Published: 21st May 2020
WWF India's Model Conference of Parties will show children the way towards a more sustainable world
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar is the chief guest on day one of the conference which falls on International Day for Biological Diversity, that is, May 22. You will be joining in, right?
Conversations lead to new thoughts and new thoughts lead to actions, and to trigger this action, World Wide Fund (WWF) India along with a host of partners like United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) are going to organise a two-day virtual Model Conference of Parties (MCOP), the first-ever digital conference on nature conservation for students. So save the date on the International Day for Biological Diversity, May 22 and May 23 because two environmentally-conscious students and one teacher from 28 states and seven union territories of India are going to come up with Delhi Declaration 2020, an action plan which will be passed on to the government about what we can do for Mother Earth. Did we mention that the chief guest will be Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change?
Conceptualised three months aback and intended to be an offline event, MCOP aim is to involve students in the conversation with regards to the environment and help them gain the necessary knowledge required to combat the problem of climate change which is going to come down on them harder than it has on any of us. "It is because of children like Greta Thunberg that the ill-effects of climate change has been brought to the fore in this way. So, through MCOP, we want to understand what children are thinking and give a direction to their thoughts," explains Radhika Suri, Director, Environment Education, WWF India, a branch that has completed 50 years in India. And just how will the children gain this knowledge? Well, from the esteemed guests who will be joining them, of course. Apart from Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who will be delivering a talk and answering questions from the students, many other dignitaries will join to shape the thoughts of children. Dr VB Mathur, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority; Atul Bagai, Country Head, UNEP; Dr Chong Shimray, Associate Professor, NCERT and many more. Last time we checked, 17 noted personalities will join the conference.
WWF India Invitation for Model Conference of Parties | (Pic: WWF India)
The students are already prepared and waiting as since May 18, they have been in dialogue with each other already. They have heard esteemed dignitaries talking to them about smart targets, the role of the United Nations and so on. They have come up with state targets that are points that states can implement to deal with climate change. During MCOP, they will come up with national targets together which will also be a part of their Delhi Declaration 2020. "This will be a brief document that will be shared with all ministries, states, the UN and other relevant organisations after which, for a week, we and the students will come up with an action plan which we can implement to achieve our goals," says Radhika. While on the first day, the conference will start from 10.45 am and end at 3.30, on the second day, it starts at 10.00 am and concludes at 4.30 pm. Everyone can be a part of this seminar and tune into all the talks as they will be live-streamed on their YouTube channel.
Body of work
WWF India has been conducting many programmes in the field of education. "Subjects like Environmental Studies have always existed and yet, we don't see a change in mindsets, driven by the goal to see a change, we launched several initiatives," shares the environmentalist. One Planet Academy is their portal which imparts environmental education to children, they have initiated nature and eco clubs in educational institutions across the country and then there is Ek Prithvi, an action-oriented environment education model that implores the school to apply the principles of sustainability. There is also the very interesting Wild Wisdom Quiz which saw the participation of 30,000 children last year. This year it will be conducted virtually in June and they have brought on board their ambassador grandmaster Viswanathan Anand to play chess with the winner of the quiz. MCOP is one of their ways to ignite in students the spark to save the environment.
Students in a forest fringe school of Uttarakhand | (Pic: WWF India)
Getting back to how children have been at the forefront of the climate change battle, we wonder what kind of citizens the children participating in MCOP and also those who are associated with WWF India through their various activities, will grow up to be and Radhika says, "Though it is too early to say, as long as they think differently, they will be fine. We, from our side, will put forth all the education we can for them to absorb and make the journey for them as holistic as possible."
More pictures of their work
Kitchen Garden in Sunderban School | (Pic: WWF India)
WWF Volunteer planting and adopting a tree | (Pic: WWF India)
Students hugging a tree on an Eco Trail | (Pic: WWF India)
Student exploring the One Planet Academy website | (Pic: WWF India)
Day live streaming on youtu.be/1uEsPK2-vK4 and day 2 live streaming on youtu.be/4s1y67mUbss