PM receives Gates Foundation award in NY

by | Sep 26, 2019 | Environment, Sustainability

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the ‘Global Goalkeeper’ Award by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the ‘Global Goalkeeper’ Award by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, on 24 September 2019. The award ceremony took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.

Prime Minister dedicated the award to those Indians who transformed the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan into a mass movement and made it a part of their daily lives.

“The success of the Swachh Bharat Mission is due to the people of India. They made this their own movement and ensured the desired results were attained,” Prime Minister said after receiving the award.

Terming it as a significant moment personally to receive the award on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is proof that when 130 crore Indians take a pledge, any challenge can be overcome. He added that India is making remarkable progress in fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Swachh Bharat.

“In the last five years, a record of more than 11 crore toilets were constructed. This mission has benefitted the poor and women of the country the most,” he noted. In addition to improving sanitation and health, building of 11 crore toilets has also boosted economic activity in villages, PM added.

Speaking about improving global sanitation coverage, Prime Minister said that India was ready to share its expertise and experiences with other nations, so that there can be collective effort towards increasing sanitation coverage.

Prime Minister also mentioned about India’s efforts towards preventive healthcare through mission mode movements like Fit India Movement and Jal Jeevan Mission.

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Rohit Sharma, WWF joins hands for ‘Rhino Week’

Rohit Sharma, WWF joins hands for ‘Rhino Week’

Star Indian batsman Rohit Sharma is launching Rohit4Rhinos campaign, in partnership with WWF India and Animal Planet, to help build awareness for the need to conserve the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros or the Indian Rhino. In a campaign launching on Animal Planet to commemorate World Rhino Day on 22 September, Rohit pledges to do his bit to save the “vulnerable” species from extinction.

Rohit Sharma joined WWF India as its Brand Ambassador for Rhino Conservation in 2018. With leading wildlife channel, Animal Planet, now joining the cause, the team has set out to create awareness and sensitize India about the species and the need for its conservation. Animal Planet will run a series of path breaking programs during ‘Rhino Week’ to sensitize people about these gentle giants. A special page, www.rohit4rhinos.org is also being created to strengthen the campaign, through which viewers can pledge their support to the cause.

The state animal of Assam, the Indian rhinoceros faces several threats, including poaching, habitat loss and mass mortality from in-breeding and disease. (Pix: Shutterstock License)

Talking about Rhino conservation campaign, Rohit Sharma, said, “It is our duty as co-inhabitants of this planet to try and protect other species that walk this planet, alongside us. The future is in our hands and we should do whatever we can to ensure that our children are able to enjoy the rich biodiversity this world has to offer. I hope that this campaign will inspire others to come forward and join Animal Planet, WWF India and I in this endeavor to save the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros.”

“Discovery has long been committed to telling the stories and protecting the creatures that make our planet extraordinary. We remain steadfast to leverage the brand strength of India’s leading wildlife channel Animal Planet to galvanize people power for the cause of endangered species, said, Megha Tata, Managing Director – South Asia, Discovery. “We are confident that Rohit’s strong support for the cause of Rhino conservation will help more people to join us for the cause of saving these gentle giants.”

“WWF India would like to thank Rohit Sharma for being the voice of conservation and for his continuous support in raising awareness about the greater one-horned rhinos. Decades old stories of rhino conservation success in India need to be told and we believe that the campaign #Rohit4Rhinos being implemented in partnership with WWF India and Animal Planet will also be able to bring attention to the challenges that conservationists face in protecting the species,” said, Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Species and Landscapes, WWF India.

Of the estimated 3,500 Indian rhinos left in the world, 82% are found in India. Once found abundantly across the Indus, Ganges and the Brahmaputra river basins, the animal is now found only in select pockets in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The state animal of Assam, the Indian rhinoceros faces several threats, including poaching, habitat loss and mass mortality from in-breeding and disease.

With five decades of work in the conservation space, WWF India has been working extensively on rhino conservation across key landscapes where the animal is found in the country.

Rhino Week on Animal Planet
Starting 16 September as a part of the World Rhino Day celebration, Animal Planet will offer a week-long Rhino special programming including ‘Into The Wild: India’, ‘Tales From Rhino Land’, ‘Battleground: Rhino Wars’ every day at 8 PM. On World Rhino Day on 22 September, the channel will premiere globally acclaimed documentary ‘Flying Rhinos’- An ambitious project focusing on translocation of rhinos to a safe new home in a secret location. Heading the project are Jed and Bom – the rhino protectors.

The rhino, which was once seen as a strong and indomitable creature, is today listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species. Hunting and poaching of rhinos led to the rhino population of India dwindling to less than 200 in the 1990s.
WWF India is engaged in wildlife and nature conservation in the country and works to sensitize people by creating awareness through capacity building and enviro-legal activism.

UN body meet to combat desertification

UN body meet to combat desertification

The 12-day 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) begins today at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida. Briefing media persons, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Prakash Javadekar in presence of Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Ibrahim Thiaw; MoS, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries, expressed how mass awareness and public participation is the need of the hour. “Be it climate change or desertification, human actions have a role in disturbing the balance of nature. Now people have realized and therefore we are saying that if human actions have caused some damage, positive human action will undo that and make a better world for future generations.”

India will achieve sustainable land management & land restoration by 2030, Javadekar tweeted.

Pointing to an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, Javadekar said 122 countries, among them Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa, which are among the largest and most populous nations on Earth, “have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving land degradation neutrality a national target.” Javadekar also mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the high-level segment meeting on 9h September, 2019.

If human actions have created the problems of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, it is human efforts that will undo the damage and improve the habitats. We meet here in #UNCOP14 now to ensure that this happens, Javadekar tweeted.

There is an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land. 122 countries, including largest and most populous countries Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia, and South Africa have agreed to make Sustainable Development Goal of achieving land degradation neutrality a national target, he said in another tweet.

Talking about the importance of such large-scale conferences, Javadekar said, “Coming together at a world platform like this to share good stories and experiences will help the world. We can leapfrog for a good start in each country. Therefore, this UNCCD is very important and we expect some good outcomes which will be notified in Delhi Declaration. Delhi Declaration will form the future course of action.”

Echoing these sentiments, Ibrahim drew attention to the warnings sounded by recent scientific assessments and the growing public alarm at the frequency of weather-related disasters such as drought, forest fires, flash floods and soil loss, but urged delegates to be mindful of the opportunities for change that are opening up, and take action.

Ibrahim, thanked the Government of India for hosting the International Conference. “We are very fortunate to be here in India. This is undoubtedly going to be the largest COP ever organized by the UNCCD, said Ibrahim.

An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 Parties are expected. They will take around 30 decisions with actions that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts.

The UNCCD is an international agreement on good land stewardship. It helps people, communities and countries to create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food and water and energy, by ensuring land users have an enabling environment for sustainable land management. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on a sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss.

Fisheries key to sustainable food security: V-P

Fisheries key to sustainable food security: V-P

The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has said that environmentally friendly aquaculture can serve as a vehicle for rural development, food and nutritional security for the rural masses, considering the substantial contribution aquaculture makes towards socio-economic development in terms of income and employment.

Naidu was inaugurating the 5th Aqua Aquaria India 2019, India’s International Aquaculture Show, organized by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), in Hyderabad today.

“Sustainability and conservation must be the twin pillars on which we build our fisheries sector,” the Vice President said. (Tweeted by @VPSecretariat)

Highlighting the government’s resolve to double farmers’ income by 2022, the Vice President underscored the necessity of ensuring that the economic benefits from fisheries reach the primary producers, the fishermen and fish farmers. “We must reduce the role of middlemen, provide crop insurances, enhance access to credit, develop cold chains and good upcountry market linkages, provide infrastructure for post-harvest storage, handling and value addition,” he added.

Cautioning that reckless exploitation of limited resources, especially endangered marine species must be strictly prevented, the Vice President stressed that the promotion, regulation and monitoring of responsible fishing practices, through robust fisheries management and governance frameworks are essential for the sustainability of fisheries resources in both coastal areas and high seas.

The Vice President said that the burning concerns of marine and fresh water pollution caused by discarded plastics and harmful chemicals must be addressed on priority basis. Referring to the looming threats of global warming and climate change, he called for a coordinated response to tackle these issues. “Sustainability and conservation must be the twin pillars on which we build our fisheries sector,” he exhorted.

Speaking of India’s enormous potential in the fisheries sector, the Vice President stated that India is the second largest fish producer in the world with a production of 13.70 million metric tons of fish during 2018–19.

Reasoning that the rising world population is putting further pressure on the available food resources, the Vice President said that there was an urgent need to boost fish production to ensure food security to our billion-strong population.

Referring to the slogan given by the former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan and Jai Vigyan,’ Naidu said that we must salute the soldiers for guarding our borders, we must salute the farmer for producing food for us and we must salute the Scientists for making India scientifically advanced.

Endorsing the call given by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for Fit India, the Vice President said that it is the need of the hour and has to become a national movement. Intake of food rich in proteins, such as fish, is crucial for good health, he added.

Naidu said that with a long coastline of over 8,000 km and exploitable fisheries resources of 3.9 million metric tons, India is blessed with vast aquatic resources with a rich diversity of fish fauna for sustainable utilization. He added that India’s vast and diverse aquatic resources offered an excellent opportunity for expansion of aquaculture.

The Vice President also pointed out that globally, aquaculture is being looked upon as the best alternative to boost fish production, as the production from the traditional and marine fisheries have been stagnating.
Expressing concern that India exploits only a fraction of the aquaculture potential that is available to it, he said that there is room for both horizontal and vertical expansion in the fisheries sector. He also spoke about the immense potential India has in the field of mariculture.

Referring to the need for diversifying aquaculture, Naidu said that cage culture in floating or fixed cages and pen culture would help us meet this objective. The Vice President suggested that our future outlook must focus not on increasing our fishing efforts in the seas, but on judicious use of the declining fishery resources by reducing losses and focusing on value addition.

Stating that fisheries and aquaculture are multidisciplinary subjects where scientists and technologists have to work as teams, Naidu said that initiatives like Aqua Aquaria must not only serve as platforms for sharing knowledge and information on new technologies but also strive to take this knowledge to the common people, fish farmers and primary producers.

Referring to the role played by modern technology in enhancing production and productivity, the Vice President said that greater R&D support with strong linkages between research and development agencies was the need of the hour.

He congratulated MPEDA for organizing the 3-day exposition and expressed hope that such events would help giving a renewed impetus to the sector by infusing new ideas and advanced technology.
The Vice President inaugurated the MPEDA-RGCA Exhibition and the Business to Business Exhibition and went around the same.

The Minister for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Marketing, Andhra Pradesh, Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao; the Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Telangana, T Srinivasa Yadav; the Chairman, MPEDA, KS Srinivas and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Mahindra’s Plant a Tree campaign engages 4.5M

Mahindra’s Plant a Tree campaign engages 4.5M

Mahindra Group has said its three-month long citizens’ movement campaign #CelebrateDifferently has culminated with engagement (likes, shares and comments on the hashtag) from 4.5 million citizens. Under the Mahindra Hariyali initiative, Mahindra Group will now plant equivalent number of trees over the next four years to #RiseAgainstClimateChange.

Planting trees, including improving forest management, conservation, and regeneration, will help offset India’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, as well as providing a host of wider environmental and socio-economic benefits. As per research, more than 90% of young people agree that humans are responsible for climate change. 48.8% believe climate change is a more serious issue than war or inequality, Mahindra said in a release. Being the largest demographic group in India, millennials want to curb the effects of global warming and live a sustainable life. With millennials as the key catalyst of the initiative, #CelebrateDifferently was also conceptualized to encourage citizens to include tree plantation as part of their key celebrations. Alternately, individuals who are not able to do so, could simply like, share or comment on #CelebrateDifferently and Mahindra Hariyali committed to plant a tree on their behalf, the release added.

Sharing his thoughts on the success of the campaign, Ruzbeh Irani, President Group Communications and Ethics & Chief Brand Officer, Mahindra Group, stated, “The idea behind our citizen movement initiative was to collectively work towards giving back more than we take from our planet. Driven primarily by the millennials, our campaign has received an overwhelming response from citizens. Although campaign is concluded, we sincerely hope that #CelebrateDifferently continues to be a way of life for every citizen hereon.”

Mahindra said Citizens could continue to #CelebrateDifferently by planting with the help if NGOs such as, Grow Trees, etc. Grow Trees can help them give back to the environment by planting a tree in their name, which they can track.

As a part of the ongoing effort towards environment conservation, Mahindra Group aims to become net carbon neutral by 2040. Twenty companies of the Mahindra Group have committed to science-based targets that are in line with the decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C.

Shah lauds Mission Million Trees, flags off EV buses

Shah lauds Mission Million Trees, flags off EV buses

Union Home Minister Amit Shah today participated in the concluding ceremony of “Mission Million trees” program organized by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The Mission which started on World Environment Day on 5 June 2019 has been concluded with plantation of 10,87,000 trees in Ahmedabad city.

Speaking on the occasion, Shah urged people to keep away from using plastics bags while purchasing groceries and vegetables. Reminding the citizens of Paris climate accord, he outlined the danger of ozone layer depletion because of CO2 and CO emission worldover.

Union Home Minister planting a banyan tree on the concluding day of #MissionMillionTrees in Ahmedabad. (Pix tweeted by @AmitShah)

The Home Minister recalled that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on resuming powers second time in 2019 created a separate ministry for Jal Shakti. He said that this step will guide the entire world in coming days on various fronts of environment conservation including water conservation, water saving, wastewater treatment, irrigation innovations, etc.

Shah also flagged off eight AC electric buses in the city and also inaugurated a battery charging station. Lauding the efforts of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Shah appreciated that Ahmedabad has taken a lead on electric Mobility with countrymade buses. He also appealed to the civic authorities to keep prepared for technological needs such as establishment of efficient battery exchanging stations which should be time saving and energy efficient.

Shah had written a special letter to the chairmen/secretaries of the resident societies in his parliamentary constituency to plant at least 5 trees in their society which have more than 100 years of age such as Banyan tree, Peepal tree, etc. Expressing satisfaction at the response, the Home Minister said that he has received 3,216 positive replies in which the societies have also made arrangement for regular watering and maintenance of the trees.

Speaking on the occasion, the state Chief Minister Vijay Bhai Rupani assured the Home Minister that Gujarat will take lead in the country on enhancement of electric mobility. He emphasized that 50 electric buses have been provisioned in Ahmedabad now but in very short span of time 500 electric buses will be put to service in Ahmedabad alone. He reiterated for green, clean, environment friendly and pollution free state of Gujarat.

Vijay Rupani also informed that the electric buses are indigenously made which echoes the sentiments of Make in India. Expressing satisfaction at sufficient rainfall this monsoon, Rupani said that numerous check dams, ponds and other water conservation efforts of the state government in last 3 years are now yielding good results following this year’s good rainfall.

Bijal Patel, Mayor, Ahmedabad; Pradipsinh Jadeja, Home Minister, Government of Gujarat; RC Faldu, Agriculture Minister, Government of Gujarat; Kaushik Bhai Patel, Revenue Minister, Government of Gujarat, and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

Center releases Rs 47,436 crore for afforestation

Center releases Rs 47,436 crore for afforestation

In a major boost towards promoting afforestation and achieving green objectives of the country, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, today handed over Rs 47,436 crore of CAMPA funds to various states, in presence of Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo. In a meeting of State Forest Ministers and Authorities held at New Delhi, the Environment Minister stated, “The State budget for forests shall remain unaffected and the fund being transferred would be in addition to State Budget and it is expected that all States will utilize this fund towards forestry activities to achieve the objectives of the Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) of increasing its forest & tree cover, which will create an additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the year 2030.” The Environment Minister further emphasized that the CAMPA funds cannot be used for payment of salary, travelling allowances, medical expenses, etc.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo with representatives from states. (Pix: PIB)

Underlining the efforts of the Government towards preserving and improving the forest wealth and ecological security of the country, Javadekar said “Important activities on which the fund will be utilized will be for the Compensatory Afforestation, Catchment Area Treatment, Wildlife Management, Assisted Natural Regeneration, Forest Fire Prevention and Control Operations, Soil and Moisture Conservation Works in the forest, Improvement of Wildlife Habitat, Management of Biological Diversity and Biological Resources, Research in Forestry and Monitoring of CAMPA works etc.”

Background of CAMPA
With the initial experience of the states regarding under-utilization of the money collected towards compensatory afforestation, Supreme Court of India ordered for establishment of Compensatory Afforestation Fund and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2001.

In 2006, separate bank accounts were opened in which the compensatory levies were deposited and ad hoc CAMPA was established for the management of Compensatory afforestation fund. In 2009, Supreme Court permitted release of Rs 1,000 crore every year to States/UTs for compensatory afforestation and other activities. In 2014, Supreme Court permitted release of 10% of total deposit of states in the fund from interest accrued on the deposits.

This Act has provisioned that CAMPA funds shall be kept in interest bearing non-lapsable Public Account. After detailed deliberations with CAG and Ministry of Finance and deliberations with other Stakeholders, the fund flow mechanism could be finalized and the CAF Rules were finally put in place in 2018.

After notification of CAF Rules, with approval of the Supreme Court on 28 Jan 2019, an amount of Rs 54,685 Crore from Ad-hoc CAMPA has been brought under the control of Government of India. So far 27 States/UTs have created accounts for receiving the Funds from Union Government and today funds to the tune of Rs 47,436 crore have been transferred to those States. The Fund shall be utilized as per the provisions of the CAF Act and CAF Rules.

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