Un-Spoken Web Series - CHANGE-The Parivartan

Un-Spoken, in collaboration with Pleasin Strides Foundation, has started a web-Series called CHANGE-The Parivartan, mainly focusing upon Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by United Nations General Assembly, and their relevance in Indian context.

 

The 5th Webinar of the series commenced on 17th July 2020 to discuss the topic with relevance to SDG6 “India will face acute water shortage in coming years, so How CSR can help the community to tackle this situation”.

 

Founders of Pleasin Strides Foundation Mr.Sagar Kaushik, Mr.Sashi Kaushik and Mr.Nagendra Singh Bisht hosted it. The following were the panellists:-

 

  •        Dr. Kadambari: Chief Executive Officer, PHD Rural Development Foundation
  •         Mr.Joydeep Sen: Head CSR (New Ventures), Cairn Oil and Gas
  •         Ms.Tanu Khaturia: Employee Programs & CSR Lead, Birlasoft
  •         Ms.Akshita Shukhla: Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Asian Paints Limited

 

Dr.K.K.Upadhayay, Director of Social Review Ex. FICCI, moderated the session.


The session started off with Dr. Upadhayay sharing the figures on India's approach to the issue of water management and the Sustainable Development Goals and then he handed over the platform to the panellists.


Every continent around the world is affected by water problems in varying degrees. Clean water has now become a luxury for people and most of the people spend entire day searching for it, which limits their ability to try their hand in some other things. Freshwater scarcity is no longer limited to sub-Saharan developing countries; also in Western society, access to unlimited amounts of freshwater is not assured at all times. It has been argued and laid down in many national legal systems that access to freshwater is a basic human right. The most important issue that came out was no one tries to save water because it is not a valuable commodity in the eyes of many. But, if this persists then the problem of water shortage would have adverse effects on the ecosystem.

 

There is no one who could solve the problem of water shortage alone and hence, it was quoted by Ms.Tanu Kauthuria that “various stakeholders that are working for the management of water must do it by collaborating with each other otherwise it would be a really challenging task. Most of the water in India is used by the agrarian sector and fresh water is not available to 75℅ of rural population. How CSR could help in community building and evolution of CSR water management practices came out to be the most important questions in the webinar.


Communities need to be empowered through knowledge, skills and technology and held accountable for water conservation. Moreover, they need to be organised as collectives like water users association so that they define rules for usage, conservation, recharge and accountability for water, which is a common property resource, quoted by Mr.Joydeep Saini.


Dr.Kadambari said, “Water conservation is significantly important considering the erratic rainfall patterns, injudicious use of water and constant depleting of ground water table. An integrated participatory approach is essential in combating the problem involving all stakeholders including the govt, corporate and most important community”. Community participation involving contribution in either capital or labour is highly significant for long-term sustainability of the water conservation projects. The strategies should be aligned with government schemes and mandate and need of the community. The water conservation projects in CSR are an investment rather than expense for future environmental and social gains.


The webinar concluded on a reflective note; that we need to take immediate steps to address the water shortage. Intervention driven on shared values, effective partnerships, sustainable practices, and digitalization based on data is the need of the hour to address the SDG6. Ms. Akshita Shukla ends the session with “A big thank you to the team of Unspoken for providing a platform to such meaningful discussions”. Wherein her submission on the topic “Multiple partners coming together and sharing the best practices, practical experiences and future strategies in the space of environmental and social development will definitely lead to a better India. I am glad I could learn and contribute in today’s discussion on water crisis and possible solutions.



Shubhankar Agarwal

 

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