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Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s two UNESCO Chairs address panels at COP28 in Dubai

December 16, 2023 - 1:03
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s two UNESCO Chairs address panels at COP28 in Dubai

Two professors from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham took part in COP28, the UN’s annual climate conference where Governments gather to discuss how to limit and prepare for future climate change. This year it was held in Dubai, UAE from November 30-December 12, 2023 and concluded with an agreement that calls for the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the world leaders who attended.

Prof. Maneesha V Ramesh is Amrita’s Provost, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development, and Director, Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications. As an invited speaker, she addressed two panels.

The first was “Indigenising Education for Climate Action: Strategies, Case Studies and Testimonies”. She spoke on practical tools for critical reflection and action based on Amrita’s work and practices with our 101+ adopted villages across India. She also shared about some of the university’s technological interventions based on education methods. This panel was organised by Space4Innovation/GEO Indigenous Alliance.

The title of the second session was “Indigenous-Led Climate Action: Democratising Space Data for Planetary Wellbeing and Education” and was also led by the Geo Indigenous Alliance. It explored the role of open-source technologies and Earth observation data in reshaping climate education, highlighting the indispensability of Indigenous-led knowledge sharing.

Prof. Bhavani Rao was also invited to address two panels. She is Amrita’s UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and Dean of the School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. As well, she is the Director of two research centres—AMMACHI Labs (Amrita Multi Modal Applications Using Computer & Human Interaction Labs) and the Centre for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality (CWEGE).

At a session entitled “Climate Crisis and Health of Women and the Girl Child: A Gender Perspective”,  Prof. Rao addressed the need for values to eradicate environmental destruction. Rotary, in partnership with the Global CSR Foundation, hosted the panel discussion to emphasise the need for gender-focused solutions in climate strategies.

Prof. Rao highlighted the Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s Saukhyam Reusable Pads initiative, its project for 13,000+ Amrita SREE women’s self-help groups (SHGs), and CWEGE’s programme to train SHGs in seaweed cultivation. The First Lady of Suriname and First Lady of the Commonwealth of Bahamas were present and expressed appreciation for such massive efforts.

Prof. Rao also was a panelist at a session entitled “Green Blockchain and Corporate Social Responsibility” at the COP28 UAE Green Blockchain Summit. It was also organised by Rotary and the Global CSR Foundation with the main compere Jing Zhao Cesarone, CEO of the Global CSR Foundation. In addition, she was a VIP invitee at the KuCoin Green Future Gala Dinner organised by KuCoin.

As well, Prof. Rao met with Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs and Dr. Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, both with Columbia University. Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is a world-renowned economics professor and global leader in sustainable development. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, and an SDG Advocate for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In 2022, Amma as Chancellor of Amrita Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham conferred an honorary doctorate upon Prof. Jeffrey Sachs for his pioneering work on climate change and sustainable development.

Dr. Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, MD, MPH is a paediatrician, an endocrinologist and public health specialist. Since 2005 she has been leading efforts at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, to design and implement low-cost primary health systems in low-income rural Africa and India. Dr. Sachs is also the Director of the One Million CHW Campaign, advocating for professionalised Community Health Workers.

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