First Plenary Session of Civil 20 India 2023 Inception Conference on the theme ‘Balancing Development with Environment’ takes place

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The first plenary session of the Civil-20 (C-20) India 2023 Inception Conference was held in Nagpur today (March 20, 2023). The theme of the session was ‘Balancing Development with Environment’. Former Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra chaired the session.

The speakers in the session included Dr Andy Carmone, Clinical Director at The Clinton Health Access Initiative, Dr Merle De Kreuk, Professor, Environmental Technology, TU Delft, Netherlands, Jadav Payeng, Environmentalist from Majuli, Assam and Indira Khurana, Commissioner, People’s World Commission on Flood and Drought.

The session covered the following Working Groups of Civil20 India 2023: Integrated Holistic Health: Mind, Body and Environment; Sustainable and Resilient Communities: Climate, Environment and Net Zero Targets; Lifestyle For Environment (LiFE); and Revival of Rivers and Water Management. The respective coordinators of these Working Group also spoke in the session. They were namely, Dr Priya Nair, School of Medicine, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Dr Maneesha Sudheer, Provost, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Dr Gajanan Dange, President Yojak and Vasuki Kalyanasundaram, The Satsang Foundation, India.

Satyanand Mishra as the Chair remarked that a common theme runs across all the subjects of the working group which was that human beings were interdependent on their surroundings and nature. This is thought that Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) has been propagating in her thoughts as the CIVIL20 India 2023 Chair.

Dr Priya Nair elaborated on the concept of holistic health which entailed a relationship between health and environment. She said that her working group looked for best examples (Udaaharan) related to activities of her working group on Holistic Health.  She elaborated on mental health, focus on nutrition, elderly health and life care’ holistic health, non-communicable disease, one health, and women and child health as integral components of holistic health.

Dr Maneesh Sudheer said that the working group focussed on four-sub themes: Climate Resilience and social justice; Environmental Sustainability,  Net Zero Emission Management, and Compassion Driven approach to sustainable development

Gajanan Dange  said that lifestyle and development was linked . He said that we should add goal based frameworks with a value based framework. Adding of value based approach framework will be key to environment centric lifestyle. He said that we will carry forward the Indian way of development to the world.

Vasuki Kalyanasundaram talked of the importance of conservation of rivers. The disappearing of rivers and pollution of water bodies was a concern, She highlighted the role of 5Rs in water management. – Reduce, Re-use, Recharge, Recycle and Respect. She said that it was a positive sign that governments across the world such as in India and New Zealand  were recognising rivers as a living entity.

Dr Andy Carmone said that two themes were very important while discussing health: Equity and gender integration and wholistic health.  She stressed that we needed to look into the health problems of people living in remote areas and of  those who were from the marginalised society.

Dr Merle De Kreuk spoke of the importance of water cycle. She said that humanity broke the water cycle. As scientists and researchers, we are looking into ways to improve it, but we needed to fix it.  Addressing and limiting climate change was our only chance to fix the water cycle.

Indira Khurana spoke on the theme climate change, drought and floods. She spoke of the importance of rainwater conservation. She talked of decentralized water conservation approach which looked at indigenous wisdom and crop cultivation in sync with ecology and rainfall of the region as essential aspects She highlighted the significance of community involvement. She said that focusing on emissions were not enough and there was a need to focus on water and water conservation. Any discussion of climate must have water in its agenda.

Jadav Payeng spoke about his work in forest conservation.  He stressed on the role of planting and nurtured trees. Trees had not only to be planted but also to be nurtured.  He said that his planted forests have ushered in a diversity of fauna. A project was opened under his forest which was teaching to love and respect the environment and plant trees. He appealed to all to plant one tree on their birthdays rather than cutting cakes.

Satyanand Mishra concluded the session by thanking all speakers. He said that a number of important issues related to the environment were discussed in the session.

Satyananda Mishra, former Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) chairing  the  Plenary session on  ‘Balancing Development with Environment’ before the C-20 inception meeting in Nagpur on 20th March 2023.

Jadav payeng, Environmentalist  from Majuli,  Assam addressing the Plenary session on  ‘Balancing Development with Environment’ before the C-20 inception meeting in Nagpur on 20th March 2023.