Women Speak Out at Prestigious Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

Earth Day Network, in partnership with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), hosted a day-long forum in Delhi, India, on February 1, 2012, as part of the Women and the Green Economy (WAGE®) campaign. The event was held in conjunction with the 12th annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), which brings together government, civil society and corporate leaders from around the globe. At the WAGE forum, influential women in business, media, and environmental and other civil society organizations actively participated in discussions on women’s role in greening India’s growing economy and that of the rest of the world.

Participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue on topics ranging from why it is important for women to take a lead role in greening the economy to using the media to influence the green economy dialogue to promoting sustainability in government, business and civil society.

Annapurna Vancheswaran, director of sustainable development outreach at TERI, and Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, welcomed the audience to this special event and highlighted on their respective organizations’ roles in making sure women’s voices are heard in the green economy dialogue. Dr. Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate economist, gave a special address and drew attention to the need to secure educational and job training opportunities for women and channel green investment to benefit women – and outlined the ways in which that would strengthen the global economy. Dr R.K. Pauchauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stressed the significance of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit taking the lead role in drafting policies and recommendations to the governments around the world and the rationale of holding the WAGE form at the Delhi Summit, one of the best platforms to bring women to the forefront on these issues.  

The panel discussions were preceded by recognition of the efforts of women leaders at the grassroots level. Chandrakala Chauhan of Chhatrasal Seva Sansthan in Uttarakhand, Anita Rana of Janhit Foundation in Uttar Pradesh, Rekha Gujre from Madhya Pradesh, and Beguma of Jagriti from Himachal Pradesh were honored for their contributions in developing the green economy through initiatives like sustainable farming, micro-enterprise ventures and conservation of eco-systems unique to their respective geographical regions. The Global Environment Facility (GEF)/United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Small Grant’s Program, and the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) were the facilitators of this award presentation.

The first panel, Crisis of Leadership: Why and How Women Should Lead the Green Economy, saw eminent women representatives from the UN and leading research institutes commenting on policy debates surrounding women’s role in paving creating a sustainable future. While Dr. Jyoti Parikh from IRADe commented on the opportunities that renewable energy opens for women, Dr. Govind Kelkar,Senior Advisor from UN Women and Ashok Khosla President of IYCN presented some of the best practices for women’s initiatives at the community level. The panelists recognized women not just as mere beneficiaries but as leaders and decision makers in their community.

You can view a full list of participants here and the official press release. Stay tuned for more updates from DSDS in the coming days.

(Reporting from the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi, India.)