The Final leg of the multi-city program initiated by the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) successfully ended their multi- city experiences in Shillong. The workshop was attended by GIZ CCA-NER, Worldview Impact, iCARE, Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, Meghalaya Water Foundation,distinguished scholars and students. The “Climate catalysts’ workshop under the “Agents of Change” was held on the 12th and 13th November 2014 at the multipurpose convention Centre,NEHU.
The revolutionary program came with no preconceptions or notes on how to go about it. The impromptu nature of the workshop was to see how concerned and aware the community was about their environment. It was to empower the Youth within Meghalaya and the rest of North Eastern India, to have a voice not just locally but also nationally and internationally at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings of Conference of Parties(COP).
Delegates sharing their views with the expert panel.
“For the North East, it should be tailor-made around the particular topics the community is interested in working on. And not vice-versa.” reflected Ms. Supriya Singh, President of IYCN on the program.
The two day workshop is a start of a youth movement, and it was more than just bringing people together on a social network. The workshop was about meeting people from various parts of the community, from various parts of the country and learning from their experiences and sharing ideas among themselves.
IYCN Shillong Chapter
The voice of the program was that people today are losing touch with their own environment and they need to be reacquainted with their surroundings. Their presence within the town councils needs to be rebuild. To think Local and act global. To think about the local policy at the local level and to improve the implementation.
Dr. Uwe Scholz, Program director at GIZ CCA-NER says “in waste management there is implementation but no enforcement, as we can witness in Shillong. But there is hope.”
Students and scholars of Shillong attending one of the workshops
The problem arises when those changes conflict with their world view or their way of life. To be responsible about the transformation not just on the global level directly, but to start with your own surroundings and then start to act on local, regional, national and global levels.Ms Singh points out “Instead of looking west, or even looking towards India and its cities, we need to look more inwards and see what solutions can work.”
“Here in the North East, there have been some individuals who have represented INDIA. But there have not been any representation from the North East in the climate forums from the North East.” informs Ms. Singh. She however hopesthat with this chapter, students who are studying in the North East or who are abroad but know a lot about the issues within the community could voice their findings and perhaps in the future become a part ofthe COP delegation from the North East. She hopes that the students ca be more involved in lobbying, campaigning and direct action for a sustainable future, at regional and national levels, to influence the political decisions and negotiations leading up to COP 20 and beyond.
The various workshops gave a chance of not just hearing the voices of the dignitaries but provided a chance to the community to voice its concerns.
Dr. Uwe Scholz, Program Director, GIZ CCA-NER
Mr. Toki Blah, President of iCARE said that he was apprehensive about talking to the youngsters about climate change. “Climate change is a creation of this generation or one or two generations before this one. Realizing how fragile the ecosystem is, not just in Meghalaya but also in the various other states in North East is very essential. We are all interconnected to the ecosystem, whether we are living in Shillong, Dimapur,Bengaluru or Delhi, hence we need to be aware about our carbon footprints.
During the workshop, IYCN had undertaken a survey to gauge the perception of Indian Youth about Climate Change as well as capture their expectations from Indian and Global policy makers. The findings of this Survey will feed into a youth position paper that will be used as a leverage to talk to the government and will be presented at multiple forums nationally and internationally. It will be presented at COP20 Conference in Lima, Peru.
As Mr. Toki Blah informed “The indigenous Khasi have a pledge, you will plan the trees, you will preserve the trees and you will call it the sacred forest. As any indigenous people of the population have. The survival of the species is to be one with nature.”