Taking forward the discussion from Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum 2020 — Building on Ecology is Economy, the Forum 2021 will build conversations on – Natural Assets, Nature Capital, Ecological Budget, Designing Interdependence, Indigenous Governance, Rewilding Forestry, Enhancing Farmland Biodiversity & Governance Advocacy for Strengthening Transboundary Riverine Security.
This year, in its one-of-a-kind hybrid avatar, the objective of the forum is to derive a roadmap for ‘Building up the Ecology is Economy – Nature Action Agenda’. The future of the Eastern Himalayas today lies in recognizing ecology is economy. Last year at the Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum, business and government leaders endorsed the need to develop an ecological budget, and the need to measure and value natural capital. Change is happening slowly but surely. Balipara’s goal this year is to accelerate this change and transformation in both thinking and action to restore, revitalize and rewild the Eastern Himalayas for resilient people, biodiversity and economies.
The hybrid meet will see 60 eminent personalities from multi-disciplinary fields, across 20+countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Japan, Hongkong, China, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Netherlands, and more, who will engage on the discourse on the opportunity to tackle this ecological crisis and catalyse green growth.
Eminent personalities from around the globe will be part of the three-day forum – Gaurav Gogoi, Deputy Leader of the Indian National Congress in the Lok Sabha, India; Lord Nicholas Stern, Chairman, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UK; Désirée Driesenaar, External Expert – Blue Economy with European Commission; S. Ramadorai, Chairperson, Governing Board of TISS, India; Gretchen C. Daily, Co-Founder & Faculty Director, Standford Natural Capital Project, USA; Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, British Asian Trust, UK; Amanda Janoo, Knowledge & Policy Lead, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, Scotland; Vivek Pathak, Director & Global Head – Climate Business, International Finance Corporation, Hongkong; Ruchika Singh, Director, Sustainable Landscapes and Restoration, World Resources Institute India, India; Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay; Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, India; Dr. Yogesh Gokhale, Senior Fellow and Area Convenor, Centre for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, TERI, India; Ambassador Shyam Saran, Former Foreign Secretary of India & Prime Minister’s Special Envoy For Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change, India; Ambassador Tariq Ahmed Karim, Director, Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies, Bangladesh; Professor Jianchu Xu, Kunming Institute of Botany, China; Ranjit Singh Gill, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests at Meghalaya State Forest Department, India.
2020 has conclusively demonstrated, the interdependence with nature: economic, social and cultural. Around the world, governments and business leaders are slowly waking up to the fact that good ecology is good economy. But the move to adopt this principle has been a slow and uphill struggle – and the move to redesign economies and businesses for interdependence with nature has so far been inadequate to respond to the enormous scale of the challenges of our time. To help prevent the next pandemic, it is crucial for countries and businesses to incentivize protecting forests rather than destroying them. The solution holds in an inclusive green economy, an alternative to today’s dominant economic model, a pathway towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, eradicating poverty while safeguarding the ecological thresholds, which underpin human health, well-being, and development.
The need for a holistic, multidimensional approach to action in the Eastern Himalayan region has never been more critical. The Eastern Himalayas retain 60% its forest cover today, but only 25% of the region’s original habitats survive today. Holistic conservation starts by breaking this cycle of poverty, natural asset overexploitation and deforestation. It also begins with understanding the relationships people have with forests, past and present, and the unmet needs that make exploiting forests a lucrative proposition.
This comes with a truer and deeper understanding of the nature of interdependence – towards resilience, participation, and sustainability. The goal through the Forum is to generate recommendations for communities, businesses, governments, social and conservation non-profits to collaborate on transitioning to a green, circular economy.
The forum will end with the hybrid avatar of 9th Balipara Foundation Awards on 9th Dec, which will recognise extraordinary visionaries of the Eastern Himalayas and their indomitable contribution, who continue to live in harmony with nature and adopt sustainable methods for greening the economy.
Launched in 2007, the Balipara Foundation takes a community-based approach to conservation through a proprietary concept NaturenomicsTM (Nature + Economics). Building on the principle of ecology is economy, Balipara is entering a new phase of re-defined growth, with a vision to create 100 million natural assets by 2030, having restored over 4000 hectares of land with 5 million natural assets in the last 2 years.