Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji – Muniji ji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Co-Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji, Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), participated in the annual general Assembly of ‘PaRD’ – Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development.
PaRD is an international renowned organization aimed at the positive impact of religious values, green, steady and sustainable development and work with religious, civil society, government, non-governmental organizations for humanitarian assistance.
The ‘PaRD’ organization is the world’s first organization that works in three different pillars. First pillar being country governments and governmental organizations including governments of Germany, United Kingdom, United States and many others through their development wings — BMZ, Federal Ministry of Economics Corporation and Development, United State Agency for International Development, etc. The second pillar are the multi-lateral organizations including the United Nations, World Bank, World Food Programme. The third pillar is the internationally recognized faith based organisations.
There are three work streams in PaRD, focusing on Gender, Health and Peace, and discussions were on topics including world peace, raising awareness on increasing violence against children, women empowerment, education, health and bringing faith based organisations together for sustainable development.
In this meeting, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji was also elected to the Steering Committee to represent the faith based organisations.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati ji while emphasizing on the increasing crimes against women and children and the rising water problems, said that the coming 10 years is very important and if we fail to pay attention now, it will be too late. He said that there should be development at the global level but that should be green and sustainable development.
Pujya Swamiji said, “There can be a plan A and a plan B but there is no planet B we only have one planet. I am so glad to hear about the various international organizations working for water conservation at their own level but now the time has come for everyone to work together as one family to address our global challenges and protect our home- planet Earth.”
He also added, “Women have a great role to play in creating a more sustainable and equitable planet for all beings. Indian spiritual culture has always put the role of women first. They were the essence of reverence and divinity. We must bring these values and this respect, reverence back to women and to children in order to empower them to come forward to build a better world for all.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji emphasised the importance of women’s freedom, empowerment and health not just in token events or conferences or panels but actually in the day to day functioning of our organisations — both religious and secular. She spoke on the deep-rootedness of the separation of women from the high level functioning of our societies that has led to decisions about women’s lives being made not by women but by men.
Sadhviji also emphasised the role of #water in all 3 workstreams and how it really is an underlying main issue. Whether one speaks about health, peace or women’s rights, water plays a crucial role and therefore the work to protect our planet’s rapidly dwindling fresh water should be a priority.