Friday, July 22, 2011

First Announcement for Participation - Second Odisha River Conference

First Announcement(Detailed Invitation)

Call for Participation

Second Odisha River Conference

“Conflicts across borders: Rivers of South Orissa call your urgent attention!”

Dates: 24 – 26, September 2011, IRDWSI/WIDA Campus, Semiliguda, Koraput District, Odisha


-         Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO)
-         Indian River Network (IRN)
-         Orissa Development Action Forum (ODAF)/Forum of Collective Forms of Cooperation (FCFC)

Dear Friends/Colleagues,

Rivers are dying; crying for our urgent attention.  In states like Odisha in India, where water guzzling industrialization has become the norm of ‘development’ rivers are emerging as big battlefields.  Most of the rivers of the state are monsoon fed; on which depend the irrigation plans, drinking water, ecology and others.  However, the gradual transition of the attention from agrarian economy to an industrial one is starting to take a heavy toll on both the quantity and quality of river waters.  A state that’s being marketed as a water surplus one, to attract more and more investments into mining and other industrial projects, is actually turning out to be one of the most severe water stressed one.  As a result, new and newer ways to manage water resources are being envisaged by the government and others; the recent being an aggressive water reforms plan in the name of ‘Integrated Water Resources Management’, being pushed through with support from Asian Development Bank and other international financial institutions. 

We at Water Initiatives Odisha(WIO) and our member and support organisations have been warning of severe consequences if things go the way they are progressing now.  We have been demanding the state to issue a White Paper on water availability in the state that not only gives a comprehensive picture of use and abuse of the resource at the moment by all sectors also brings into agenda a future perspective in line with the ongoing and upcoming plans of growth of the state.  We have also been demanding that all these be done under climate change scenarios as because Odisha is not only a victim of climate change but also emerging as one of the biggest contributor to it. 

To discuss about the issues and problems facing with rivers of the state, we had organised the First Odisha River Conference during 18 – 20 of April in 2009.  This conference, the first ever exclusive event on issues pertaining to rivers of the state, brought about 75 people from all concerned sections of the society and institutions.  It came out with the Sambalpur Declaration (attached for your reference), which we have been following with several activities.  In the mean while we also launched the “Save Odisha Rivers Campaign” that started with an oath taking at Bheden River in March 2010.  Many more initiatives have also been taken up with the basic aim of establishing the right of the communities and ecology over the water resources which can only bring sustainable management of our river basins and the species dependent on those.

We are happy to announce that the stage is now set for the Second Odisha River Conference.  We are proposing to hold it during 24th – 26th of September, 2011.  This time, besides dwelling upon all the above issues, we shall have a focussed discussion on the rivers of South Odisha which, many of us believe, are in perils.  The Polavaram battle is the recent indication of it.  This conference will bring together select participants from among river warriors/activists, civil society organisations, academicians/researchers, subject experts, govt. officials and others concerned from within the state as well as outside.

To re-ascertain the status of rivers in the state with more focus on the conflicts along the rivers.

To discuss in detail the water scenario; both present and future, of the state in a rights perspective.

To identify alliances in neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Chhatisgarh to work on joint strategies on projects like the Polavaram.

To identify key issues of action on rivers of Odisha to strengthen the actions and advocacy in the coming times.

With the above broad set of objectives, we shall be discussing a plethora of issues such as rivers flows, dams, IWRM, climate change, livelihood, inter-state conflicts, role of IFIs in river basin planning and management, irrigation, ecology, river pollution, so on and so forth.

If you are working on rivers and are interested to participate then please contact us with a bit of information on how you contribute to the deliberations.  We are organising this in a remote place in Koraput district and can accommodate very limited people who can constructively contribute to the discussion and follow up actions.  We are also expecting proper representation from all the segments of participants we have narrated above.  So, we are requesting you to please send in a short note on the issues/concerns/cases you would like to present/represent in the Conference to help us to decide on the participation.  Please also note that we are planning to bring out a report of the Conference that would also include a compendium of presentations/papers of the participants.  We are open to both academic/research papers as well as field case studies on subjects mentioned above.  Abstracts between 100 to 300 words covering the topic that you are covering, the location of the issue, the discussions that you want to bring to light, etc. should be sent to us by 20th of August, 2001 for our committee to look into the same and get back to you.

We are working on a tight budget for this Conference and hence will only be able to bear economy travel expenses of a limited number of participants, mostly of those who are activists/warriors and/or are coming from organisations that cannot afford to pay their travel.  However, we shall be happy to provide all the participants with accommodation and food during the Conference. 

We sincerely look forward to hear from you.

Thanking you,

Ranjan Panda                      Dr. William Stanley                        Prof. Arttabandhu Mishra
WIO                                         ODAF/FCFC                                      IRN



About the Organisers:

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is an informal but most active network of water activists, civil society groups, academia, media and others in the state of Odisha, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues for more than two decades now. WIO organised the First Odisha River Conference and has been at the forefront of water research, action and advocacy in the state.  Initiating its action and research around water harvesting, WIO has now spread into larger issues on water including dams, rivers, coastal waters, so on and so forth.  Its bi-monthly publication water ‘Panira Dagara’ is the first of its kind in Odisha to spread awareness and advocacy issues related to water.  WIO has been actively involved with several national and international networks on water including those on rivers.  WIO has also initiated and is leading the “Save Odisha’s Rivers Campaign”.

Indian River Network (IRN) is based at the Peaceful Society; Goa was formed in 1998 and raised the collective concern about protection and conservation of rivers and water bodies.  IRN has been organizing several national, state and regional level programmes and supporting activists and organizations working around rivers since its inception. 

ODAF (Orissa Development Action Forum) is a forum of twelve NGOs working in 12 districts of Odisha. It was formed in the year 1988 to combat the severe and recurring drought situation of the State and named itself as ‘Orissa Drought Action Forum’. The name later on changed to ‘Orissa Development Action Forum’ with the broadening of its approach from drought to development over 20 years of its work with the people of Odisha. Its rights based approach aims at achieving quality of life through a holistic people centered development that covers self governance, ownership, sustainable management of natural resources, issue based advocacy that efforts to influence the policies and organizations at various levels affecting the lives and livelihoods of people, Socio-Cultural and Political Rights with a balance of Ecology and Economy, disaster preparedness and response, Gender and Social Justice.

Forum of Collective Forms of Cooperation (FCFC)

Developed in 2002, the Forum of Collective Forms of Cooperation, FCFC is a platform of CFC – (Collective forms of cooperation) partners for mutual dialogue, exchange and learning, from experiences and insights among partner organizations.  A non-institutional and non-hierarchical initiative to promote, strengthen and practise of collectiveness without interference into the individual processes of partner organizations.   The FCFC, as a network of CFC-partners, will strive to enhance effectiveness and impact of the work of member organisations throughout the country and enable them to network, cooperate and undertake joint action programmes at local, regional, national and global level, in order to pursue a sustainable pro-poor development process.

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

R-3/A-4, J. M. Colony, Budharaja
Sambalpur 768 004, Odisha, INDIA
Mobile: +919437050103
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Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

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Kiss the rain when you can, because water and abundance are falling apart...(Ranjan Panda)

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