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Gangtok hosted International Conference on Biodiversity and SDGs

Internation Conference


May 4, 2018 | GANGTOK (IPR): The international conference on ‘Biodiversity and SDGs: Sustainable Livelihood and Protecting the Planet’ organised by the Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim at Chintan Bhawan, gangtok on May 4, 2018 was formally inaugurated by the Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling. Accompanying him on the dais were Agriculture minister Somnath Poudyal, Forest minister Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, environmentalist-social activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, Bernward Geier (founder, COLABORA Germany) and Andre Leu, International Director, Regeneration International and Ambassador IFOAM - Organics International. The conference had the distinguished presence and participation of national and international luminaries from the field of biodiversity conservation and Sustainable Development Goals.


“The Himalayas have been our life givers in terms of giving water resources to the people living not only in the Himalayan region but also in the plains which act as the granary of the entire country” said the Chief Minister in his address while touching on the subject of biodiversity and how fragile the environment has become in the recent years due constant human activities. He said in the area of biodiversity management, increasing the green cover has been the State’s greatest effort which incidentally conferred on Sikkim as the Greenest State in 1998 and as the first Organic State in the country in 2016 which is an achievement to be proud of.


Reflecting back to the past, the Chief Minister stated: “Twenty three years ago when we took over the reign of governance, we took upon ourselves the task of defining both short-term and long term sustainable development programs for our State. We started to take bold initiatives in wide ranging sectors like education, health, social justice, environment, poverty alleviation etc. I realize there are many commonalities between our initiatives and the Sustainable Development Goals set-up by the United Nations for 2015-2030”.


In his address, he also touched upon the various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which Sikkim has been able to follow. He specifically targeted that the SDG agenda 14 and 15 reflected the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems. He then briefly touched upon some of the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030, specifically related to the initiatives undertaken in Sikkim so far relating to ending poverty in all its forms, to end hunger, health initiatives through Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Annual and Total Check-Up for Healthy Sikkim (CATCH) programme, equitable quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all and ultimate goal of making Sikkim as the 100 % literate State by the end of 2018, gender equality and other goals etched down by the UN. He expressed his gratitude towards the initiative take by them in organizing these global initiatives with this international conference on ‘Biodiversity and SDGs-sustainable livelihood and protecting the planet’.


Addressing the inaugural session, Dr. Vandana Shiva applauded the State of Sikkim and the Chief Minister’s initiatives for leading Sikkim towards sustainable development for the past 25 years. She also applauded Sikkim for leading role in organic farming amongst the Himalayan States and also helping them in their vision of making the entire Himalayan Region Organic by 2022.  


During the programme, a book titled “Rapid Biodiversity Survey Vol. 3&4’ was released by the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present in the dais.


Earlier, Forest principal secretary Dr. Thomas Chandy, in his welcome address, said the world is at a critical juncture and that it is a concern of all to be vigilant towards the environment and its pattern of behaviour. 'Sustainable development is the only model that can help the world’ which the State of Sikkim has been doing for the past years, he said.


The one-day conference was divided into five technical sessions with specific themes. It was attended by Cabinet ministers, senior State government officers, dignitaries from India and abroad, researchers and scientists, and students.


Text Source: IPR