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First G20 environment meeting under India’s G20 presidency is scheduled for February in Bengaluru

India will chair the G20 for one year till November 30, 2023. The forum will bring together G20 member countries, guest countries and international organizations invited by India. Through the Sherpa Track, 13 working groups and 2 initiatives will meet under the Indian chairmanship to discuss priorities and provide recommendations. Environment, Climate & Sustainability is one of the Sherpa Track working groups.

Four meetings of the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) are scheduled to be hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MEF&CC). Discussions in the ECSWG will focus on the agenda of “Promoting the Blue Economy along with Coastal Sustainability”, “Restoring Degraded Land and Ecosystems” and “Enhancing Biodiversity” and “Strengthening the Circular Economy”.

The first G20 environment meeting under India’s G20 presidency is scheduled for February 9-11 in Bengaluru, at the Taj West End. As part of the 1st meeting in Bengaluru, Mysuru Zoo organized a two-day National Conference for Indian Zoo Directors on 18-19 January 2023 in collaboration with the Central Zoo Authority.

Mysuru Zoo, one of the best managed zoos in India, was selected as the site to focus on best practices in zoo management. It is one of the two self-sustaining zoos in India with a unique concept of zoo animal adoption that started at this zoo. The conference focused mainly on “Master Planning and Building the National Capacity for species Management & Conservation Breeding”. This conference was attended by 59 participants from 25 states and the Union Territory. It was inaugurated by the Mayor of the Mysuru City Corporation and succeeded in drawing attention to conservation practices.

For preparedness and better coordination, a meeting was held between Ms. Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate (MoEF&CC) and Ms. Vandita Sharma, Principal Secretary, Government of Karnataka, on 21 January 2023 in Bengaluru. Aspects related to branding, security, venue management, cultural events showcasing the traditions of Karnataka etc. and other logistical arrangements etc. were discussed.

 Ms. Nandan requested the State Government to provide branding spaces at prominent places to highlight the meet. While appreciating the ambience of Bengaluru and its green surroundings, he also requested the Chief Secretary to facilitate the excursion of the G20 delegates to the Bannerghatta Biological Park. The Chief Secretary assured full support to make the first G 20 meeting on environment to be held in Bengaluru a grand success.

During the discussions with the Chief Secretary, the Union Secretary highlighted and appreciated the innovative IT solutions proposed by the Karnataka State Forest Department to ensure faster delivery of public services and real-time monitoring of natural resources.

The key initiatives is e-Parihara

One of the key initiatives is e-Parihara, an online application that helps in the processing and approval of ex-gratia applications in cases of human-animal conflicts; thus bringing transparency and efficiency in the handling of complaints. Similarly, the Android-based e-Gast platform captures the forest patrolling/field activities carried out by the frontline forest department personnel, which can be regularly visualized by the surveillance officers on satellite images.

 Likewise, the e-timber facility provides near-real-time inventory of timber available at state timber depots and enables e-auctions for timber/other forest products at state timber depots. The Geospatial Forest Information System developed by the Karnataka Forest Department is a unique platform that uses remote sensing and GIS technology to provide a spatial database of all notified forest land in the state, provides access to forest land notifications, village maps, forest maps and digitized notified forest at cadastre level.

The Wildfire Management System is a comprehensive solution for wildfire planning, mitigation and analysis that provides wildfire hazard zone mapping, fire initiation vulnerability mapping, burned area assessment, along with a robust system for disseminating active wildfire alerts to ensure that all fire occurrences are dealt with and mitigated in a time-limited manner.

The G20 delegates are scheduled to visit Kalkere Arboretum and Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru. At Kalkere, delegates will have the opportunity to imagine and experience the four predominant forest ecosystems of the state of Karnataka. The State Forest Department will also showcase the forest restoration models adopted in these ecosystems and the successful revival of faunal biodiversity in these areas.

Bannerghatta Biological Park will introduce delegates to a state-of-the-art butterfly park and animal safari. The Karnataka Forest Department will also highlight the flagship eco-tourism model, Jungle Lodges Resort, which is extremely popular with nature lovers worldwide.

The Tourism Commissioner said that the rich heritage of Karnataka’s handicrafts and textiles will be exhibited through pavilions at the venue. The culture secretary said artistic rendition of Karnataka by nadeswaram, performance by Ayana Dance Company and flute recital by Sumukha Rao are planned. These events will showcase the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Karnataka and ensure that the delegates take away the flavor of Karnataka. The MEF&CC Secretary appreciated these initiatives and said they will be shared with all G 20 countries for adoption and replication.

written by: Vaishali Verma

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