit will have Panel discussions on Environmental Sustainability versus Economic Development and Water Rejuvenation or Water Wars. The panel consists of experts in their field of work and study. The summit will take place in two sessions.
Session I will have a panel discussion on 'Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development: Antithetical to each other?' and will be moderated by Shri. Prafulla Ketkar, Editor Organiser. The panel consists of Sanjeev Sanyal, Dy Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Dr Sachin Chaturvedi – DG, Regional Information Centre for Developing Countries and Prof Bhagwati Prakash Sharma – Vice-Chancellor, Gautam Buddha University, Greater NOIDA.
Session II will have another panel discussion on 'Water Rejuvenation or Water Wars: What are we Heading for?' which will be moderated by Shri. Hitesh Shankar, Sampadak Panchjanya. The panel will have Shri Atul Jain, DRI, Vandana Shiva – Noted Environmentalist, Subhan Singh – Rajasthan, Kiran Rao – Paani Foundation, Maharashtra as the panelists.
The valedictory address will be delivered by Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister for Jal Shakti.
Besides these key speakers, there are other experts who will address the summit. These include Shri. Rajiv Kumar, CEO NITI Aayog, Ms Nivedita Khande - Sr Jounralist, Advt Vikrant Pachnanda, A Ajay Kumar, IFS, International Solar Alliance Secretariat.
The summit is organised at the Hotel Lalit, New Delhi. The sessions will be held between 10.00am and 4.00pm.
The Concept of the Summit
The concept of ‘sustainability’ has gained centrality in the development discourse for the past few decades. Though there are certain significant steps taken and issues discussed, the ‘war against nature’ in the name of development is still an ongoing process. Initially, the international organisations, calling for a uniform model of development, promoted the curbing of indigenous cultures and nature-friendly practices. Only since the 1990s, there has been a course correction on this front. Now the climate change, water crisis and rising pollution levels are not the future threats and as the UN Secretary-General rightly called for a ‘political will’ to fight the menace.
Extreme weather events like droughts and floods are now everyday news items all over the world. Everyone agrees that to avoid destroying living conditions on this planet while pursuing material development, is one of the most critical problems of our time. This dilemma has brought the issue of climate change to the centre of international negotiations. Despite various rounds of negotiations on the Convention on Climate Change, however, there is no agreement on managing this problem of human survival. As long as the negotiations on climate change do not address the questions of science and equity, the possibility of any positive outcome is bleak.
Before the beginning of the recent negotiations on the Paris Deal, the UN Secretary-General warned, “We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions.” Cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases - mostly from burning carbon-based fossil fuels -that have been agreed so far under the Paris deal are not enough to limit temperature rises to a goal of between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius (2.7-3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Many countries are not even meeting those commitments, and political will is lacking, Antonio Guterres said. The Sustainable Development Goals have already given us some direction but somehow this problem of political will and the race for GDP based development parameters do not allow us to break the established patterns.
In the last century, the average temperature of the earth increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius. Based on scientific study, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that, if the trend continues, then, by the end of this century the temperature rise will range from 0.8 to 5.8 degrees Celsius. According to this study, about three and a half million people will suffer from water shortage, three million from malaria, one hundred million from hunger and three million from floods and droughts. There will be a spread of deserts and a rise in the sea level due to melting icebergs.
India is not immune to all these developments, and we cannot hide behind the conventional discourse of our ‘right to development’ vis-a-vis the developed countries. The air pollution level is alarming across the country, especially in urban centres; groundwater level is depleting day by day; river pollution becomes issue now and then as the river waters are central to our civilisational thinking and policy measures taken are piecemeal and just not sufficient to address the severity of the problem. The scientists, policymakers and civil society organisations are doing their bit to find solutions, but there need better integration and involvement to get the results.
To bring in all the stakeholders to brainstorm on the issues of related to environment-friendly development, Organiser and Panchjanya are organising a daylong summit on sustainability. The idea is to bring in all the stakeholders on one platform and discuss the fundamental questions about sustainability and come up with some practical policy suggestions.