The Sustainable and Resilient Communities (SRC) Conclave of Civil 20 (C20), one of the official Engagement Groups of the G20, has been inaugurated at Gangtok, Sikkim. Over 200 Indian and international delegates, including policy makers, academicians, and leaders of civil society organizations, are participating in discussions and workshops at the two-day event.
The deliberations revolve around the global policies related to Climate Resilience and Social Justice, Net-Zero Emission Management, Environment Sustainability and Compassion Driven Approaches. The participants would identify the gaps in these areas and brainstorm innovative solutions which will directly impact the policy recommendations to be launched at the C20 Summit in July 2023.
Dignitaries present during the inaugural ceremony included Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister, Land Revenue & Disaster Management, Govt. of Sikkim; Shri MN Sherpa, Hon’ble Minister for Transport and Power Department, Govt. of Sikkim; Shri Anil Raj Rai (IAS), Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management, Govt. of Sikkim; H.E. Ms Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda; Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Troika and Steering Committee Member C20 and Vice Chairman, Mata Amritanandamayi Math. Shri Vijay Nambiar, C20 Sherpa, addressed the gathering virtually.
Said Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister, Land Revenue & Disaster Management, Govt. of Sikkim: “Sustainable and resilient communities are able to meet their present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and recover from various environmental, social and economic challenges. Since 2015, the Sikkim Government has taken many measures to promote environmental, social, and economic sustainability, infrastructure and technology, and emergency preparedness. Sikkim has topped in all parameters of Sustainable Development Goals for 2021 in the North-East region. We are the first state in the world to turn fully organic.”
He added: “Being a small Himalayan state subject to various manmade and natural challenges, we are committed to learning from the best practices in the world to secure our future. Many organizations are partnering with Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority regarding this, and I welcome all help, initiatives, and ideas in this direction. All of us in the world need to come together to join hands to secure the future of our next generations. This cannot be done by working in isolation. Despite remarkable diversity, all people need to consider themselves as world citizens so that all mouths can be fed and the nature protected.”
In her video message at the inaugural ceremony, C20 Chair Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma), said: “Humanity is facing many extraordinary challenges today. At this point, human beings need two qualities: the wisdom to recognize the problem and the intelligence and mental attitude to correct it. Unfortunately, we are like a student who starts studying the day before the exam. We think correctly only when we are on the brink of disaster. The future belongs not to single entities who stand divided, but to those who mingle and cooperate with others. Countries and societies which try to rise on their own will surely fail. This is a warning from nature to mankind. Hence, let our mantra be ‘Mingle, Not Single’. A single nation, race or religion cannot survive in isolation. This earth belongs to us all.”
Amma added: “There is an underlying rhythm to our universe; the universe and every living thing in it have an unbreakable connection to each other. The cosmos is like a vast, interconnected network. Think of a net that is stretched out by four people holding its four corners. If it is shaken slightly in one corner, the vibration is felt all over the net. Similarly, whether we know it or not, all of our actions reverberate throughout creation, whether done by an individual or a group. So let us not think ‘I will change after they do.’ Rather, even if they do not change, if we change, we can bring this change to others. From ancient times, the world is one family has been the mantra of Indian soil. The presidency of G20 nations is a unique opportunity to model this truth before the world. Let us light a new lamp of change here. May innumerable lamps be lit from this flame and carried across the world.”
Said Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Troika and Steering Committee Member, C20, and Vice Chairman, Mata Amritanandamayi Math: “As Amma says, the lack of love and respect towards nature is the reason why all our efforts to create sustainable and resilient communities failed to produce the expected results. Our forefathers had a deep love and reverence for nature. They saw the visible diversity in the world with a worshipping attitude while having faith in the limitless power behind the many names and forms. However, modern society lacks this attitude. This needs to change.
“Climate change is happening at an unprecedented rate today and can no longer be dismissed as a myth. The change is so severe that according to some calculations, human species may not exist beyond another 50 years. My request to scientifical and technological community is to ensure a symbiosis of science and spirituality so that both work harmoniously. We shouldn’t be suspicious or reluctant to experience and accept the spiritual recommendations offered to us by the ancient seers, especially when all their concerns of end of humanity are on the verge of coming true. Amma highlights the false sense of security provided to us by modern technology which makes us forget the delicate nature of life on this planet. We need to think beyond our borders, diversity, and differences, and see the world from a perspective of oneness, as emphasized by India’s G20 slogan of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
Said Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh, Sustainable and Resilient Working Group Coordinator and Professor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham:“Guided by the vision of C20 Chair, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, this Conclave provides a platform for the civil society organizations and delegates from around the world to engage in deeper dialogues to address the challenges and gaps in the areas of climate resilience, social justice, environmental sustainability and net zero emission management with an aim to help build communities that are sustainable and resilient. I am delighted that the event is being held in partnership with the Sikkim Government. Sikkim is a state which is truly an example of sustainability and resilience. The policy deliberations among a multitude of stakeholders will bring out the recommendations to be provided to the G20 leadership team. I sincerely hope that this will help pave the way to develop scalable models that can be adopted to multiple countries.”
During the event, a seedball distribution campaign was launched in Sikkim by the C20 Sustainable and Resilient Communities (SRC) Working Group, in association with AYUDH, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s global youth wing. The global campaign aims to disperse one million seedballs in fragile ecosystems worldwide and create general awareness in people about the significance of seedballs in restoring ecological balance.
The Sustainable and Resilient Communities Working group, one of the 14 working groups formed under Civil 20 India 2023, is focussed on the areas of Climate, Environment and Net Zero Targets. The Working Group (WG) quintessentially addresses the current critical issues related to climate resilience and social justice, environmental sustainability, net zero emission management, and showcases the importance of compassionate approaches for building sustainable and resilient communities.
The G20 (Group of 20) is a forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union. It works to address major issues related to the global economy. C20 provides a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSO) around the world to voice people’s aspirations to the world leaders in G20.