Friday, February 1, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Citizens Meet for Sustainable Pune

Dear All, 

Our Group

Our event held on the 30th January, 2019 on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune at Sumant Moolgaokar Auditorium was a success. I would like to thank each and every person starting from the Citizens, Professionals, NGO personnel, students who attended our event, young enthusiastic volunteers to caterers, translators, document designer, photographers, video documentation people and our guest from MISEREOR and Mumbai from LAYA and INECC our favorite Myron Mendes and Ajita Tiwari, Engagement Global our funders and last but not the least Samuchit Enviro Tech for overall coordination of the event.
Dr Priyadarshini Karve

Dr Priyadarshini Karve opened the session with her remarkable speech in Marathi and powerpoint slides in English in order to make it Inclusive. January 30th which also marked the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who promoted the concept of Village Swaraj which resonates with the concept of Sustainability of human settlement. Though not consciously intended, we happened to undertake our event on Sustainable cities on this day and Dr Karve very well acknowledged it.

The one quote that comes to my mind that relates Mahatma Gandhi and Sustainability is  ''The earth has enough resources to meet the needs of all, but not enough to satisfy one's greed".This quote does in a way lead us towards introspecting on our behaviour and lifestyle as an individual and can lead us towards Sustainability. 

Creating a citizens charter and action agenda for Sustainable city is a project born out of our study on Sustainably SMART Pune by 2030. This sub-project intends to educate urban citizens about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a special focus on SDG 11 (making cities and communities sustainable) and thus stress on the role of citizens in making the city Sustainable by 2030. We conducted seven workshops last year in collaboration with local organizations working on some of the targets under SDG11. Daftar, Parisar, Ecological Society, Jeevidha and Jeevitnadi along with two colleges Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Architecture and Bharti Vidyapeeth Institute for Environment Education and Research (BVIEER) supported us for undertaking these workshops.

Pournima Agarkar
We compiled all the inputs given by citizens/activists during these workshops with respect to four pillars of SDG 11 i.e Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable and formulated a Citizens Charter. This charter will keep evolving, while we would like to formulate an Action agenda for the citizens. The Action agenda is like a set of best practices that enable the citizens to undertake acts of Sustainability. Since I am leading this sub project supported by Engagement Global and funded by Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, I presented the status of Pune city with respect to the targets of SDG 11 and the overall initiative.  

Myron Mendes

Myron Mendes our communications expert conducted a LIVE poll where we generated a WORD CLOUD on qualities that a citizen needs to possess in order to make his/her city Sustainable. The word cloud generated reflects a set of qualities and initiatives that can be undertaken for making a city Sustainable through 188 responses. 


Our active guest speakers Sanskriti Menon, Ravindra Sinha, Shailaja Deshpande and Sathya Natarajan each presented their individual actions in a very influential and convincing way. I would like to give a glimpse of their talks. 

Sanskriti Menon
Sanskriti Menon, the Biker Babe as she referred to herself, made riding a bicycle a happening thing!!! She very well articulated how her feel good factor of riding a bicycle and interactions with the local street vendors and waste pickers motivated her in preparing the Pune Bicycle Plan in a inclusive, safe, resilient and Sustainable Plan in coordination with PMC. She stressed on having a  deliberate democracy system which is indeed critical for Sustainability as it is based on consensus decision making as well as majority. 

Ravindra Sinha

Ravindra Sinha literally scared us with all the figures showing groundwater depletion levels and how the day zero happening in Cape Town, may become a reality for us too. I liked one statement that he made ' Smart city or Tanker city'. The number of societies in Pune that are dependent on Tankers for daily water supply today is really alarming. Its time we start reflecting on our consumption of water, reuse and recycling alternatives or else the smart plan of 24X7 water supply will be just a dream. 

Shailaja Deshpande
Shailaja Deshpande made an emotional connect with everyone with her power-packed and intense feelings about Heritage and how lucky we are to have these natural resources like Rivers as our heritage without even realizing it. In just a matter of 50 years we have been responsible for degrading this resource and exploiting its heritage value. She stressed on how it is our sole responsibility to preserve the same in our individual capacity as well as, as a community.

Sathya Natarajan

Sathya Natarajan, a volunteering enthusiast connected us to the big picture of Sustainability with simple acts of tree plantation, complaining about issues that harm the environment around us and concern for the sanitary waste pickers by promoting the SWACH - red dot campaign. 

Glad to have speakers who walk the talk. I appreciate their ability to stick to the given time limit and yet make presentations that were inspiring for everyone. We had an enriching Q&A session followed by concluding remarks by Ajita Tiwari INECC's National facilitator. The speakers and the guests from MISEREOR were felicitated at the hands of Walter Mendoza, founder member of INECC.  

Walter Mendoza
Ajita Tiwari

This time our event also featured taking short video interviews of participants on their vision of Sustainable City and we are glad that we had great responses. The videos will be uploaded soon. 
Also we had a fun activity of selfie corner along with SDG 11 backdrop and props. We believe that citizens should prioritize sustainable lifestyle choices and hence we had displays set up by Samuchit, Jeevitnadi's Toxin free Lifestyle products, Alternate riverfront conservation poster, household biogas initiative by Vaayu and CEE's books. One of our volunteers assisted interested participants to calculate their carbon footprint through our online app. 

Citizens of the city

This event was just to mark the beginning of preparing the Action agenda for Sustainable Pune. We need everyone's feedback/inputs and analysis. Kindly like, share and comment on our FB page:
Or simply email me at

Looking forward to your inputs. 

Pournima Agarkar. 


Unknown said...

That was nice. Good initiative. Need to see how we can include more people in this. Mainly schools students to understand and put in practice.

shailaja deshpande said...

Very well compiled Poornima. The best part I liked was question- answers. The questions were really interesting and asking for solutions. Not that we had answers to all. But it was such a pleasurable experience to know that people are thinking and they are not insensitive what is usually commented. But it again made clear that, people know there are issues, they feel guilty because they are responsible too, but they don't know how to go about. Creating solutions with new innovations and research should be on agenda if we really need to be prepared for the climate change. Sustainability is the only answer.

pournima said...

Thank you all,

Yes Shailaja, its true that we all know about the problems now, its just that solutions need to be more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.