"Simply tolerate or prevent, these are two options left to face the negative effects of climate change," observed Dr Virendra Pal Singh, Senior Advisor of World Agroforestry Centre, South East Asia while presenting his keynote address on the inaugural session of the 5th Odisha Environment Congress here at Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) today.
"Climate Change and Environment is one of the six (6) programmes of the World Agroforestry," he informed while adding that focus was on suffering of the society as almost all the systems had been affected and going to be effected in the future as well.
He stressed on the community-driven process focusing on agriculture to deal with the effects of climate change and environment keeping in view the vulnerabilities of drought, flood and cyclone. Dr Singh also advocated in favour of climate-smart agriculture, cutting of green house gas emissions, livelihood improvement and environment sustainability.
Dr Singh, while speaking on climate change, informed that two noticeable features of effects of climate change on the environment in India are; rise in temperature and shift in snowfall and appealed for three types; mitigation, adaption and avoiding and minimizing the effects of climate change as solution.
Industries, School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, who was chief guest, inaugurated the 3-day long OEC-2014 and expressed his concerns about health hazards in various vulnerable pockets in the state as climate change and its impact is visible nowadays. Panchayati Raj Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo appealed the scientists and experts to prepare action plan keeping in view the problems of laymen and stressed "maximum budgetary provision should be for climate change and environment."
OEC Chairman D K Roy presided the inaugural session attended by former Member of Board of Revenue Dr Aurobindo Behera, RMNH Director Dr Indresh Kumar and OEC Organising Secretary Sudarsan Das in which proceedings of the Congress on the theme of "Climate Change & Environment - Issues and Challenges for Odisha" was released.
Climate Change has the potential to derail the current growth and deepen the poverty in Odisha. The state is more vulnerable due to various factors including its 480 km coastline that is prone to climate mediated cyclones and coastal erosion and water resources depending on monsoon. Keeping in view of this potential threat of Climate Change, the Forest and Environment Department, Govt. of Odisha has come up with 'Odisha Climate Change Action Plan' which is timely and shows the commitment to address the issues pertaining to adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change affects. Keeping the need for wider involvement of different sectors on Climate Change issues in view, the theme - "Climate Change and Environment-Issues and Challenges for Odisha" of 5th OEC has been decided by the organisers.
Last Four OECs:
1st OEC (2010) - Water and Environment
2nd OEC (2011) - Forest and Environment
3rd OEC (2012) - Energy and Environment
4th OEC (2013) - Agriculture and Environment
It is worth mentioning thatin collaboration with the Forest and Environment Department (Govt. of Odisha), Odisha Environment Congress (OEC) is being organized as an annual scientific event since 2010.
The Human Development Foundation (HDF), Bhubaneswar, Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Thiruvananthapuram and Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH), Bhubaneswar organize this event which has been providing a unique opportunity for academicians, researchers, scientists, planners, policy makers, students and practitioners to discuss and deliberate the issues related to environment. OEC also provides scope for publication and presentation on Odisha specific research based articles.