Getting habituated to a habit...
There is a competition to live a life that takes you farther from your roots. Our roots are inevitably ecological. Having gained the wonderful experience of knowing ecology from close corners over the last two decades, I behave like an objective chronicler of it. This blog is meant to be a contemporary chronology of ecology, economics and we the being. The blog will have text and visuals. Ranjan Panda
network like ours that is at forefront of water action, research and advocacy
in the state, each day is a Water Day. However, we try to engage
ourselves in some meaningful activity on the World Water Day(WWD) designated by
the UN, i.e. 22nd March 2015.
year, we celebrated the day with the fisher folk communities on the banks of
River Mahanadi where hundreds of fisher folks took pledge to be part in WIO's
'Mahanadi River Basin Initiative' to save India's 6th largest river from
you for your support during the last year's programmes and throughout our 25
years of journey in becoming the voice of water in the state.
year, we have decided to join the WWD function organized by groups of Angul as
they have invited me to speak about water crises faced by industrial towns such
as this. I am informed the Member of Parliament will also join the
function among others.
forward to a meaningful programme and to strengthen our network and campaigns
Water Initiatives Odisha*
Combat Climate Change Network, India
River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance, New York)
Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society
organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been
working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more
than 25 years now.
On the midnight of March 18, representatives from 187 UN member states adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 with seven targets and four priorities for action. After the marathon negotiations that preceded the convention,one would have expected a clear cut action plan and commitments from developed nations. So far, it is understood, only Japan made some funding commitment for this proposal as the five-day-long conference wrapped up.
In 2013 cyclone Phailin ravaged over 300,000 houses in coastal Odisha in India's east coast, which is listed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change among regions of maximum vulnerability
Earlier proposals for percentage goals were rejected, so the current set looks like vague targets. The current framework for 15 years replaces the 10 year long Hyogo Framework for Action. The Sendai Framework aims to lower the global mortality rate from disasters between 2020 and 2030, compared with 2005 to 2015, and reduce the proportion of people affected.
Disasters and the related devastations have increased in the last decade despite of the existence of the Hyogo Framework, the current Framework recognises. During 2005-2015 alone, over 700,000 people lost their lives. More than 1.4 million people were injured and approximately 23 million became homeless due to disasters.
The world’s worry about disasters, more so due to climate change, has aggravated manifold as more than 1.5 billion people were affected by disasters in various ways during the last decade. Women, children and people in vulnerable situations were disproportionately affected. The total economic loss was more than $1.3 trillion. In addition, between 2008 and 2012, 144 million people were displaced by disasters.
Disasters induced by climate change have in fact increased in frequency and intensity. While there are more noises around large-scale disasters among planners globally, the conference rightly points out that recurring small-scale disasters and slow-onset disasters particularly affect communities, households and small- and medium-sized enterprises. In fact, these sections of people face a high percentage of losses.
While all countries face mortality and economic losses from disasters, in the case of developing countries these are disproportionately higher. In fact, poor countries face increased levels of possible hidden costs and challenges to meet financial and other obligations. And, as we know, they are the least prepared to handle the challenges. Take for example India that faces huge losses due to climate change-induced disasters, so much so that the expenses on adaptation increased from 2.6 per cent in 2012 to 6 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2014. And the country is even not able to assess the real (covering all areas and all intensities) losses and damages due to climate change properly.
Just take the water crisis faced by the nation, most of which is due to climate change—global and local (growth induced)—and you would realise the vastness of the problem that the country faces now. Eight of the 10 warmest years in the country’s history fell in the last decade; and almost 54 per cent of the country’s geographical areas face high to extremely high water stress. Things are getting worse and we have not been able to cope with such disastrous situations.
The Sendai Framework recognises that the goals of sustainable development are being outsmarted by the gaps in progress and achievement agenda such as the Millennium Development Goals and have tried to give a perspective to overcome all these so as to contribute meaningfully and substantially to the new era December climate negotiations in Paris, however, the broadness of the goals without specific time plan and targets disappoint us.
It recognizes the need to develop an action-oriented framework that Governments and relevant stakeholders can implement in a supportive and complementary manner that can help to identify disaster risks to be managed and guides investment to improve resilience. It also recognizes some vital factors that are contributing to the disasters and rightly mentions about the role of unsustainable urbanisation.
However, it completely fails to discuss the way we produce our energy and the impacts there from. Fossil fuel, especially coal, continues to be the major source of our energy. The GDP growth oriented economy, that most of the climate change vulnerable countries such as India are following in fact not only contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions and disasters but also increase lot of local woes that club the impacts and devastate the poor the most.
The commitments for the Sendai Framework are voluntary but unless the signing countries adhere to green growth models, most of the goals would remain to be addressed in the same light even after 15 years. A new framework may then be developed but the gaps in implementation and disasters would have grown.
Ranjan Panda is convenor of Combat Climate Change Network, India
If humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, the average temperature of the Earth’s lower atmosphere could rise more than 4 °C (7.2 °F) by the end of the 21st century. But what does a global average temperature rise really mean? How would we experience it on a daily basis?
To find out what could lie in store, the WMO invited television weather presenters from around the world to imagine a “weather report from the year 2050.” What they created are only possible scenarios, of course, and not true forecasts. Nevertheless, they are based on the most up-to-date climate science, and they paint a compelling picture of what life could be like on a warmer planet.
These worst-case futures do not need to happen. WMO is releasing Series 3 of the future weather reports during the March 2015 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to highlight the need for action to minimize the risks of extreme weather and climate events. Series 2 was launched in December 2014 during the Lima conference on the Climate Change Convention, and Series 1 was launched in September 2014 to support the UN Secretary-General’s call for action at the UN Climate Summit.
(Broadcast and projection of these videos is authorized free of charge and without formal written permission provided that the original source is acknowledged and subject to the standard creative commons licensing conditions.)
Source: By email from Michael Williams, WMO, Switzerland
On Friday, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative
Council (WSSCC) and UN Women revealed that women and girls in Central and West
Africa lack access to clean water, private spaces for managing their
menstruation, and clean, functioning toilet facilities. In a series of studies,
developed within the Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation in West
and Central Africa, researchers drew upon the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) prepared by the Open Working Group and the Secretary General’s Synthesis
Report on the Post-2015 development agenda. The studies provide critical
information about sociocultural taboos on menstrual hygiene and linked
knowledge and practices in the region in order to highlight an area of global
neglect with deleterious consequences for the education, mobility and economic
opportunity for women and girls, societies, and economies.
At an event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Singapore
and Senegal to the United Nations,
Government representatives, policymakers, researchers and development
practitioners articulated the need to talk about this neglected area in women’s
health and education- menstrual hygiene management. Informed by evidence from
Central and West Africa, South Asia and wider, the discussion took stock of the
gross neglect of this issue in awareness, policy, facilities and monitoring.
Key findings from the reports included:
· At present,
there are no public policies in West or Central Africa mentioning menstrual
hygiene management. Although women manage the water, sanitation and hygiene
services in their households and community and are key users as mothers and
caregivers, they are not consulted in the design and maintenance elements of
sanitation and water facilities. Since 2013, India’s sanitation policy and
guidelines include menstrual hygiene management as a key element of the
national campaign to achieve a clean India.
· A lack of
information, inadequate sanitary infrastructure and the persistence of certain
beliefs have a negative impact on girls’ education, on female health and on
women’s potential for economic empowerment. Half of all schools surveyed in the
Kedougou region of Senegal did not even have toilets and 96% of the women
surveyed said they did not regularly go to work while they were menstruating.
· The majority
of respondents in all regions surveyed said that toilets are the most common
places for the disposal of used menstrual pads or cloths due to the absence of
a waste management system.
· 90% of the
women and girls interviewed in Kedougou have undergone female genital
mutilations. Nearly a quarter of them reported infections during their
menstrual period, suggesting a link between this practice and increased
vulnerability to infections.
Key policy recommendations
from the event include the following:
states must break this silence, articulating menstrual needs in policies,
budgets, programmes and monitoring systems and calling upon the global
community to empower women and girls by guaranteeing safe menstrual hygiene
is an indicator of female health and vitality. Sexual and reproductive health
and rights advocacy and programmes must ensure knowledge, safe conditions and
dignity so that the trauma at puberty is replaced by pride and confidence.
the media, schools and colleges, health practitioners, mothers and fathers must
talk about menstruation and enable safe, dignified management in order to
replace shame with pride.
· Safe spaces
for changing, cleaning and washing and drying at home, school, the market and
work must be ensured for women and girls everywhere. This means changing the
design, construction and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene
facilities to serve a human lifecycle by age, gender and physical ability.
· Half of
humanity is female. Women and girls menstruate as this enables them to have
babies and reproduce humanity itself.
The silence, taboos, and stigma linked to menstruation violates a host of
Source: Email from Alison Bradley, WSSCC
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network India
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance, New York)
Will be speaking here on 'Climate Change and Water' in a Workshop that brings experts and practitioners from India and Bangladesh to discuss Climate Change in Bay of Bengal! On an another note: Just realised, the cost of roadside food stalls is fast
catching up with other cities. Re 10 for a cup of tea is a big rise compared to
Re 5 just couple of years back! Don't know if it is leading towards further joy
or adding more burden on people!!
Sambalpur University campus is growingly becoming an unsafe
place for the girls, thanks to some of its male professors/teachers. The Law
Dept head's alleged attempt to rape his PhD student on International Women's
Day is only the recent example.
We had just heard a month or so ago how a History department
professor tried to rape a minor daughter of another teacher. There have been
some more such incidences that makes me feel ashamed of being an alumni of this
High time the University administration starts a new course
where its male teachers, staff and students learn how to respect women and law
of the land!
Just received an email that has been circulated by India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar (pasted below for your reference), which asks you to visit the MoEF website to see how his Ministry has launched a Smart E-book on February 23, 2015.
He claims this to be first of its kind Smart E-Book that showcases the initiatives of his Ministry in the last eight months.
However, when you visit the website and click on the URL, it says, "This link will take to you an external website. We are not responsible for the content."
Well, I welcome the idea of the E-Book but can't understand why the Ministry does not take responsibility of it's own publication. May be they are not sure about the content themselves. Anyways, make your own guess!
I am happy to share the link of the Smart E-book of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change that I had launched on February 23, 2015. The first of its kind Smart e-book showcases the initiatives of the Ministry in the last Eight months. It can be accessed through the following link/URL:
Happy to share with you that tonight (7th March) at 9.30 PM IST (USA 11 AM ET), I shall be speaking at the Los Angeles based radio channel 'NRI Samay' on issues concerning the acute water crisis faced by Sao Paulo in specific and other cities in general.
A part of the interview also deals with our efforts in Mahanadi and what we can do together to solve the crisis.
I request you to please find some time and look at the link below tonite.
Look forward to your comments and support.
Pasting below the information from the website of the channel.
A typical Indian family grows the girl child with the sole
objective of handing her to another family at marriage. 'She now belongs to
you,' say the bride's family to the groom's as if a property is transferring
hands. Marriage as an institution needs a lot of reforms if we are serious
about empowering women...
Greetings from Combat Climate Change Network, India!
The Spring shower has given a devastating surprise to Indian farmers in several parts of India. Standing crops such as Wheat, Mustard, Gram and fruits like Mango, Cashew, Orange and Grapes have been severely affected.
At a time when the Indian government is discussing budget in the current session of Parliament and there seems no big hope for the farmers, this untimely rain and resultant losses is spelling a doomsday for the farming communities of the country.
I am pasting below a latest news published in Hindustan Times that details the devastation and the cause, especially the Western disturbance.
We are keeping a watch on the situation and request you to please support the farmers of the nation at this critical moment.
We at Combat Climate Change Network, India urge upon the Government of India as well as respective state Governments to be with the farmers and support them with appropriate compensation and all necessary back up to recover from this loss.
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India
Spring shower, winds take toll on India's rabi crops
“We are still compiling the data but, on an average, untimely rains in the last two days, depending on the region, have caused 10-20% damage to standing crops like wheat, mustard and gram. Some fruits like mango, cashew, orange and grapes have been affected,” said Dr N Chattopadhyay, deputy director general, agricultural meteorology division, Pune.
Apart from Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab received heavy rains caused by western disturbance that formed in the Arabian Sea on February 28. Western disturbance is the term used to describe a storm originating in the Mediterranean that brings sudden rain and snow to the Indian subcontinent. Maharashtra registered moderate to heavy rains. Sunday’s downpour of 56.8mm has already made this month Delhi’s wettest March in five years.
“The high winds accompanied by rains have caused lodging of crops in many areas. Most parts of Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have been affected. Wheat-growing areas have been affected the most,” Chattopadyay said.
With the weatherman predicting more rains in the coming days, there has been growing concern of its effect on farmers and their produce. “March will be wetter than normal. There will be a negative impact on early-sown mustard and wheat in all regions where the rainfall has been very heavy. We can also expect some loss of vegetables. The high humidity and low temperature have created conditions that are congenial for the outbreak of pests and diseases in fields,” director general of India Meteorological Department (IMD) Dr L S Rathore said.
According to IMD sources, another western disturbance is likely to form on March 5. “This fresh disturbance will affect the western Himalayan region from March 7 and cause scattered precipitation. It will also cause isolated rain and thunderstorm over plains of northwest and central India and at a few places in the northeast. Isolated rain or thunderstorm would also occur over peninsular India.”
The issue of loss to farmers was also raised by some MPs. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government would take appropriate measures.
fly ash pond is illegally built on forest land
We are shocked to learn that the Vedanta group of company’s Sesa
Sterlite Industries, at Bhurkamunda of Jharsuguda district, has built its fly
ash pond by illegally encroaching upon 246.74 acres of forest land in complete
violation of the Forest Conservation Act 1980.
This is unlawful and the company must be immediately punished for this
While the ash pond has been built since 2009-2010, and the local people
have always complained about its illegality, ironically the Forest Department
is said to have intervened in this matter only in 2013. All these years
therefore, the illegal fly ash pond kept operating in connivance with the
What surprises us more is that the Forest Department is said to have
written only one letter requesting the company in this regard while they should
have shut the fly ash pond by now.
The role of the local administration and most importantly that of the
Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) is also dubious in this
case. How can such an unlawful operation go without their
support? All the concerned officials, who have deliberately let
Vedanta continue with this illegal act, should also be questioned and punished
in this case.
Since the year 2010, WIO has been pointing at the blatant and open
violations of environmental and other laws by Vedanta group of companies in
that area. We have also been urging upon the state government to not
allow any thermal power plant without first ensuring the proper management of
fly ash. However, this case once again exposes how the state government
has been neglecting the health and well-being of the local people,
forests, water bodies and rivers by allowing the companies like Vedanta to
loot local resources, destroy the environment and flout laws of the land.
We urge upon the state government of Odisha to effect an immediate
closure of the illegal fly ash pond, free the forest land from the company’s
clutches and punish all who are responsible for violating the laws of the land
in this case.
For further information on the issue and support our campaigns, please
Ranjan K Panda
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has taken a series
of decisions to make its reports more accessible and involve developing
countries more closely in its work.
The decisions, following a review of the future work of the IPCC over
the past year and a half, pave the way for the IPCC to prepare its next cycle
of reports, which will be initiated by elections for a new Bureau and Chair in
Among the moves agreed to this week at its Session in Nairobi, Kenya,
the Panel decided to increase the representation of African and Asian countries
in the IPCC Bureau by increasing the number of its members to 34 from 31.
It also decided to continue preparing comprehensive assessment reports
every five to seven years, which also cover regional aspects of climate change,
taking into account the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) in determining its future reports and their
It agreed that the different parts of an assessment report should be
released within about a year, but no more than 18 months, with a staggering
between working group contributions to allow information presented by one
working group to be adequately reflected in the other working group
contributions and the Synthesis Report.
This meeting, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme at its
headquarters in Nairobi, was the IPCC’s first since completing the Fifth
Assessment Report in November 2014, the most comprehensive assessment of the
science relating to climate change ever undertaken.
The IPCC generally examines its operations and products at the end of an
assessment cycle. The latest review, to help determine how the IPCC works in
future, the kind of reports it produces and how it can draw on the
contributions of all its members, began in October 2013.
Below is a selection of decisions taken by the IPCC at its 41st Session
in Nairobi on 24-27 February
Structure and operations of the IPCC
representation of African and Asian countries on the IPCC Bureau by increasing
the number of its members to 34 from 31;
Secretariat and Technical Support Units to command a respectful workplace,
emphasizing policies and practices that promote diversity, fairness,
collaboration and inclusiveness.
Frequency and scheduling of reports
·Continue to produce
assessment reports every 5 to 7 years;
·Parts of an
assessment report to be issued within about a year and at most 18 months of
Making reports more user-friendly
up-to-date digital technology is used to share and disseminate
·Seek advice from
various specialists to make IPCC reports more readable.
Enhancing the role and contribution of developing countries
·Improve access for
authors to non-English language scientific literature;
authors of non-English language literature to serve as expert reviewers,
contributing authors and chapter scientists;
possibility of both countries providing co-chairs for a working group or task
force to host a technical support unit to enhance the profile and improve
working conditions for co-chairs from developing countries;
·Consider how to
broaden the nomination process for authors and review editors;
·Encourage the use
of research assistants or chapter scientists to support authors;
and other Bureau members to engage experts from developing countries in
technical support units, as authors and as reviewers;
·Increase the number
of IPCC activities in developing countries;
and training sessions for government representatives, e.g. before IPCC
and outreach activities to provide experts with information about the IPCC
process and how they can participate in IPCC work;
·Consider ways of
training and supporting young scientists from developing countries, even though
training and capacity-building is beyond the mandate of the IPCC.