Thursday, May 2, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Glimpses of the National Conference on Urban Sustainability

Dear All, 

I am super excited to share some of the highlights of the National Conference on Urban Sustainability, held at YASHADA, Pune on 27 April 2019. I am grateful to everyone for the great response, I am sure it was an enriching experience for you all too who attended the day long event. 

Group Photo at the conference
A special thanks to our Guest of honor Sulakshana Mahajan, I had heard about her and her amazing work in Sustainability but actually got to listen to her for the first time and indeed it was enlightening. We are trying to introduce a new concept of inviting the guest to be a keynote listener and Dr Mahajan graciously obliged us through an apt conclusion of the conference.

I extend my thanks to all the experts and speakers coming all the way for the conference from different cities and states. Mr. Prasad Kokil (Aurangabad) Dr Anil Avhad (Mumbai) and Ms Neha Singh (who pitched in at the last moment) and all the INECC members (coming from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai) or actively participating in the conference. All the discussions were very thought provoking. Especially the sharing on SMART cities exposed and acknowledged that Pune is not the only SMART city that is facing the issue with prioritizing basic services. I appreciate the patience and acknowledge as well as the time and efforts taken by each and every presenter at the conference - both oral and poster. It was great that most of the papers that we received were on action oriented studies. This was very much in line with our philosophy of wanting to be part of the solutions keeping in mind the problems. We all know the problems, so rather than rehashing them, now its time to act in the right direction and move towards urban sustainability.

Thanks to all the exhibitors for displaying their products and creating a lively atmosphere in the conference. The idea was to start a dialogue among visitors and participants about sustainable lifestyle changes, and I think the exhibition provided the perfect setting for the same. 

The core purpose of this conference was to inform participants about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, focusing on SDG 11 (making cities and communities Sustainable) and its connections with other SDGs, using Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a platform. This event was a part of a research project that I am working on where sensitizing the urban citizens about sustainability in various ways is the main objective.

With our Sustainably SMART Pune study project over the last three years we realized that conscious lifestyle change starts with me, as an individual. In order to achieve Sustainability we have to first change our attitude in order to change the society. ESD empowers us to take the responsibility for ourselves and make the change by taking the appropriate action. Using ESD we could spread awareness and sensitize urban citizens about responsible and conscious behavior. We used SDG 11 as our starting point since it directly targets cities and communities i.e urban citizens and tried to motivate them to emulate model behaviour of a responsible citizen. Through our interactions with citizens of Pune, over the last year or so, we charted down some actionable guidelines at three different levels, i.e individuals, community and governance, for each target under SDG 11. There are limited hard copies of the report, however we will circulate the softcopy in both English and Marathi soon through our Facebook page Citizens of Sustainable Pune. Please check out and comment. We will share all the photos of the conference through a google link and will also upload the videos of the conference on our YouTube link soon.  

Last but not the least I deeply thank the supporters Engagement Global and funders German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development for enabling us to create an ecosystem of sustainable livelihoods and showing us the pathway to Urban Sustainability through ESD.
Conference Participants @ Urban Sustainability Selfie Corner!

Pournima Agarkar.


Unknown said...

It was indeed a wonderful and enriching experience.

shailaja deshpande said...

Do share what participantsexpressed & also outcome please.

pournima said...

Sure Shailaja, I will share the outcome on our FB page soon.
Missed you in the conference.