Celebration of Life

Archive for Events

‘World Congress Hopes to Enforce Commitments Made at Rio+20’ by Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS, March 27, 2012, 2012 (IPS) – World leaders may face an unexpected challenge come June, when a major global summit on sustainable development will be held in Brazil. Unlike during previous summits, these leaders might have trouble making promises they are unable to keep.

“We are really tired of declarations,” Antonio Herman Benjamin, judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil, told an international gathering of legal experts here Monday. Despite some progress made since the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, most governments have failed to fulfil their obligations.

As a result, the court has launched a new initiative to promote role of law in advancing sustainable development. It is known as the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Stability.

The Congress’s scores of members from around the world include senior judges, prosecutors, legal scholars, auditors and development experts. They plan to focus on the problems and obstacles that hinder the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.

Organisers said the World Congress intends to lead to the formulation and presentation of key guiding principles for strengthening the role of environmental law in achieving sustainability through the outcomes of this year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly referred to as Rio+20, and beyond.

Among the measures that are likely to be discussed are the roles of courts and evolving environmental jurisprudence.

Limited progress

Reflecting on the slow progress on meeting sustainable development goals, Benjamin explained that in many cases, environmental policies are formulated in a way that lacks requirements for guidance on implementation.

“Laws do not mean anything when they are not effectively implemented,” he said. “We need to close the gap between legal scholarship, parliaments and judges, because what is written can be ignored.”

Despite the numerous agreements that have been negotiated since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the human environment and the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, experts noted that “only limited” progress has made towards achieving sustainable development goals.

Only a few multilateral agreements, such as the Montreal Protocol on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, which has precipitated a 98 percent drop in the consumption of ozone depleting substances, have produced meaningful results.

“The Montreal Protocol is a prime example of what can be achieved when countries work together effectively on agreed legal frameworks,” said Amina Mohamed, deputy executive director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Congress, according to Mohamed, would focus on the actions needed from legal practitioners to overcome challenges and promote the transition to a low-carbon, efficient and socially inclusive green economy founded on the rule of law.

In recent days, discussions at the United Nations about what needs to be done at the Rio Conference have indicated that many civil society groups and development activists remain as frustrated and disappointed with governments’ roles as they were before.

An ever-worsening crisis

“I think the Rio+20 process risks being undermined by vested interests and powerful governments,” said Michael Dorsey, professor of global environmental policy at Dartmouth College, who has attended scores of international meetings on development and environment since the 1992 Earth Summit.

The ecological crisis – from resource depletion to pollution, loss of biodiversity and an unfolding climate crisis – has worsened since 1992. Marginalisation and exclusion are on the rise as well, he told IPS, although some countries have made progress in the social dimension.

In major agreements such as the Rio conventions, sustainable development is considered to require fundamental shifts in three areas: climate change, biodiversity and land degradation, he added. “The Rio+20 institutional framework needs to facilitate the interface and integration of the three pillars.”

As the host of Rio+20, the Brazilian government, along with members of the country’s judiciary and auditing community, is supporting the Congress’s initiative.

This year, the Congress will convene from June 1 to June 3, on the eve of Rio+20. The outcome document from the Congress will be presented at the summit.

The event will be co-hosted by the Association of Magistrates of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Its partners include the Organisation of American States, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Interpol, World Bank, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.


GROW Project Walk June 25 in Vancouver

GROW Project | Walk

Due to the weather this event has been rescheduled for June 25th from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Please note that an indoor venue will be provided if the weather does not cooperate – so rain or shine we hope to see you at this event! Please see below for updated information about presenters.

Sustainability in Relationship: Conscious, Connected and Creative Living
Rajdeep Singh Gill
Fabiola Nabil Naguib
Saturday June 25, 2011
At the north entrance to Creekside Community Centre
1 Athletes Way
Vancouver, BC V5Y 0B1
(604) 257-3050
Google Map

We will meet outside if it is sunny and if it is raining, we will hold the talk and discussion at a venue inside

Please join curator and scholar Rajdeep Singh Gill and artist, writer, and activist Fabiola Nabil Naguib for this talk, discussion and walking journey in expanding notions of sustainability.

This dynamic couple, partners in life and work for almost a decade, will explore concepts and practices of conscious, creative, and connected living and how they cultivate and nurture sustainability as a relationship between all things. They will share some of their insights, speak to the importance of engaging the interconnections of sustainability and facilitate an open discussion.

This walk is sure to stir those already committed to sustainability and those awakening to its expansive possibilities.

Learn more about the presenters here.

SDPI Seminar on Climate Change, Lahore, May 2, 2011

SDPI Monday Seminar on
Climate Change Adaptation through Promotion of
Alternate and Energy Efficient Technologies in Pakistan

Date: Monday 2nd May, 2011
Time: 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Venue: SDPI Seminar Hall, 38, Embassy Road, G-6/3, Islamabad

Climate change is a global phenomenon and a challenging reality for thinkers, planners, policymakers and professionals alike. It is a phenomenon that is likely to impact almost every sector of Pakistan’s economy. Today it stands not only as a major environmental issue but also as a multi-dimensional developmental issue.

Climate change resulting from an increasing concentration of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels and other human activities has become a major worldwide concern. It is particularly so for Pakistan because climate change could pose a direct threat to its water security, food security and energy security. The country’s vulnerability to such adverse impacts is likely to increase considerably in the coming decades as the average global temperature, which increased by 0.6 °C over the past century, is projected to increase further by 1.1 to 6.4 °C by the end of the current century. Pakistan contributes only about 0.38% of the total global GHG emissions. On per capita basis, Pakistan with 1.9 tonnes per capita GHG emissions stands at a level which corresponds to about one-third of the world average, one-fifth of the average for Western Europe and one tenth of the per capita emissions in the U.S., putting it at 135th place in the world ranking of countries on the basis of their per capita GHG emissions.

For mitigating and reducing the GHG emissions from the energy sector Energy Security Action Plan 2005-2030 envisages large roles for hydropower, renewable energy technologies (in particular, windmills), nuclear power and alternate energy technologies in future energy supplies. A number of projects on energy efficiency improvement, energy conservation and use of decentralized renewable energy technologies being implemented by many institutions including Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET).

The focus of this seminar is to create awareness about changing climate scenarios and provide recommendations for efficient use of alternate energy sources through adopting adaptation measures and promoting energy efficient technologies. Further the introduction of Energy Efficient Cooking Stoves (EECS) Technology would be highlighted in presentations and during the session. An energy efficient stove is a new technology that is replacing our traditional stoves. Traditional stoves are big threat to firewood consumption and forest degradation.

Mr Abdul Rasheed Khan, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoP
Dr Mahmood A. Khwaja, Senior Advisor, SDPI
Mr Zafar Iqbal Khokhar, Director General, Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy Technology PCRET
Mr Babar Khan, National Integrated and Development Association (NIDA) Pakistan, Besham
Mr Bakht Muhammad, Sahara Welfare Foundation (SWF), Malakand
Ms Javeriya Hasan, Research associate, SDPI
Ms Anusha Sherazi, Project Associate, SDPI

For further details please contact:
Anusha Sherazi
Research Assistant
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
House 38, Old Embassy Road, G-6/3, Islamabad-Pakistan
Tel: ++(92-51) 2270674-6, 2275642, 2278134
Fax: ++(92-51)2278135

Energy Security and Climate Change: Pakistan

Date: Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Time: 10:00-02:00pm
Venue: Marriot Hotel, Islamabad

Ms Javeriya Hasan
Research Associate, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), (Consumer Network and NEPRA)
Mr Arshad H Abbasi
Advisor Water and Energy, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), (Energy Governance in Pakistan)
Mr Shakeel Ahmed Ramay
Head, Climate Change Study Centre, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
(Renewable Energy Resources in Pakistan)

Concept Note
A spectrum of landscapes marks the geography of Pakistan; with the mountains and glaciers of the north to the coastal belt in the south and a host of hills, plateaus, forests and deserts in between. Despite lying in a temperate zone, the unique geography of Pakistan ensures that extremities of temperature are experienced in different locations across the country. Encompassing a land mass of 880,940 km2, Pakistan also geographically overlaps the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Pakistan’s unique geographical position has made it especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change which include glacier melt, sea level rise, increased frequency and intensity of natural hazards, changes in rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, and increased frequency of extreme weather conditions. These vulnerabilities will only be exacerbated by the current social, economic and political schemes operating in the country. With the sixth largest population in the world, most of which still under the poverty line, unstable government structures and institutions, military conflicts, worsening fiscal crisis, rampant food insecurity and a deepening energy crisis, Pakistan is becoming increasingly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Its geographical location and its status as a state marred with the crisis of underdevelopment makes climate change in Pakistan a pertinent concern. Inaction in the face of climate change is not an option, as the recent floods in Pakistan have made the urgency and necessity of a response to climate change clearly evident.

The concept of mitigation within the discourse of climate change refers to the set of actions taken to eliminate or substantially reduce the long term hazards associated with climate change. As the main cause of climate change is identified as the emission of greenhouse gases, mitigation efforts are focused on a reduction of the sources of greenhouse emissions. The major contributors to climate change are the developed nations whose past emissions have resulted in the rise of average global temperature. In an attempt to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the future, developing countries today must reconsider employing the same strategies of economic growth characteristic of their developed counterparts. Failure to do so would have potentially catastrophic impacts as increased emissions cannot be sustained by the ecosystem.

The rising demand for energy in the developing world comes from the high population growths and ambitious developmental programs that attempt to curb the widespread poverty in these areas. Provision of energy becomes the prerequisite for economic development and as developing countries strive to industrialize, they resort to the cheapest and most readily available sources of energy. As the growing energy sector in the developing world would eventually contribute more to the greenhouse gas emissions than the current biggest emitters, their energy sectors cannot be immune from mitigation policies. The 450[1] scenario outlined in the World Energy Report 2009, which seeks to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 450ppm, reiterates the recognition of common but differentiated responsibilities requiring each region in the world to implement mitigation policies.

While Pakistan’s emissions contribute a mere 0.8 of the global GHG emissions, the number is projected to rise in the coming decade owing to the country’s burgeoning population and growing energy needs to fuel its development plans. Pakistan must embark on a comprehensive and efficient mitigation strategy not only as a responsible state within the global arena committed to emission reduction, but also because it would be much easier and economically feasible to make the transition to a low carbon economy now rather than later. Thus it is imperative that efforts aimed at sustainable development in the country incorporate the goals of emission reduction.

As the energy sector is the primary contributor to GHG emissions in the country, it is essential that mitigation strategies are aimed at reforms within this sector. For Pakistan, this presents a host of opportunities. The vast potential of alternate energy in the country has not yet been exploited though efforts are being made in this direction. Increased use of alternate energy does not only coincide with mitigation of emissions in the country but also serves as a long term strategy for achieving energy security.

Pakistan is an energy deficit country, relying heavily on imported oil to meet its energy needs. In recent times the energy crisis has reached alarming heights; Power outages have become a routine phenomenon and are gravely impacting economic development in the country. While there is no prospect for Pakistan to reach self sufficiency in hydrocarbons, the exploitation of renewable energy to counter the current energy crisis presents itself as a sustainable option. Cheap and reliable sources of energy are imperative to push the country on a path of development; exploitation of indigenous renewable sources of energy is likely to serve this end.

Reliance on traditional fossil fuels is not a sustainable option for Pakistan, not only because it would contribute heavily to growing emissions but also because the limited reserves within the country have prompted oil imports and rapid depletion of indigenous gas reserves. This has put a financial strain on the economy and made the energy sector extremely vulnerable to the unreliable global supply of fossil fuels. The energy sector in Pakistan needs to be restructured to be made more reliable and secure and a shifted reliance on the vast supply of indigenous alternate sources of energy presents itself as a viable step in this regard.

It is important to recognize that exploitation of alternate energy resources does not only constitute as an essential and urgent response to climate change but also satisfies Pakistan’s long term goals of energy sufficiency and sustainable development.

Consumer Network and NEPRA
Pakistan is currently grappled by a severe energy crisis that has spearheaded significant socio-economic repercussions. An inability to install sufficient power generation capacity in addition to a heavy reliance on costly furnace oil imports has contributed immensely to the climax of the crisis. This has come at a time when Pakistan is already plagued with many other important woes such as the menaces of poverty, illiteracy and terrorism. The energy shortages and escalating cost expenditures in meeting needs has necessitated that power sector governance is revisited; rather analyzed critically for apparent pitfalls that have led to the severe situation the country is facing today.

One of the institutions that figures prominently in the equation is Pakistan’s National Electricity Regulation Power Authority (NEPRA), whose mandate is basically to promote principles of openness, transparency, accountability and competition in the power sector. It grants licenses to generation, transmission and distribution companies and also prescribes standards for this purpose in order to ensure that the consumer is provided with a safe, efficient and reliable supply of electricity. Unfortunately, it has been observed that the performance of NEPRA, has very much deviated from its mandate and has not been in line with the vision with which it was created.

Consumers, particularly the domestic consumers, don’t matter much as a priority in its decision making processes. NEPRA organizes public hearings on tariffs, licenses and fuel adjustments and these have reduced to mere cosmetic exercises, whereby those in authority only mark it against a checklist of items. There is no concerted effort to include the public proactively, in fact, the entire regulatory environment is convoluted and complex for any individual to fully comprehend the nitty gritty involved in electricity regulation.

The seminar on ‘Consumer Participation in Electricity Regulation’ would help bring together academics, professionals and concerned civil society in brainstorming on ways the vacuum of consumer participation can be overcome. The aim is to create a network of likeminded individuals who can contribute in generating awareness among the public about the issue of electricity governance, which they are key stakeholders of.


Faisal Nadeem Gorchani
Sadia Sharif
Policy Advocacy and Outreach Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute
38, Old Embassy Road
(Atta Turk Avenue), G-6/3,
Ph: 051-2278134-6, Ext: 113
Fax: 051-2278135
Cell: 0333-5592210

Rally against mangroves cutting

KARACHI, Feb 9: Activists of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Wednesday marched from the ICI traffic intersection on Mauripur Road in protest against the cutting of mangroves forests for commercial purposes and demanded an immediate action against elements involved in such illegal activities in Kakapir and Shamspir.

The protesters, led by PFF leaders, after passing through I.I. Chundrigar Road, staged a sit-in in front of the Sindh Assembly where they had a meeting with Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza outside the building.

According to a PFF press release, she assured the PFF leaders of early resolution of their problems, which also included taking action against police officials involved in the mangroves cutting.

Earlier, the protesters also staged a sit-in in front of the Central Police Officer to draw the attention of the authorities to take action against the police, which they said were patronising illegal cutting of mangroves forests.

PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah said they had already warned the authorities that the citizens of the mega city were under threats as an organised mafia were destroying mangroves and using the land for commercial ventures, putting the people of Karachi at the mercy of cyclones and tsunamis.

The marchers also staged a brief sit-in outside the Karachi Port Trust building, demanding the officials concerned to play their due role to safeguard the coastal area, initiate development projects and take legal action against those destroying mangroves forests.

Sachal Hall, Jamat Market, Ibahim Hyderi,
Bin Qasim Town, Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-35092862-35090543-35090925
Fax: +92-021-35090940
Cell:+92-333-217 5243

Hariyali Genda Teej, 12 August 2010, New Delhi

August 12, 2010
7 to 10 pm
72, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003

Presented by
Red Earth / Alliance Francaise de Delhi / Exhibit 320 / Latitude 28

Celebrate the traditional monsoon festival of Hariyali Teej with Genda Phool, the eternal marigold flower.

Swing: genda phool jhoola….
Shringaar teej-genda: mehendi, bangles, floral jewellery
Thela Mela 1: genda merchandise and groovy design on the Indian hand pushed cart
Sawan ka Khana, Sawan ka Gana: special teej foods, jive to monsoon music

Hari Bhari Genda Wari Dress Code: Wear the monsoony Indian Greens and genda colours – orange, red, yellow. Green and genda together! Bonus points for Sarees & Rajasthani Leheriya

Entry by invitation only.
For donor invites / details contact 41764054 /

Opening Event of The Monsoon Festival 5
Conceived, Curated and Presented by Red Earth / Himanshu Verma

Festival Partners:
Alliance Francaise de Delhi
Latitude 28
Exhibit 320
Take 5
The Wall Project


Walk to the Dying Flower Markets of Delhi – 18 July 2010, New Delhi

Walk to the Dying Flower Markets of Delhi
The city of flowers is giving way to the city of flyovers

Sunday 18th July 2010
6 am to 11 am
6 am: Collecting at meeting point
11 am: Walk finishes at meeting point

Meeting Point
Near Ticket Counter, Dilli Haat, Opp. INA Market
Please park your vehicles here, the group will proceed in an AC bus from here.

Mode of Commuting: Bus / Walk

The walk will take you to the three main flower markets of Delhi. The flower markets of Delhi are temples of beauty amidst the concrete jungle of the city, and an integral part of the city’s heritage and culture.

Sadly however, the Government of Delhi, in an extremely myopic vein is relocating these flower markets to one singular flower market in Ghazipur. We at The Genda Phool Project however are formulating a strategy of building public opinion against this proposal. We are working towards the possibilities of a campaign to save these markets on grounds of right to livelihood, issues of displacement, as well as issues of urban heritage and aesthetics, and those of people’s participation, involvement and consent in development initiatives.

Each of the three flower markets is beautiful in that they have a distinct and unique character, which will be lost once they are relocated in a strange “flower market building” on the outskirts of the city.

We will start our Phool Mandi walk with the market at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, opposite Hanuman Mandir. The mandi operates from 4 am to 9 am, and accomplishes business worth crores in this duration. The flash in the pan phenomenon – here now, gone in a second, is fascinating. This is ’s largest flower market, and specialises largely in cut flowers of all varieties and even some dry flowers and flower decoration equipments.

From New Delhi we move to Old Delhi, to explore the Genda Phool Mandi at Fatehpuri Masjid, Chandni Chowk. Again, only a morning mandi. Farmers and flower sellers are seen milling around, and again, by around 9 am the mandi vanishes, and the spice market of Khari Baoli, around which the mandi is located, emerges. This mandi only sells genda phool (marigold flower) in its loose form.

Finally, we will take you to another city of Delhi – Mehrauli. The Mehrauli flower market again largely specialises in Genda Phool (in loose and garland form) but also some cut flowers. This Mandi however, is open all day, unlike the other two which are temporary / morning ones.

Do join us for this one, it may be one of your last chances to see these lovely flower markets if the government has its way. But we are hoping it will not…

6 am – Collect at meeting point. Please be on time.
6.30 am – 7.15 am – Explore the Phool Mandi (flower market) at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place.
8 am – 9 am – Fatehpuri Flower Market, Chandni Chowk. Indian breakfast at Chandni Chowk, at participant’s cost.
9.45 – 10.15 am – Mehrauli Flower Market
11 am – Walk finishes at Dilli Haat

Maximum number of participants

Registration Details
Contribution: Rs. 500/- per person.
No contribution to be paid for children if they are sharing a seat.
To register and for details contact
Himanshu Verma

Please carry the following: umbrella / hat, water.
We will provide some sharbats (traditional Indian cold drinks) / tea / refreshments on the bus.
Carry bags for buying flowers. Say no to plastic!

Dress Code
Wear genda colours – orange, yellow, red & maroon.

%d bloggers like this: