Eminent environmentalists, scientists, revered spiritual-religious leaders, dedicated members of civil society, disaster-impacted people and esteemed political leaders came together in a conference organized by the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, Ganga Action Parivar, and Navdanya at GIWA’s Secretariat, Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, India.
The high-level conference, which drew people from over 20 nations, focused on the sustainable redevelopment of India’s Himalayan state of Uttarakahand in the wake of tragic Himalayan flooding, which took the lives of thousands of people and destroyed countless villages, homes and buildings.
The event was initiated, led, guided and blessed by H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Co-Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Founder of Ganga Action Parivar. Amongst the numerous leaders, dignitaries, scientists and key institutes present in this important conference were:
· His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand, Dr. Aziz Qureshi
· Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Vijay Bahuguna
· Pujya M.M. Swami Avdheshanand Giri, Head Acharya of the Juna Akhara
· Pujya M.M. Swami Asanganand Saraswati
· Hon’ble Former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’
· Renowned scientist and environmentalist and Founder of Navdanya, Dr. Vandana Shiva
· Bollywood actor, Shri Vivek Oberoi and his wife Smt. Priyanka Alva Oberoi
· Pujya Prem Baba, Brazil
· Hon’ble DGP of Uttarakhand Police, Shri BS Sidhu
· Former Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand, Shri Raghuanand Tolia
· Former Member of Planning Commission, Shri Kamal Taori
· Director of ISRO, Dr. YN Krishnamurthy
· Himalayan Environmentalist and Forest Conservator, Shri Jagat Singh ‘Jangali’
· Founder and President of Himalaya Vahini, Shri Vijaypal Baghel
· Senior Geologist from GSI, Dr. SK Tripathi
· Professor of Wildlife Institute of India, Dr. VP Uniyal
· Former Senior Engineer of Central Water Commission, Er. Rajender Khanna
· Representatives of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, HNB Garhwal University, Plan-India, WASH-India, United Religions Initiative (URI), Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and many others organizations.
All those present shared their perspective of the necessity for a rejuvenated vision for development and construction in this mountainous state, a vision which takes into consideration the fragile Himalayan ecosystem, WASH, the life-giving waters of the River Ganga, and the ancient culture of this land.
The delegates unanimously pledged and signed a Green Vision Declaration, which included details on improving WASH for the state. The Declaration was presented to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Vijay Bahuguna and His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand, Dr. Aziz Qureshi during the proceedings of the conference.