International Biodiversity Day

Press Release
Celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) in Mumbai on 22 May, 2016

The International Day for Biological Diversity 2016 was celebrated all over the country by different States and various organisations on 22nd May 2016. The national level celebrations of the Day were held at Yashwant Rao Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai with enthusiastic participation of all stakeholders.

Organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India, through the National Biodiversity Authority with support from the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board, in partnership with United Nations Development Programme and others, the event had the Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra, Shri. CH. Vidyasagar Rao, as the Chief Guest; and Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change presided over the event.

Others present on the occasion were Dr B. Meenakumari, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority, Prof. R. Sukumar, Centre for Ecological Science, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; Dr. M.M.Kutty, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India; Mr. Yuri Asanasiev, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India; Dr Vilas Bardekar, Chairman, Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board; Shri Swadheen S. Kshatriya, Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra; representatives of ICAR institutes, State Forest Department, Bombay National Histry Society, Civil Society Organizations; academic institutions; students of Mumbai University Colleges and biodiversity enthusiasts.

The Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra in his address called for a partnership between government, business, agricultural research institutions, NGOs and farmers to meet the challenge of food security while also preserving our biological resources. He mentioned that this year, Marathwara is witnessing unprecedented drought and conserving water, maintaining clean water bodies and managing water resources judiciously will be critical to sustain life and livelihood of people and also to maintain biodiversity.

Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment, Forest & Climate Change in his remarks referring to the theme of the Day (mainstreaming biodiversity and supporting livelihoods) highlighted the important role played by biodiversity in various economic sectors. Congratulating the winners of the India Biodiversity Awards 2016, he stated that the country has succeeded in making the crucial paradigm shift from development and environment being seen as two ends of a spectrum where one must be compromised in order to enhance the other, to having development while protecting the environment.

The Governor and the Minister presented the India Biodiversity Awards 2016 to the winners and the runners-up in four categories to recognise their efforts towards conservation of biodiversity. (List attached)

Launched in 2012, by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change in partnership with the United Nations Development Progamme, the India Biodiversity Awards recognise excellence in biodiversity governance across the country.

Awards were also presented to the winners of a photography contest organized by the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board. A publication on 'India Naturally! Celebrating winners of India Biodiversity Awards 2016 was released on the occasion. Also released were some other knowledge products and communication material.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yuri Afanasiev, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India, said, "By investing in biodiversity we are investing in people, planet and prosperity - which is the underlying premise of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prof. Sukumar in his lecture highlighted the need for some out-of-the box thinking in making conservation landscapes work, for example by using ecology and sociology as the basis for conservation in India. He further exhorted that research and policy be directed towards landscape approach to biodiversity conservation.

An exhibition on the theme of the Day was organised at the venue. Interesting exhibits, posters and other material highlighting the role of biodiversity and its mainstreaming in sustaining livelihoods were depicted at the exhibition. Several students and others interested participated enthusiastically in the exhibition. The dignitaries too walked through the exhibition prior to the event.

In India, a recognised magadiverse country rich in biodiversity, nearly 300 million people are dependent on biodiversity for subsistence and livelihoods. This dependence is particularly acute for around half of India's 89 million tribal people who reside in forests or on the fringe of forests. Across India, people, communities, governments, and civil society orgnisations are demonstrating ways to conserve biodiversity, sustain livelihoods, and contribute to sustainable development.


Save Water Save Life

Water is an essential element for life. Inadequate access to safe drinking water affects the well-being of people being the cause of diseases, unnecessary suffering, conflicts, poverty and even death. The recent examples of water crisis in different parts of the country has proven the fact of water crisis and compelled Vishwa Yuvak Kendra to discuss on this burning issue. Keeping this in mind, the Vishwa Yuvak Kendra has decided to organize a workshop on "Save Water- Save Life" on 31st May, 2016 at the Campus of Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, Chankyapuri, New Delhi.

The aforesaid workshop has been devised to cover the following major objectives:

  • To sensitize the people about the issue
  • To harness local know how and generate awareness about water
  • Adopt new mechanism and replicate good practices among the communities
  • To ponder over and discuss about innovative approach.

During the programme, prominent speakers from Delhi would also be invited to deliver lectures on the issue of "WATER". In this regard, we request you to kindly note the following:

  1. The programme will commence with the registration of participants from 9.00 am on 31 May, 2016.
  2. You are requested to confirm your participation by sending us the participant's names latest by 20th May, 2016 by email on and
  3. The participants would be provided lunch and refreshments during the programme.
  4. There will be no registration fee for the programme.

The venue of the programme will be Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, Pt. Uma Shankar Dikshit Road, Teen Murti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110 021. Please feel free to contact the Programme Officers on Phone No. 23013631-35 and +91-8130344552 for any additional information/clarification.

Looking forward to an optimistic response to make the event a grand success,

Yours sincerely,

Praveen Kumar Sharma
Programme Officer

Vishwa Yuvak Kendra
(International Youth Centre) Teen Murti Marg, Pt.Uma Shanker Dikshit Road Chanakyapuri New Delhi - 110021
Ph: 011 23013631 - 35 ext 213 Fax: 011 23016604 Mobile: - M: +91 8130344552
Email :       Web:


Swaraj Abhiyan, Ekta Parishad, Jal Biradari and National Alliance of People's Movements.

Request regarding Drought Duty

Dear friend,

I hope this email finds you well.

I write to seek your help with Drought Duty, a campaign to involve youth in drought relief and mitigation. As part of the campaign, young volunteers will be expected to spend at least one week in a drought affected village between 26th May-15th July 2016. Here they will mapping watershed resources, disseminate information on entitlements and help drought-affected persons with paperwork to claim entitlements. The campaign is being organised by Swaraj Abhiyan, Ekta Parishad, Jal Biradari and National Alliance of People's Movements.

I request you to support this initiative by spreading the word amongst your students and encouraging them to participate.

For further details on the campaign, kindly see this set of FAQs

There is an online application process and the form is available at

If your students need assistance with filling the form or have any further questions after reading the FAQs, they may email or call 7065003180.

I also request your help in spreading the word about this initiative. I will greatly appreciate your forwarding this email to others and sharing the attached posters at your college/institution and on social media using the handle #DroughtDuty.

I look forward to your valuable support in this vital nation-building program.

Many thanks,
Yogendra Yadav


XXI South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course

APPLY NOW for the 21st South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace

05 September to 05 October 2016

TEWA Center, Kathmandu, Nepal


The South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace, also known as the Sangat Month Long Course, is designed to offer course attendees clarity on and a greater understanding of concepts related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights. The course was founded in 1984. Thus far, 20 editions have been held through which more than 650 women activists and gender trainers, women's studies teachers, journalists, media women, and others have improved their conceptual capacities and sharpened/developed feminist perspectives. Many of these women are now in senior positions in various organizations and institutions, and are conducting similar gender workshops and women's studies courses in their own countries. These courses have also led to effective networking amongst participants and their organizations. The last 20 courses were designed for women from South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), however, participants from Sudan, Turkey, Myanmar, Vietnam and Iran have also attended the course. OBJECTIVES The main objectives of the course are:

  • To create a pool of feminist activists committed to working on gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights for all.
  • To facilitate intensive dialogue and experience sharing amongst women development practitioners and trainers, human rights defenders, women's studies teachers, media women, lawyers, etcetera.
  • To offer participants an opportunity to increase their understanding of and sensitivity to a range of issues related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights.
  • To share information about and build feminist perspectives on ongoing processes of liberalization, globalization, militarization, identity politics, conflict transformation and peace building.
  • To help participants increase their self-awareness and self-confidence, and enhance their analytical, communication, and training capacities.
  • To strengthen networking and co-operation for advocacy and action for gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights in South Asia and elsewhere.
PARTICIPANTS Course participants have included non-governmental organization professionals, researchers, teachers, women's studies teachers, artists, government officials, journalists, lawyers, trade unions representatives, among others.

Applicants to the Sangat Month Long Course are required to have:

  • A background in working on issues related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and/or human rights;
  • A minimum of two years of work experience; and
  • A good working knowledge of spoken and written English.
The course will accept a maximum of 40 participants. Please note that this course is only open to women. DURATION, DATES, VENUE AND LANGUAGE The course will be held at the TEWA Centre on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. This is a residential course, and all participants are required to reside at the TEWA Centre for the full duration of the course. The dates of the course are 05 September to 05 October 2016. The working language of the course is English. Therefore, proficiency in written and spoken English is necessary. CONTENT

The subjects the course will cover are listed below. However, the exact topics will be determined based on the needs and interests of the participants and through discussions with the resource persons.

  • Patriarchy, gender, masculinity, femininity, feminism, and the women's movement.
  • Caste, class, race, sexual preferences, disabilities, minority identities, etcetera, and intersectionalities amongst these hierarchies.
  • The neo-liberal development paradigm and its impact on poverty and gender.
  • Entitlement frameworks, such as Right to Information, social audits, right to food and food sovereignty and right to livelihood - policies and programs for the most marginalized groups of communities.
  • Violence against women and girls including ideological underpinnings, legal frameworks, and alternative feminist jurisprudence and courts of justice.
  • The origin and historical development of gender and human rights - the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other United Nations conventions.
  • The constitutional framework and secularism, growing fundamentalisms, communalization of identities, feminism, and spirituality.
  • Self-awareness and self-growth.
  • Leadership and confidence building.
  • Gender and health - the intersection of national health policy and multiple identities.
  • Physical, mental and emotional well-being and reproductive health.
  • Body politics, body literacy, and heteronormativity or the denial of the expression of multiple sexual identities.

The course methodology is participatory and experiential, and guided by certain feminist principles of teaching and learning.

The course provides opportunities for participants to acquire and develop training skills through 'learning by doing'. Participants are actively involved in deciding the daily schedule, planning and coordinating specific sessions, making presentations on issues, preparing learning materials and documenting the sessions. Attempts are made to minimize the formal divisions between 'organizers' and 'participants', the trainers and trainees. The emphasis is on group discussions and case presentations.

Relevant reading material will be identified and provided to participants.

In order to make the process lively and effective, songs, dance, music, plays, posters and films are used throughout the course.

Visits to local NGOs and women's organizations are built into the course. Participants are encouraged to participate in public events.

Yoga and other physical exercise are a part of the daily schedule.


Resource persons are knowledgeable feminist activists/scholars who are a part of South Asian women's movements, and are committed to supporting processes of women's empowerment and solidarity.

In prior years, the following individuals have served as resource persons:

Bangladesh: Farida Akhtar, Khushi Kabir, Sultana Kamal, Sara Hossain, Rizwana Hassan, Amena Mohsin, Lubna Marium

  • India: Kamla Bhasin, Abha Bhaiya, Martin Macwan, V. Rukmini Rao, Manisha Gupte, Nandita Shah, Nandita Gandhi, Deepa Dhanraj, Amrita Chhachhi, Lata Mani, Anjali Bharadwaj, Shankar
  • Nepal: Mina Acharya, Durga Ghimire, Sapana Pradhan-Malla, Saloni Singh, Mira Mishra, Renu Rajbhandari, Hisila Yami, Indira Shrestha, Rita Thapa
  • Pakistan: Rubina Saigol, Ambreen Ahmad, Nighat Said Khan, Maria Rashid, Azra Talat Sayeed
  • Sri Lanka: Kumari Jayawardena, Sunila Abeyasekera (unfortunately no more with us in body)

Participants or their organizations are expected to pay for their travel to the course and USD 1440 to cover the costs of food and lodging. Please note that Sangat does not charge a fee for the course itself.

A few fellowships for women from South Asia are available for those who are unable to pay to participate in the course. Please note that fellowships are limited and highly competitive. Applicants are strongly encouraged to raise their own funding, where possible. If you would like to apply for a fellowship, please send us a detailed letter that explains: 1) why you need a fellowship; and 2) why sponsoring you is important.

Women from outside the South Asia region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) will need to raise their own funding to cover costs for travel and boarding and lodging.


Applications should be accompanied by:

  1. Personal information sheet and application form, which can be found here: PERSONAL INFORMATION SHEET AND APPLICATION FORM
  2. Detailed Curriculum Vita (CV)
  3. In case the applicant/nominee is not able to pay, a fellowship application in the form of a letter to be sent to Sangat detailing: 1) why you need a fellowship; and 2) why sponsoring you is important.
Please ensure that you have a passport that is valid for at least one year before you apply for this course.

Applications/nominations should be emailed to the Sangat Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator at and by 31 May 2016.



The social development arm of YES BANK, successfully completed the first phase of Media for Social Change Fellowship - a high impact program to develop socially conscious youth leadership in association with ISDI|WPP School of Communication and supported by International Advertising Association- India Chapter and YES BANK.

Launched by Smt. Amruta Fadnavis (wife of Chief Minister, Maharashtra), Ms. Diya Mirza (actor and environment activist), Mrs. Bindu Kapoor (Member, Governing Council, YES FOUNDATION),

Ms. Radha Kapoor (Founder and Director, ISDI) and Ms. Prerana Langa (CEO, YES FOUNDATION) at the Olive Crown Awards ceremony on March 9, 2016, the inaugural 2- month Fellowship aims at :

  • Developing socially conscious youth leadership through exposure to social issues and credible Non-Profits
  • Maximising social impact by strengthening awareness generation and resource mobilisation efforts of Non-Profits
YES FOUNDATION Media for Social Change Fellowship received an overwhelming response of 922 registrations from premier colleges across India including XLRI, IIT B, SPJIMR, NMIMS, H.R. College of Commerce and Economics and Jai Hind College amongst others. 48 high-potential aspirants, a mix of 15 male & 33 female in the age group of 18-25 years, have been selected as Fellow Designates after a rigorous selection process which included an extensive application form, a Statement of Purpose and multiple rounds of telephonic and personal interviews. Selected Fellow Designates would receive training from renowned industry leaders, mentorship from senior experts in Non-Profits, Stipend of INR 10,000 for the duration of the program and certificates on successful completion of the fellowship.

YES FOUNDATION has partnered with 20 Non-Profits in Mumbai including Teach for India, HelpAge India, Kherwadi Social Welfare Association, LabourNet, Magic Bus and Pratham amongst others for 7-week placement of the Fellow Designates where they will lead projects under the mentorship and guidance from industry experts and senior leadership of the Non-Profits to further the communication efforts of these organisation. The Fellowship will further hone the leadership skills of the youth, sensitising them towards social causes and enabling them to emerge as social leaders.

In the first week of the Fellowship program, extensive induction training was conducted at the ISDI|WPP School of Communication from April 18 to 23, 2016. Sessions on marketing, communications, digital/social media, filmmaking and the development sector were conducted by industry experts including Monica Tata, Secretary, IAA-India Chapter; Raghu Ram and Rajiv Laxman, TV personalities; Srijan Nandan, independent filmmaker; Rama Iyer, Founder, White Kettle Consulting; Lisa Heydlauff, Founder, Going to School along with senior leadership from WPP Group and YES BANK.


Gates Foundation commits $80m to plugging gender equality data gap

Fund announced at Women Deliver conference will support national statistics offices to collect information on the contribution women make to society .

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committing $80m (£55m) to help plug the gaps in data on women and girls that is needed to meet the UN target of achieving gender equality by 2030.

The money, would be distributed over the next three years, will support national statistics offices to collect and refine reliable information on the contribution women and girls make to society and the barriers they face in fulfilling their potential. Specific areas that need more data include the amount of unpaid work women carry out in the home and gender-based violence, often regarded as too difficult to collect.

The information will be used to shape programmes and policies that will help meet the sustainable development goals, adopted by the UN general assembly in September. Goal five calls for an end to gender inequality and the empowerment of women and girls and includes targets on eliminating violence against women, and recognising the value of unpaid care and domestic work.


UN High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment

Transforming dynamics in the care economy: A call to action to inform global policy

In response to the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Oxfam are organising a call for evidence on what works for positive change in the care economy. The call seeks evidence to support a joint statement to the HLP on:

  • The recognition and value of care work as a contribution to development and as valuable and skilled activity in the economy
  • An assessment of what we know works to prioritise investment to both reduce the intensity and difficulty of care work and increase the quality of care
  • An assessment of what we know works to shift perceptions, norms and gender roles about care in order to achieve women’s economic empowerment that is optimised, shared across families and sustained across generations.
Information from the exercise will be collated and synthesised into a position paper and presented to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, member of the UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, as part of her consultation exercise prior to the High-Level Panel meeting in July 2016.

IDS, IDRC and Oxfam seek information on your experiences of what programmes or initiatives have been successful in addressing the challenges with regard to the care economy. The deadline for submissions is: 31 May 2016. Please complete the online questionnaire at:


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