The 9th Asia Pacific United Nations University Regional Centre of Expertise Meet 2016-CISSA Participation as Candidate RCE Trivandrum

The 9th Asia Pacific United Nations University Regional Centre of Expertise (UNU RCE) Meet 2016 was conducted in the Sirindhorn International Environmental Park in Cha-am, Phetchaburi, Thailand. CISSA was represented as Candidate RCE Trivandrum by Mr. Sachin Sathyarajan. The meet started with an International Conference on “Climate Change , Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Sustainable Development Goals,: Policy and Practice”.  The event was inaugurated by the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand. The conference took on the Global Development Agenda and the SDGs and discussed the following major thematic issues in the context of science –policy- society interface :

  1. Climate Change
  2. Biodiversity
  3. Ecosystem Services

There were presentations made by various RCEs on the policy management, best practices and multi-stakeholder approaches in all these thematic areas. The key presentations included Dr Mario Tabucanon , Professor, UNU IAS Japan and Robert Dobias, Senior Advisor , USAID Asia Pacific.

The  presentation by Mr Sachin was on the Protection of Traditional Medicinal Knowledge in the context of the Global Ayurveda Festival and the role of multistakeholder partnership in realizing the objective in RCE Trivandrum.

The technical reflections of the conference and the outcomes were discussed and debated on the last day. On the final agreement on the aspirations of the participants, a Cha-am Statement was declared and adopted.

On the conclusion of the Conference one day was devoted to the magnificent conservation of mangroves and related biodiversity in the Sirindhorn Environmental Park. There were also field trips to marine life conservation areas, traditional knowledge conservation programmes and the Mrigdayavan palace.

Roughly 50 RCEs from across the Asia Pacific including seven participants from India came together to finalize on the road ahead for the RCEs. Four working groups were formed on Youth, Higher Education, Schools and Communities to discuss the works.

Mr Sachin presented a brief outline of the work done by RCE Trivandrum including the Global Ayurveda Festival, Indian Biodiversity Congress, Annam Movement and LARC. This generated substantial interest in the work and the pamphlets of CISSA were handed out.

This was followed by the presentation of Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on their ValuES project aiming to evaluate ecosystem services for sound sustainable development choices across the world.

The final two days were the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services  (IPBES) workshop on the collaboration of the UNU RCE network with the IPBES network headquartered at Bonn, Germany.

On the value of Biodiversity and Ecosystem services, expertise was to be channelized both ways from RCEs to GIZ- IPBES network , creating a symbiotic local- global policy channel. Mr Sachin made a concluding talk on the Medicinal Plant Conservation and associated Traditional Knowledge in the context of MPCAs in Western Ghats.