Though they have defined boundaries, World Heritage sites are very much a part of the communities in which they are located. As such, they provide rich opportunities to develop and promote effective models for integrating compatible human uses with the protection of ecosystem functions and biodiversity.
World Heritage sites have the potential to show- case the effective integration of sustainable local development with conservation by demonstrating how conservation can contribute to local and national economic development, culture, and pride.
TERRE Policy Centre has undertaken to work in the Western Ghats of India in its northern cluster to demonstrate that without development conservation is not possible and sustained conservation needs sustainable development of local communities. READ Updated Report Card as of June 2013.
Small Progress with Big Prospects
World Natural Heritage Kaas Plateau
Within a space of less than one year, a small and symbolic progress made by the local community around Kaas Plateau –one of the 39 sites in the Western Ghats of India that is inscribed by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage- goes on to support the doctrine that Heritage sites can be leveraged for the sustainable development of the local com m unities.
UNESCO during the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2012 targeted communication campaign, with a focus on World Heritage linked to the Sustainable Development and the Role of Local Communities.
TERRE Policy Centre along with RANWATA and the local community took the challenge in association with the local forest officers to make a small beginning towards leveraging the Heritage site for sustainable development. We strongly believe that sustainably developed community can conserve the nature in sustainable way.
What follows in this brief report is glimpse of these hopes.
Kaas Plateau, at the Northern end of the Western Ghats of India, at the height of 1500 meters is the nature’s wonder. It blooms with extraordinary variety of 450 species of colorful wild flowers annually. (more…)
A project conceived in Africa, a land that conceived the humanity
Like many inventions, the origin of SolarChill was happenstance. Serendipity is the word!
During the International Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in 2000 in Ouagadougou, some delegates participated in a field visit that took them through the Burkina Faso countryside. While watching rural villages pass by their bus window, I , as the representative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the representative of Greenpeace, Janos mate , noticed that the communities there are financially poor but rich in two key elements: children- the wealth of the country, and sunlight, a limitless energy source if it could be tapped.
The activity that I started with WHO ( World Health Organization) , for replacing the CFCs in the vaccine refrigerators by non-CFCs was quite fresh in my mind. Such replacement was essential as CFCs would be eventually be phased out as per the requirements of the Montreal Protocol.
Looking out of the bus window at the children of the rural poor and thinking about their fragile health situation, it occurred to me that plenty of sunshine does not mean plenty of health. Some children, carrying their sick younger brothers and sisters, were looking at us as if we were from other planets. I thought that if we could develop a vaccine cooler that uses the solar energy so abundant in Burkina Faso and other developing countries, and if we develop vaccine cooler/refrigerator that uses the solar energy so abundantly available there, and non-CFC ( ozone friendly) , non-HFC (climate friendly ) refrigerants it will be environmentally perfect product . Such product, we will be able to reach to these and millions of the poor children and improve their health. I mentioned my thoughts to Janos .
I also said that it is not necessary to return to live in ‘caves’ to protect the environment as some may think. We can use modern technology like that of refrigerator with innovative techniques that are environment friendly, pro-poor, health-focus and pro-development at the same time.
Janos was very receptive, Greenpeace has been instrumental in spread of the Hydrocarbon refrigerators in the world. . he understood the importance of the idea that I mentioned to him.
What started as an idea became an investigation of possibilities and finally transformed into action through partnership. Thus was born SolarChill. Africa is the origin of humanity. So also that of SolarChill!
As we all know, the vaccination programmes of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have been instrumental in saving millions of lives, particularly in developing countries. It is rightly known as one of the success stories in human history. The eradication of diseases like polio and smallpox would not have been possible without such vaccination programmes. The vaccine coolers used in such immunization programmes worked very inefficiently due to non-availability or inadequate supply of grid electricity. In cases where kerosene is used for the vaccine cooler, supply of kerosene was not satisfactory and it contributed to pollution and global warming. Use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) makes these coolers ozone depleting and use of alternatives to CFCs i.e. Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) makes them global warming.
The SolarChill that we imagined had obvious advantages over the prevalent vaccine coolers.
We, UNEP and Greenpeace , decided to contact WHO and UNICEF, to explore the possibility of forming the partnership to develop such ‘dream’ vaccine cooler by forming the partnership. We were joined later by other partners in the private sector as well as technical institute i.e. Danish technical Institute who was toying with such idea for some time already.
Rest is the story of 6 years that included series of meetings of partners, assembly of the prototype, trials in the laboratory and in the field, monitoring of the results and mobilization of resources. Each partner leveraged its inherent comparative advantage in developing the technology. UNEP used its convening power to get the stakeholders over the common platform to start and facilitate the consultations through out the process.
The award is result of all that hard and collective work of the partners, the team of OzonAction in Paris that worked on the project and encouragement received from the Director of Paris office of UNEP.
The President of India , DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM in 2005 invited me for a brief chat on OzonAction programme of UNEP DTIE, when he heard of the award OzonAction programme won for the ‘ Innovation and Leadership’ for assisting the developing countries to implement the Montreal Protocol. I took the opportunity to inform him about the partnership to develop the SolarChill technology. He was very keen and requested to keep him informed on the progress. The President could see the huge importance of SolarChill for the developing countries , particularly in saving the lives of the rural children and women who do not have access to the electricity and effective vaccines.
Later when all the partners of the SolarChill gathered at Paris office of UNEP DTIE after the field trials were successful and when the strategy for the deployment of the SolarChill technology was being discussed, it was felt that it is important to get SolarChill known to the world community. One of the ways to do this was to position the working models in the international meetings and at the visible places. Recalling my discussions with the President in 2005 and based on the wishes from the partners, I wrote to his office. The President’s office immediately informed that the President t is not only keen to install and operate two units in the clinic of the Presidential Complex ( around Rashtrapati Bhavan) but was very keen to buy these units and not to get them free.
Mr. Ashok Mangotra , Joint Secretary in the office of the President, himself an enthusiastic supporter of renewable energy, facilitated the whole process of installation.
The ceremony of handing over of the SolarChill by the partners to the President and handing over of the cheque by the President to the Partners took place place on 1st November 2005.
That was just part of journey of SolarChill. The development continues.
See: www.solarchill.org and
Stream Restoration Project
Kamandalu Rivulet of Rahimatpur-Western India
30 Jan 2010
This project proposal is about the water stream restoration project envisioned for the rivulet called ‘Kamandalu” –a tributary of major River-Krishna in India. The rivulet runs through the town of Rahimatpur in District Satara, State of Maharashtra. I am quite attached to this project and also to the town where I studied as student for some years .
The present state of this rivulet is witness of the adverse impacts of so called development and growth in the Indian towns. People of Rahimatpur, nearly three decades back, were dependent on water of this rivulet for drinking as well as for other purposes.. Hence the rivulet was maintained well by the people of the town. I used to carry the water from rivulet to my house in the pots when I was student there. Then as part of the town development, in 70’s the water distribution scheme was implemented in Rahimatpur. The water from river Krishna is now pumped, filtered, stored and distributed by pipes to the households. As the tapped water is now available for last 30 years, the Kamandalu rivulet is totally neglected and is used as dumping place for the solid waste from the town and to let the drainage flow into the rivulet. This has created health hazard, loss of water body, loss of flora and fauna and natural resource for the population of the town.
Expected outcomes of the water stream restoration project will include improved health and sanitation conditions, improved riverine ecosystem, improved quality of water, minimize and hopefully eliminate the stream contamination and pollution arising from tributaries of the stream originating from the town, possible harvesting of useful biomass from around the stream buffer area, re-establishing the living character of stream water, improving biodiversity which will help the surrounding agriculture as well. One major benefit would be effective waste management of the town which at present uses the rivulet for dumping the town waste.
The scope includes capacity building measures for all the stakeholders to ensure participative approach in designing and operating the restoration, survey and detailed assessment of land use and water use, ensuring measures and interventions such as root zoning, introduction of in-stream vegetation, bank stabilization through introduction on riparian vegetation, energy plantation for tributary de-contamination, introducing grasses and reeds for harvesting as also sanitation facilities for the upstream temple complex, measures to minimize impact of social events like annual festivals and weekly bazaars etc.
This proposal therefore targets an integrated approach to remedy and help local stakeholder groups initiate and sustain preventive management of its water resource. The logical framework that binds these interventions highlights the need for locally relevant practices guided by empirical evidences regarding the qualitative and quantitative profiles of the resource and the impacts of perturbations.
Duration of the proposed project is for 3 year and expects at the end of this period to have consolidated local capacity to continue to monitor and manage ongoing progress of the stream and associated natural assets. The idea is to develop capacity with field work for restoration whereby the local community looks at water source as a central theme in overall land use and other civic services planning.
Cool House without AC project description