To commemorate the 50th World Environment Day, UNICEF and Elixir Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Climate Change and Press Information Bureau organized Gujarat’s first-ever Climate Action Summit on 4 June 2023 in Ahmedabad. The Summit served as a unique platform to foster collaboration and innovation around climate action.
In his keynote address, Mr Amit Thaker, Hon’ble MLA said, “Amidst the challenges posed by climate change, we must not overlook the wisdom and resilience embedded within our older traditions and culture. Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature, understanding the delicate balance between human existence and the environment. By reviving and embracing these time-honored practices, we have the opportunity to rediscover sustainable solutions that can help mitigate the climate change issue. Let us draw inspiration from our rich heritage, merging traditional wisdom with modern innovation, and pave a path towards a greener and more sustainable future.”
During the Summit, the Gujarat Climate Champions Forum (GCCF) was launched as a critical initiative aimed at addressing the challenges of climate change and promoting sustainability in the State. The GCCF has been set up and convened by UNICEF as one of the recommendations of the Climate Champions Meet organized on 10 April 2023 in collaboration with the Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat and Elixir Foundation. A letter of support was received from Shri Mukesh Patel, Hon’ble Minister of State for Forest and Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources and Water Supply, Government of Gujarat who appreciated the effort put into organising the Climate Action Summit and the launch of the Gujarat Climate Action Summit.
Speaking during the inaugural session, Ms. Moira Dawa, Communication, Advocacy and Partnership Specialist at UNICEF said, “The GCCF aims to raise awareness, build capacity, foster collaboration, advocate for policies, promote innovation, empower youth and mobilize action to address climate change challenges, promote sustainability, and build resilience in Gujarat. We believe that by mobilizing leaders from different sectors and amplifying their efforts we can create a groundswell of momentum towards a sustainable and resilient future for the children who are at highest risk of Climate Change.”
With a focus on Mission LiFE, the summit provided a platform for participants to present concrete and realistic plans that align with the goals of Mission LiFE. The solutions and recommendations from the Summit highlighted the transformative impact of climate action on people’s lives and emphasised the need for systemic change. It also fostered a sense of responsibility and ownership among the young minds, our next generation of leaders, by empowering them to become advocates for climate action.
Through a series of workshops, training programs, and collaborative projects, the GCCF will equip young champions with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to make a significant impact in the coming days.
Mr. Mayur Parmar, Deputy Collector, Panchmahal while sharing his ideas at the Climate Action Summit said that “Nature has bestowed upon us its unparalleled beauty, and we have been privileged to witness its wonders firsthand. But with this privilege comes an even greater responsibility – to safeguard the treasures that lie within our forests and flow within the waves of our oceans. It is our duty to ensure that future generations are not left bereft of the awe-inspiring miracles of nature. Let us rise together, hand in hand, and take bold and decisive action to protect and preserve our planet for the sake of those who will inherit it from us.”
Mr. Unmesh Dixit, Executive Director of Ahmedabad Management Association stressed that “Saving the environment is not solely the responsibility of governments or large organizations. It begins with each and every one of us, taking small steps and individual actions that collectively create a powerful impact. Our choices matter, whether it’s reducing waste, conserving energy, or embracing sustainable practices in our daily lives. By recognizing the significance of our individual actions, we can ignite a ripple effect of positive change and inspire others to join us on this crucial journey to protect and preserve our planet for future generations.”
The Climate action summit also featured a dynamic panel discussions on “Mission LiFE and role of Young People” which shed light on the pivotal role of young people in driving Mission LiFE forward. The discussions explored innovative ideas, empowering young individuals to take ownership and actively contribute to climate action. Together, the panel members recognized that when young voices are amplified, and their actions are supported, they have the power to shape the destiny of our planet. The panel members were Mr. Nagesh Patidar (WASH Specialist, UNICEF), Mr. Lokendra Balasaria (Founder, Treewalk) and Ms. Anjali Mehta (Founder, Project Amdavad)
The panel was followed by research and poster presentation by the students of Adani Vidhya Mandir, Solutions Cafe and special talk on “Individual Environment Responsibility” by Wing Commander Dharmendra Sharma.
The Climate Action Summit was attended by over 150 change makers including the GCCF partners – American Corner, British Deputy High Commission, EarthDay Network, Student for Development, ARC Foundation, Treewalk Community, MultiTasking Mommies, World Around You, Greenstraw Foundation, Project Amdavad, Curtail and Sustain, among others.
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Moira Dawa, Communication, Advocacy & Partnership Specialist, UNICEF
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