7 February 2010

Mobilizing Civil Society


He mentioned that civil society had reasons to be proud for bringing the issue of climate change on the map. Local politicians are experiencing pressure from their constituencies for taking action on climate change.
He touched upon a number of crucial issues - water and climate change; governance in environmental affairs; ethical obligation towards the next generation; the science behind climate change and the need to communicate it to decision makers and general public; capacity building, costing, mainstreaming, and networking, including meta-networking.
He emphasized the need to look at our own personal actions and their impacts. He welcomed the setting up of carbon funds as a practical solution, as well as the sustainable infrastructural fund in Vietnam. He also cited the example of Vietnam as an emerging market, where forest cover had increased considerably and the country had been ranked fifth on the Happiness Index.
Mr Suman K Bery Director General, National Council of Applied Economic Research   Prof Walter Erdelen Assistant Director General, Natural Sciences, UNESCO   Mr Rick Mayo-Smith Co-Chairman, Indochina Capital, Vietnam

He said that reducing the carbon footprint should not be looked at as a burden or sacrifice but more as an opportunity. He cited the example of solar lanterns which could transform a billion lives.
He stressed on the need to invest in climate-friendly infrastructure and on improving capacities to be institutional partners with civil society organizations.
He stressed on the need to mobilize and be responsible towards the younger generation and their future. He also proposed that the Indian government should raise a group of 20-30 million ‘eco-farmers’ who would work on degenerated, barren lands. This would not only restore to life the forests, wetlands, and corals, but also provide employment to people.
Mr Carl Pope Executive Director, Sierra Club, USA   Dr Ursula Schaefer-Preuss Vice-President, Knowledge and Management and Sustainable Development, ADB   Mr Bittu Sahgal Environmentalist and Editor, Sanctuary Asia and Sanctuary Cub Magazines, India  

She lauded the Indian mindset which looks inwards for solutions, and said that the US could learn a lot from India. On the US climate change bill, she pointed out that there was still hope and efforts were on to change the public mood, and advocacy was being done with the Congress and senators.
He joined the panel at the request of the moderator and stressed on the principles of compassion, communication, collaboration, and cooperation. To a loud applause, the popular musician reminded the audience of the power of music to bring people together and solve problems.
Ms Anjali Jaiswal Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, USA   Mr Salman Ahmad Rock group Junoon      

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