Friday, March 20, 2015

WIO to join World Water Day function at Angul: I shall speak on water crises of industrial towns!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO)!

For a 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.  

Last 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 further decay.

We thank 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.

This 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.  

We look forward to a meaningful programme and to strengthen our network and campaigns further.

Thanks and regards


Ranjan K Panda

Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha*
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance, New York)

Mobile: +919437050103

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Tweet @ranjanpanda
Tweet @MahanadiRiver

Water 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.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Latest Article on Sendai Framework published in Down To Earth!

Sendai framework on disaster risk reduction disappoints

Posted on: 19 Mar, 2015

Goals are without specific time plan and targets
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.
imageIn 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


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Weather Reports from the Future: WMO

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.
Links to the videos, hosted at, are available below on the date scheduled for their release:
(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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Women and Girls of Central and West Africa lack access to clean water and private spaces to manage menstruation - WSSCC & UN Women

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:

·         Member 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 management.

·         Menstruation 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.

·         Citizens, 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 human rights.

Source: Email from Alison Bradley, WSSCC

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network India
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance, New York)

Tweet @ranjanpanda
Tweet @MahanadiRiver


Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Please join hands with WIO's 'Mahanadi River Basin Initiative' to save India's 6th largest River...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Searching for an answer to farmers' woes...

Why are the children of farmers not interested to become farmers? If we can find real answers to this question, I think, we can address most of the problems farmers of this nation face today...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Speaking 'Climate Change and Water' at Kolkata today!

Good Morning from Kolkata, the City of Joy!

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!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sambalpur University turning heaven for abusers of women?

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 University.

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!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

MoEF Smart E-Book: More gimmick, less substance? Guess is yours!

Hi Friends/Co-sailors,

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!

Thanks and regards,


Tweet @MahanadiRiver
Tweet @ranjanpanda


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: <>
This e-book gives maximum impact with least text using videos, audio and images. It is also easily readable on all mobile platforms such as iOS, Android and Windows. The entire e-book is friendly for specially-abled users and it allows users to share its content on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. 

Yours truly,
Prakash Javadekar,
Minister of State (IC) for
Environment, Forest & Climate Change
Govt. of India

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thought on Women's Day - 8th March 2015!

Each woman is a woman of substance, the creator's representative on earth. Respect her if you respect life...

Happy Women's Day!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Listen to me at Los Angeles based radio on water crisis facing Sao Paulo and other cities!

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.

Today on NRI Samay, India: 9:30 PM, US: 8 AM PT, 11 AM

Sao Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world faces a dry-out situation in just two months. Why isn't our mainstream media talking about it? What other cities are in such danger?

In cities we hardly know where our water, food, clothes etc are coming from and where our waste is going. Such a disconnect is leading us to some of the modern day problems we are facing.

On this show Ranjan Panda will talk about the water crisis, how should our cities respond, and how can you participate.

Talking about Sao Paulo water crisis in a Los Angeles radio now!

Right Now: A Los Angeles based radio channel is interviewing me on the acute water crisis faced by Sao Paulo in particular and cities in general.


Good Morning Thought - 7th March 2015!

Blind faith not only kills whatever reasoning ability one is gifted with, but also takes away the sense of judgement...

Good Morning!

Have a Great Weekend!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Good Morning Thought - 5th March 2015!

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...

Good Morning!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Spring Surprise that devastates Indian farmers: We urge upon you to support them - Ranjan Panda

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

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.

Thanking you

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India
Mob: +91-94370-50103
Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Tweet @ranjanpanda
Tweet @MahanadiRiver

Spring shower, winds take toll on India's rabi crops

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  •  | 
  • Updated: Mar 03, 2015 01:43 IST

“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.

WIO's Mahanadi River Basin Update - 2nd March 2015!

Theme: Coal and Mahanadi

Vedanta’s fly ash pond is illegally built on forest land

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

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 criminal offence.

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 Forest Department. 

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 contact:

Ranjan K Panda

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance)
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO)

Mobile: +919437050103

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Tweet @ranjanpanda
Tweet @MahanadiRiver


Please join with us in saving Mahanadi, India's 6th largest River...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Good Morning Thought - 3rd March 2015!

The flame gets brightest just before dying down, perhaps as a last minute call for help...

Good Morning!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

IPCC's next plan of action to make its report more accessible and involve developing countries closely!

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 October 2015. 

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 timing. 

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 

·  Increase the representation of African and Asian countries on the IPCC Bureau by increasing the number of its members to 34 from 31; 
·  Request the 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 each other. 

Making reports more user-friendly 

·  Ensure that up-to-date digital technology is used to share and disseminate information; 
·  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; 
·  Encourage the authors of non-English language literature to serve as expert reviewers, contributing authors and chapter scientists; 
·  Allow the 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; 
·  Encourage co-chairs 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; 
·  Arrange briefings and training sessions for government representatives, e.g. before IPCC sessions; 
·  Use communications 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. 

(Source: Press Release from IPCC)

Good Morning Thought - 2nd March 2015!

A mother affects eternity, never stops influencing you...

Good Morning!