To mark World Wetlands Day, Wetlands International South Asia (WISA) organized a seminar on “Wetlands and Climate Change” at India International Centre, New Delhi.
The seminar discussed pathways and policy directions for mainstreaming diverse wetland ecosystems and ecosystem values in climate policy. The event was attended by 70 participants from central government agencies, International organizations, academia, civil society, media and experts. The Chief Guest of the event, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairperson, NITI Aayog (National Institution of Transforming India, the premier policy think-tank of Government of India) released the book Wetland Conservation Ethos, which provides an overview of wetlands, their values and functions, management approaches and role of citizens in conserving wetlands. A poster on the world wetland day theme was also released. Wetlands International South Asia also released a training module on integrated wetland management.
In his key-note address, Dr Kumar called upon the need for upscaling efforts of wetlands conservation at the national and regional scale. Reminiscing his personal experiences of being with in wetlands around the country, he mentioned that wetlands formed an integral part of the Indian culture which was structured around the philosophy of man with and within nature, rather than man against nature.
Dr Kumar mentioned that wetland conservation efforts adopted in the country so far had limited impact due to silo like approaches which failed to build on convergence opportunities. The need for Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to embellish its policy-making role beyond a focus on regulation was also mentioned. He also called upon wetlands conservation to be made a popular movement connecting masses and not confining to elitist issues addressing few sectoral interests.
The seminar featured presentations by Prof. C.K. Varshney (Prof. Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Member, Governing Body, WISA), Dr Anil K. Gupta (Associate Professor, National Institute of Disaster Management) and Mr. Pyush Dogra (Senior Environment Specialist, The World Bank).