Institute of Law, Nirma University, jointly with National Council for Climatic Change, Sustainable Development and Public Leadership (NCCSD) organized an International Conference on “Strengthening Climatic Justice Initiatives: Livelihood Challenges at Local Level with a focus on Farmers” on November 8th and 9th, 2014.
The Conference was inaugurated in the esteemed presence of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice H. L. Dattu and the Governor of the State of Gujarat, His Excellency Shri. O P Kohli. The inaugural function was attended by various present and retired judges of Supreme Court and High Court of Gujarat along with other eminent dignitaries such as Mr. Justice V M Sahai, Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, and Justice B P Singh, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India & President of NCCSD, Senior Counsel Adv. Dushyant Dave, Justice C.K. Thakkar & Justice Panchal, retired judges, Supreme Court of India, to name a few.
The Conference was organized to initiate a dialogue on the theme and to critically analyze the contribution of government policies, legal framework, technology and other initiatives by academicians, students, lawmakers, farmers and other stakeholders with a view to bring Climate Justice against the challenges faced by farmers at local level.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice H.L Dattu, coming from agriculturist background, stated that agriculture is an integral part of who we are as a society and as a nation. He emphasized that we should be convinced by scientific reasons than believe on empty rhetoric and called for accepting an approach which is capable enough to reduce the climatic pressure and also to safeguard and sustain the interests of small and marginalized farmers. Hon’ble Justice asked the government to ensure that land that is being acquired for the purpose of development must only be done after a farmer is fairly compensated for the land which he owns. This Conference was attended by more than 150 farmers from Gujarat and the surrounding States, along with sixty scientists and researchers from fifteen various organisations and agricultural universities. Total Fifteen law universities, ten national-level universities, ten International organisations, Seventy students and faculty of law universities of India participated and total participation was nearly three hundred.
The Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Gujarat, Mr. Justice V.M. Sahai mentioned that there is a need to bring back old wisdom of the Vedas and learn from them while taking statutory actions to preserve environment. He stated that if proper mechanism for assessing carbon credit is put in place agriculture activity in India will emit zero pollutants and strengthen industries by reducing their pollution as there will be an increase in green cover.
His Excellency the Governor of Gujarat, Shri Om Prakash Kohli while addressing the gathering said that if we look at the modern world we can see that during the last few decades the world has made tremendous progress but this development has caused serious environmental damages impairing the quality of life not only of our generations but of future generations also. We should meet our own needs without compromising with future generations. He also invited Chief Justice of India to come to Gujarat and experience its hospitality as Gujarat is the soul of India. A book on “Climate Smart Agriculture-The Indian Perspective” was also launched at the function which consisted experiences of several farmers and scientists.
The conference had 3 technical sessions, 3 plenary sessions and a farmers’ interaction along with round table meet where theme paper of the Conference was deliberated on. The Conference also had a women’s meet where issues and challenges regarding women farmers were discussed. The session saw various academicians, technical experts, legal luminaries, foreign delegates and farmers participating and deliberating on issues such as climate conditions, soil testing, government initiatives and other Justice and policy related aspects of Climate Justice. It was a unique conference as the direct stakeholders of the conference “farmers” were also the participants of this Conference.
The Valedictory function was graced with the presence of various delegates from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. The Presidential Address was given by Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.P. Singh, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India & President of NCCSD.
The important points and recommendations were presented as a report on front of the various participants. The important points relating to Law, Agriculture and Climate Change were deliberated during the 2 days of the conference. 9 important dimensions and 21 recommendations were a result of the deliberations of the conference which will be presented before the Conference in Peru, in near future. The recommendations were given by the various delegate speakers and guest of honour, such as Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice H.L. Dattu, Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court Mr. Justice V.M Sahai, Dr. Gopi Chandran, Director-Gyan Prasar, Noida, Mr. Robert Jordan, Organic Farming Consultant from Britain, Dr. Ashvini Chauhan, Florida A & M University, Ms. Abena Ojetayo, Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Director-Sustainability Institute, Florida A & M University, Daniel Gimshi, Associate Professor, College Of Management, College of Management, Rishon Le Zion, Israel among other eminent scientists, farmers and academicians.
On this occasion, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the delegates of Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University and NCCSD for the mutual exchange of information, technical assistance and public policy drafting.
The organizers of this Conference were Institute of Law, Nirma University and National Council for Climatic Change, Sustainable Development and Public Leadership (NCCSD). The Co-Chairs were Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal, Director and Dean, Institute of Law, Nirma University and Dr. Kirit Shelat, Executive Chairman, NCCSD. Prof. Ravi Saxena was the Conference Secretary.