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Waste Management and Climate Change Special

The global ideological shift and the economic crises that we have recently faced combined together have almost side lined the pertinent topic of climate change. Commitments made by various nations for the Paris Climate Agreement fall short. The world political scenario is dominated by governments who only believe in incremental goals. At the policy level, financial pressures usually take precedence over environmental concerns. However, what is not being realised is that planned and more futuristic investments can address both issues for a more cost and resource effective approach.

March 2017 : Women Empowerment Special

Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential for building stronger economies, achieving internationally agreed goals for development and improving the quality of life for families and communities. The empowerment of women is often identified as an important aim of international development policies and many donor agencies now include women’s empowerment in their development plans and strategies. Although empowerment is often conceptualised as a process (Cueva Beteta 2006)1, most quantitative studies have been cross-sectional, comparing individual women with others in their communities or societies (Malhotra and Schuler 2005)2.

February 2017: World Radio Day Special

Community Radio in India was envisioned as the third tier of broadcasting in the country, to be owned and operated by communities across India. The policy for the sector was framed in 2001 after much debate and engagement with the government by civil society organisations. While initially the policy only allowed educational institutions to apply for licenses, a revised policy guideline was issued in 2006 that allowed civil society organisations to also apply for a licence to operate a community radio station.

January 2017:Transitioning towards Sustainability

The exchange of goods and services amongst people represents the economy as we know it today. However, we know that these transactions draw upon resources in the natural system represented by exchanges between people and nature. This heavily influences interactions within the natural system impacting the capacities of the natural system to be drawn upon. The ultimate objective of all economic transactions is to enhance ‘the real wealth of society’ measured by the quality and health of the five capitals – physical, social, human, financial and natural. We therefore need to understand whether or not the economic strategies and solutions that we employ add value to or enhance the fundamental capitals.

Sustainable Agriculture

Climate change and global warming are emerging as major challenges facing agriculture in India and elsewhere. In future, these challenges will further accelerate and the resource-poor communities in India and other developing countries, least responsible for global warming, will be the worst affected by it unless urgent actions are undertaken to help them adapt and cope with its unavoidable consequences.

Climate Change Special

The Paris Agreement reached the threshold for formally entering into force this October, bringing into existence the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. Until now as signatories to the agreement, it was just a commitment. But now after 55 countries with cumulative emissions accounting for 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the agreement, it has entered the implementation phase. India is among the ratifying nations and must now prepare for implementing it’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Resilient Cities

The United Nations conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) is aimed at ‘reinvigorating’ the global political commitment to the sustainable development of towns, cities and other human settlements, both rural and urban.1 UN Habitat is striving to arrive at a consensus on an urban agenda that would commit countries to sustainable urbanisation ‘which is now more critical than ever as populations, social interactions, economic activities and environmental impacts are increasingly concentrated in cities’. The product of that reinvigoration, along with pledges and new obligations, is being referred to as the New Urban Agenda. This agenda will set a new global strategy around urbanisation for the next two decades.

Credit based Eco Housing model for Rural areas of India

Providing adequate shelter for its rural population continues to be a major challenge. Development Alternatives in collaboration with Fondazione FEM Onlus did an action research project on ‘credit-based eco housing for the rural populate of Bundelkhand region” in central India, which aimed towards provision of low coast eco-friendly housing for working poor through ecosystem approach. The paper deals with the project case study and details the process innovations pioneered in the project, the benefits achieved through these innovations and the learning from the project. Based on this case study, the paper would also detail the mechanisms necessary for scaling the model for wider dissemination in Indian populace

Technology for Green Economy

Environmental performance evaluation is conducted by adopting a life cycle analysis approach. Eco-labeling is a voluntary scheme for certification of environmental performance of products. Eco labels, as per International standard, ISO 14021:1999 are classified under three types: • Type-I: A multi-criteria based programme which authorises use of eco-labels on various product categories based on life cycle assessment of its environmental impacts. The certification is done by an Independent agency. • Type-II: Self environmental declarations made by companies in association with their own products or services. • Type-III: Labels are awarded based on quantified environmental data of a product under pre-defined parameters set by a qualified third party based on life cycle assessment. Verification of eco-label is done by another qualified third party.

Youth and SDGs

India is witnessing a demographic transition. It has one of the highest and the fastest-growing youth populations in the world. By 2020, India’s population is expected to become the world’s youngest. More than 500 million Indian citizens will be under 25 years of age and more than two thirds of the population will be eligible to work. This ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity to India.

Green and Inclusive Economy

The transition to a green economy is based on two concepts - ‘Greening the Brown’ and "Growing the Green". In recent years, many efforts have been made to create closed loop, circular production systems and adopt new business models. A greater emphasis is being placed on cleaner production technologies, ranging from low or even no cost solutions to high investment in advanced clean technologies while shifting from a brown economy to a green economy.

Investing in Nature

The benefits that human populations gain from healthy and functioning ecosystems are vast. Clean drinking water filtered by forests, carbon stored in plants and soil, crop pollination by wild insects and pharmaceutical uses of plants are just a few examples of services humans usually receive for free from nature. A recent wave of efforts to monetise the value of ecosystem services presents an opportunity to both protect these assets and bring their worth into the market. Currently, conservationists and investors alike are moving into this space in hopes of achieving a win-win for the economy and the environment. An array of public and private mechanisms exist to use payments to encourage responsible land management that preserves public benefits.

Innovative Approaches to Green Jobs

By definition the idea of ‘Green Economy’ does not limit to only shift in focus from indulging in more environmentally harmful activities to less. Green growth is derived from a larger principle of systemic thinking that promotes innovations that are based on life sciences and are nature inspired. At TARA, within its capacity of an incubator, it fundamentally operates to nurture green business solutions for the environment and development challenges faced nationally and globally. This herculean task however comes with shared responsibilities and engagements with local entrepreneurs, technology partners, regional and state level government agencies along with bilateral and multilateral agencies. Together with this synergised effect and optimal use of local skills and resources without depleting the environment, it encourages ‘Green Growth’.

Renewable Energy Rekindling Education

Khushboo Mishra, a class VII student of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Awasiya Vidyalaya, Shivpura village in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh, now feels safe and secure in the school and hostel premises. She not only moves around freely in the school campus after dark, but also utilises the now available electricity in the evening hours to focus on her studies and indulge in extra-curricular activities with her friends. Shashi Shukla, Principal of this school is the driving force behind the safety, security measures that have been taken care of through fulfilling the lighting needs of the school. She feels relieved that after eight long years she has finally been able to provide safety to the 100 adolescent girls residing in the school’s hostel.

Women's Empowerment and SDGs Special

It is indisputable that over the past fifteen years the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have contributed to the advancement of women and girls - particularly in the area of maternal health where mortality rates have been halved and in access to primary education where the global gender gap has virtually closed. However, many argue that the MDGs could and should have done more to improve the status of women and girls. Several issues critical not only to women’s progress, but also to the overall prosperity and stability of women such as child marriage, violence against women and valuation of women’s work were overlooked in the MDGs

Feb 2016 : Influencing Behaviour for Sustainable Development

Influencing Behaviour for  Sustainable Development

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