CHANDIGARH, (AVTAR SINGH): Pushpa Gujral Science City, collaborated with UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) to jointly organize World Environment Day with Punjab Pollution Control Board and Centre for Environment Communication, New Delhi.
A panel discussion on “Ecosystem Restoration to Achieve SDG Targets” was organized at the occasion which was chaired by Regional Head, UNDP, Dr. Vikas Verma, representative of United Nations University-CRIS, Belgium, Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla, and Member Secretary Punjab Pollution Control Board, Er. Krunesh Garg. The panel discussion was moderated by Director, General, Pushpa Gujral Science City, Dr. Neelima Jerath.
PGSC launched the SD-ASK program (Sustainable Development – Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge Programme) focused on children and youth at the occasion which will be dovetailed with UNDP’s ongoing Sustainable Development Education program for youth.
The WED program is a part of the online Quiz competition and Environmental Film Festival which was organized from June 2-5 . A film on ‘ECO Grants: Incubating Youth Idea’s’ was screened at the occasion to encourage youth towards adopting innovative practices to achieve Sustainable Development. The film presented 10 innovative solutions developed by the youth to address sustainable development issues. Kunjpreet Arora, Eco Grantee cum Film Maker who was present at this occasion, conversed with the participants and shared experiences.
The panel discussion focused on Sustainable Development Goals, sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combating desertification, and reversing land degradation & biodiversity loss. Chairing the panel, Dr. Vikas Verma, Regional Head, UNDP said 17 SDGs had been identified by the UN and a National Campaign could be used as a powerful catalyst to involve the society in making a difference towards a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. Moderating the discussion, Dr. Neelima Jerath, Director General, Science City said that 25% of India’s total geographical area was undergoing desertification while 32% was facing degradation that has affected its productivity, critically affecting the livelihood and food security of millions across the country. Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla, UNU-CRIS expressed that eco-friendly practices could help to stop global warming and conserve soil for good agricultural productivity. Climate Change mitigation and adaptation programs needed to be adopted. Speaking at the occasion, Er. Krunesh Garg said that stubble burning had adverse environmental implications in terms of climate change, health costs as well as disruptions in economic activities in the affected regions and needed to be curbed for which concerted action was being taken by the government.
A Book on short essays on “Preventing Pandemics- Why Biodiversity Matters” was also released, which was a part of the competition organized by PGSC earlier on Biodiversity day. In the competition first prize was won by Aarushi from Cambridge International School for Girls, Urban Estate Phase-II Jalandhar, the second prize clinched by Manmeet Kaur DRV DAV Phillaur, and Anik Panda from KV-2 Nausenabaugh Vishakhapatnam had received the third prize. The WED program, including films on Pollution and species conservation (on Myrstica swamps in Western Ghats of India and Amur falcons from NE India, both sites being biodiversity hotspots of the country), got an overwhelming response from the general public, youth, and students. The interaction with the filmmakers was moderated by Dr. Alka Tomar from CEC, Delhi who highlighted the role of films in molding public opinion. Thanking the participants Dr. Rajesh Grover, Director, PGSC, invited them to participate in the SD-ASK program and visit Science City to learn more about it.