Ximena Prugue , winner of the 2011 blogging competition traveled to India - the host country for WED from 2 to 6 June to blog on major WED events and celebrations for both the UNEP and TreeHugger websites.
From Bangalore to Delhi India celebrates World Environment Day 2011
India, the first time global host of World Environment Day, marked the occasion - themed Forests: Nature at your Service - with a week of colourful events across the country from Bangalore to New Delhi, lead by the The Minister for Environment and Forests in Inda, Jairam Ramesh and UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.
On 4 June the WED caravan moved to the southern city of Bangalore.
Minister for Environment and Forests in India, Jairam Ramesh and UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner participated with athletes and Bollywood celebrities in the cook-out organized by the TCS World 10K Marathon sponsors.
In the afternoon they launched the Nature Camp for speech and hearing impaired children and inaugurated an exhibition on Western Ghatt biodiversity.
On 3 June, WED celebrations in India started with a public dedication of Tree Plantation in Juanapur, among farmland in Mehrauli, just outside the city of Delhi proper but still within the city limits, on now-degraded land thousands of trees have been planted in an effort to reestablish forests, providing expanded wildlife habitat and ecosystem restoration--which as Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh pointed out means improved livelihoods for people as well.
Later in the day, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) hosted a special session on Building a Green Economy. Speaking at the session, Jairam Ramesh said, “We have a great responsibility towards our growing population, we need to add 8-10 million jobs every year and ensure that the jobs are green. We also have to ensure environment conservation as livelihoods need to be preserved and enhanced.”
He defined Green Economy as one that protects & enhances natural capital while meeting the economic imperatives of the country. Ramesh called upon industrialists to take up the leadership in India’s transition towards a green economy.
Addressing business leaders, Achim Steiner, said that Green Economy is not an alternative economy but is very much a thing of the present. While underlining the significance of the corporate sector in the green economy, he stated that industry is part of the solution as much of the problem and the power to shift from conventional model to a green economy is greatest with the corporate sector.
Minister Ramesh and Achim Steiner opened a green bazaar of non-timber forest products at the famous Dilli Haat, a traditional crafts market in the heart of New Delhi. The Haat also hosted a Knowledge Park, where students and eco clubs from across the country show-cased conservation projects and educational materials.
Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General CII, said that Green Economy presents great opportunities for the corporate sector within its challenges and that industry will play a key role in making the transition.
The day ended with the opening of a green bazaar of non-timber forest products at the famous Dilli Haat, a traditional crafts market in the heart of New Delhi. The Haat also hosted a Knowledge Park, where students and eco clubs from across the country show-cased conservation projects and educational materials.
The Haat also witnessed the launch of a dedicated World Environment Day song by Famous artist, Shubha Mudgal, titled “The Colour of Life”. The artist described the song as a lyrical appeal to breathe into the world the spirit of environmental conservation, inspired by India’s vibrant spiritual heritage.
World environment Day in India culminated with the launch of UNEP’s report on “Green Economy and Forests”, which states that investing an additional US $40 billion a year in the forestry sector could halve deforestation rates by 2030, increase rates of tree planting by around 140 percent by 2050, and catalyuze the creation of millions of new jobs worldwide.
The report points out that if backed by the right kinds of enabling policies such an investment could also sequester or remove an additional 28 per cent of carbon from the atmosphere, thus playing a key role in combating climate change.
Joining Minister Ramesh and Executive Director Steiner at the unveiling of the report, was UN Resident Coordinator in India, Patrice Coeur Bizot.
Over 100 women leaders showed their support by organizing a one-day conference in New Delhi on “Nature & Livelihoods: Women’s Perspective”. Women from indigenous groups, civil society and the grass roots shared experiences and success stories
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and UN Resident Co-ordinator for India praised the initiatives of women leaders and emphasized the crucial role they play in forest conservation.