Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by SPN Editor
Imphal (SPN) | The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change organized a regional consultative workshop for the restoration and management of wetlands for the North Eastern States at Hotel Classic Grande in Imphal yesterday.
The workshop will continue till April 30, 2023. This is the fourth in the series of regional workshops, with the previous ones held in Srinagar, Goa, and Kochi, under Mission Sahbhagita.
The Sahbhagita mission aims to conserve and effectively manage a network of 75 wetlands of national and international importance in the country with an all-inclusive ‘whole of society’ and ‘whole of Government’ approach.
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav interacted with the site managers and the State Wetland Authorities (SWAs) of the North-eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura during the workshop to understand the priorities and challenges of wetlands conservation at their respective States/sites.
Yadav highlighted the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach and stated that “different agencies should come together and collaborate for wetlands conservation.” He also emphasized that wise use of wetlands aligned with its natural ecology is critical for the survival of these ecosystems.
The Union Minister emphasized that the conservation of wetlands cannot be the Government’s responsibility alone. Wetlands are essentially societal assets, with Governments acting as a trustee of these assets on behalf of the citizens of India.
Unless the entire society participates and partners in wetlands conservation, tangible change cannot be achieved. Yadav mentioned that the most important aspect of wetland conservation is the change in personal behavior.
He stated, “Wetlands often get neglected as public goods. The entire society needs to come together to protect these ecosystems.” Mission LiFE is critical for nudging people for conserving wetlands.
The Union Minister released the publication ‘Cultural Significance of Indian Wetlands’ during the workshop. The publication showcases the cultural values of wetlands and provides examples of traditional knowledge, local beliefs, festivals, community practices, and folktales related to wetlands.
Chief Minister N Biren expressed his pleasure that all North-eastern States were represented at the workshop and made tangible discussions for the conservation of wetlands heritage. He underlined the need for proactive actions for removing Loktak from Montreux Record.
The workshop on restoration and management of wetlands saw presentations from the States on wetlands conservation in their States, successes, and challenges. The presentations reflected on wetlands delineation, inventory, preparation of brief documents, management plan formulation, and communication and outreach actions.
Anoop Kumar V from Sanatan Dharma College, Kerala, gave a detailed presentation on developing eco-friendly value-added products using water hyacinth by employing underprivileged communities as the workforce.
Three plenary discussions were held in the second half of the workshop. The first discussion focused on Amrit Dharohar and integration in Mission LiFE. The second discussion on ‘Operationalizing the Save Wetlands Campaign’ focused on the key objectives and targets of the Save Wetland Campaign.
The third discussion on ‘Integrated Management Planning’ focused on the challenges in preparation and implementation of Integrated Management Plans.
On the second day of the workshop, on April 30, 2023, the participants, including Yadav, will visit Loktak Lake to observe and learn about its conservation efforts.
Several other government officials were present, including Thongam Biswajit, Minister of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, PHED Minister L Susindro, LDA Chairman M Asnikumar, and Additional Chief Secretary from the Department of Forests, Environment, and Climate Change.
The day-long deliberations were conducted by Dr. AK Joshi, PCCF and HOFF, and Dr. Sujit Kumar Bajpayee, Joint Secretary, MoEFCC, who had detailed interactions with states for the effective implementation of wetland programs.