At the outset let me congratulate and thank all our members for the success of the 2023 CANSA general assembly and planning meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was indeed a pleasure to meet in person and collectively shape the network’s future direction to enhance its impact in the region.
Together we set ourselves a renewed mission – “By 2030 CANSA will be the leading climate advocacy and action network contributing towards a just, equitable, inclusive, and resilient South Asia.” We agreed to develop and share knowledge and expertise, for advocacy, action, and transboundary cooperation on Loss and Damage (including displacement), Just Transition (including low carbon development), Climate Finance (including innovative sources), Biodiversity conservation (including nature-based solutions), and Climate Resilience.
I also want to take this opportunity to sincerely express our gratitude to the outgoing board members even as we welcome new board members. We will share outcome documents and minutes of the General Assembly soon. As you are aware, there has been a lot going on, G20 Leaders met in New Delhi, India on the 9-10 September, the 78th UN General Assembly (12-30 September), the launch of Question of Cities and CANSA Media fellowship stories, new reports and new members, all of which you can read in this issue.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 20-22 August 2023
The CANSA General Assembly and planning meeting was being held in person after 6 years, since the last held in 2017 in Nagarkot, Nepal. 70 plus members from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka were present at the three-day meeting. By all accounts, the meeting met its objectives of bringing the CANSA family together to discuss, deliberate, and plan the course of the network’s vision, strategies, and advocacy efforts until 2030.
Acknowledging the urgency of climate action, members shared their challenges as well as their national plans to overcome the direct impacts of climate change in their respective countries. A mix of panel discussions and group work helped identify priority areas and strategies for increasing transboundary cooperation and collaborations. Preparations for the meeting began well in advance, with a sizeable number of members taking a survey to convey what they expected of CANSA and the strategy meeting.
The General Assembly was a half-day event on 22nd August. Dr Abid Suleri, CANSA Board Co-Chair presided over the deliberations of the General Assembly. Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka National Steering Committee leads presented their work done in the past two years. Tinu Sood, Head of Finance and Accounts at CANSA presented the Biannual Accounts for the years 2021 and 2022. Ruchi Chaudhary, Program Manager, presented the draft Safeguarding Policy for Children and Youth; for which a month was given to seek feedback before the policy would come into effect. Dr Abid Suleri stepped down as Chair of the Board and after Sanjay Vashist presented the nominations, and sought approval from the members present, the new Board was declared unanimously elected.
Rabeya Begum, Arjuna Seneviratne, Dr. Shafqat Munir Ahmad, Alka Tomar, Sanjay Vashist, Ramesh Babu, Gothami Chandraratne, Dilip Surkar, Aisha Khan, Farah Kabir, Julie Gurung, Md Shamsuddoha, Dr Ngamindra Dahal, Prabin Mansingh.
More about them at:
11-13 July 2023, Dhaka, Bangladesh
A three-day regional advocacy workshop on ‘Climate Induced Migration in South Asia’, that brought together media and civil society, was organised by Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), with Bangladesh regional partners Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD) and Shariatpur Development Society (SDS), as part of the second phase of a project of the same name, funded by Bread for the World, and supported by SEI in the context of displacement and migration.
Several journalists from Dhaka attended the workshop and were made aware of the problems faced by climate impacted communities and what forces them to migrate. Senior journalists Jayanta Basu and Hridayesh Joshi shared important tips and points to bring the plight of the climate migrants into public attention.
The workshop helped develop a regional and four national advocacy strategies to mainstream climate induced displacement and migration issues and engage with policy makers, media and general public to highlight the problem and the solutions in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It also aimed to understand and apply the key elements of advocacy strategy design specifically identifying the advocacy issue, goal and objectives.
July 9-10, 2023
CANSA organised a workshop on ‘Gender and Child Rights Inclusion in Climate Action’ on 9-10 July 2023 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Key findings of the study on Gender and Child Rights Inclusion in Climate Change Policies in South Asia were shared with participants, and the policies were revisited. 32 participants engaged over two days and came up with concrete action plans for integrating gender and child rights perspective in ongoing climate action work and to take forward as progressive actions over the next three years.
August 3, 2023
This was the last of the C20 events organised by Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) in collaboration with Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Health Care Without Harm, Lung Care Foundation, EnGIO and Warrior Moms, under the Civil 20 Working Group on “Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Climate, Environment and Net Zero Targets”.
In this discussion around climate change, air pollution, and health, civil society and health professionals raised awareness about health impacts, advocated for policy changes, and promoted sustainable practices to reduce the impact of environmental pollutants on human health. The meeting initiated partnerships among stakeholders to develop a holistic approach towards addressing climate change, air pollution and health, climate resilience and social justice. Dr Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation in his keynote address, said: “Protection and promotion of public health are central objectives and guiding principles in climate-related policies and interventions. Taking health as a foundational consideration reflects how the impacts of climate change on health are significant, immediate, and far-reaching, and therefore necessitate dedicated attention and resources. …
Prof. Vinod Menon, International Coordinator of C20 Sustainable and Resilient Communities working group, said: “There is an urgent need for integrating climate and health considerations into policy and planning, which is critical for achieving the goals of both the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. India’s G20 Presidency can make a significant impact on global health outcomes and to keep health at the heart of climate action, the health sector and civil society must work together to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change”.
A set of key recommendations from C20 to the G20 were announced at the event as well.
Colombo, 23 August 2023
Despite the modest participation at the “Climate-Induced Migration Reporting: Amplifying Voices, Catalyzing Change,” held at the Maitland Suite Room, Mount Lavinia Hotel, the conversations were deeply enriching and opened up new avenues for pathways, opportunities, and suggestions that hold significant potential for the near future.
Jayanta Basu, Hridayesh Joshi, were expert journalists/media professionals, and the session was facilitated by facilitator par excellence, Shailendra Yashwant, Advisor, Communications and Strategy.
“From the insightful deliberations, several key takeaways emerged to guide us on our advocacy journey for climate-induced migration. Building on Shailendra’s proposal, plans for organizing additional workshops, sensitization programs, and field visits would be explored at the earliest opportunity. Journalists would be provided with stories and concept notes that could serve as valuable resources for their writing endeavours.” – Sandini Dheerarathna, Communications manager, Janathakshan.
15-17 September 2023
The LCOY India 2023, a conference of the youth, for the youth and by the youth, took place at the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Thrissur, and witnessed participation by 130 young minds coming from a mix of rural, urban, indigenous and under-represented areas of India. The LCOY India team organised an array of workshops, technical sessions, and interactive experiences along with a field trip to communities and sectors affected by climate change, followed by an open forum where partners, youth-led initiatives, and national/regional campaigns can share their perspectives. The conference’s final phase put the spotlight on Kerala’s local-level climate governance model, leading to discussions on vital climate issues. These deliberations will culminate in the creation of the LCOY India National Youth Statement for 2023.
The conference’s strategic partners, CANSA (Outreach Partner) and The Climate Group (Ecosystem Partner), played a pivotal role in ensuring that the national statement receives the right platform for advocacy, throughout the Asian region.
1. Climate justice eludes the displaced from Karachi’s Orangi Nala – Zofeen T Ebrahim
2. Delhi’s heatwave, floods, & G20 beautification force urban poor to pay heavy price – Hrushikesh Patil & Sejal Patel
3. Nepal’s Melamchi, still recovering from 2021 flood, shows multiple risks of rapid urbanisation – Kushal Pokharel & Chhatra Karki
4. Greater Dhaka: Making liveable city in times of Climate Change is all politics and planning – Sadiqur Rahman
Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels | 15- 17 September, 2023
On the weekend of 15-17 September 2023, several thousands from across the globe, and several hundreds from South Asia came together to participate in the CAN global climate justice movement to strengthen and broaden existing movements and campaigns. People carrying placards that said: #EndFossilFuels and #FastFairForever, thronged the streets, and photos of them went viral.
The CAN global campaign was important as fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis and endangering our present and future. Yet, political leaders refuse to commit to serious actions towards a fast and fair phase out of fossil fuels alongside plans to scale up sustainable and safe renewables backed by real finance. It was important that this transition is supported by transformation of current systems that prioritises justice and equitable socio economic structures, strives for real zero over net zero, and safeguards workers’ rights and communities..
View more pictures of the campaign at:
Welcoming two new members from Bangladesh this quarter!
Wishing our new members a very warm welcome to the CANSA family!
Access the report at: https://cansouthasia.net/about-cansa/annual-reports/
G20 Leaders met in New Delhi, India on 9-10 September, right before the 78th UN General Assembly (12-30 September). It was an opportunity for the G20 to set an ambitious tone ahead of COP28 later this year, countries are still wrangling over key – and basic – commitments on climate action.
CAN South Asia (part of the wider CAN International Network) put forth a set of demands of the G20 presidency and participating countries to get the world back on track to limit global warming below 1.5°C as promised by countries under the Paris Agreement. They are available here:
Asia-wide protests kick off historic climate marches
More than 20K join protests across Asia to end fossil fuels
G20 leaders must set an ambitious climate agenda ahead of COP28: CANSA
Civil Society Organisations and Health Professionals Crucial for Combating the Air Pollution and Climate Crisis
‘Global commons’: Indo-Bangla consensus on need to highlight climate impact, loss & damage in Sundarbans globally
Down To Earth | 27 September 2023
Canada must do more in ‘make-or-break’ global climate moment, groups urge
GlobalNews | 18 September 2023
U.N. ‘stocktake’ calls for fossil fuel phaseout to minimize temperature rise
MongabayNews | 12 September 2023
South Asia Needs a Policy Framework to Respond to Climate Migration
Science The Wire | 10th August 2023
EU- INDIA Climate Cooperation Brief
The purpose of this policy brief is to assess the progress and state of implementation of the EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership since its establishment in 2015, as well as providing recommendations from an EU-Indian civil society perspective. The EU and India have committed to continuing this partnership, which is a key element in their strategic partnership roadmap to 2025.
Climate Change: A Himalayan Odyssey
The Himalayas are inherently vulnerable to heavy rains, flash floods, landslides, etc., as these are new mountains which are still growing and are seismically very active. Climate change has added another layer of vulnerability. It is acting as a force multiplier and making landslides, flash floods and cloudbursts more disastrous.
District Climate Resilience Plan Barwani
Climate change is a cross-cutting theme that needs to be addressed through analysis of risks and opportunities it poses for all sectors. Policies, plans, & programs need careful appraisal & modification to include climate change considerations. Impacts of climate change are manifested at the local level affecting the most vulnerable communities. Thus it is essential that local level institutions and plans are geared towards meeting the heightened challenges by climate change.
District Climate Resilience Plan Damoh
India is a federation with extreme diversity across districts in natural resource endowments, poverty incidence, development gains & potential for growth. The role of district administration is to apply customised development models as per local context. District level planning holds a significant position in Indian governance system due to the advantages of efficiency, access to local resources and knowledge as well as quick response potential.
Ahmedabad Students Attend Workshop on ‘Science of Climate Change’
Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), Ahmedabad conducted a hands-on workshop on ‘Science of Climate Change’ for children on 16 August 2023. Basics of climate change; starting from weather and climate to its evidence, effects, adaptation, mitigation and positive action; were covered. This was imparted through simple experiments, hands-on activities, model making and discussion. Linkages were made with school science curriculum. 90+ children and 6 teachers from various schools participated.
In his feedback, Chirag Patel, Coordinator, Nest Public School said, “This workshop was a special opportunity for our students to learn about climate change in an engaging manner, as such activities are not conducted in our school.”Dilip Surkar, Director, VASCSC remarked, “Our Centre has been conducting interactive sessions on science of climate change as part of its regular activities. This workshop uniquely blended STEM and sustainability education with climate action.”
Events of ActionAid Bangladesh
“Fund Our Future” National Campaign for Climate Justice
ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) launched the national-wide “Fund Our Future” campaign on 5th September 2023 was aligned to publishing the international report “How the Finance Flows: The banks fuelling the climate crisis”, with the aims to expose financial supporters of fossil fuels & agribusiness, significant contributors to the 1.1°C global temperature increase since the pre-industrial era. The campaign spotlighted major banks and financial institutions, which invested a staggering $5.5 trillion in fossil fuels over seven years as well as Global South has received 20 times more financing in fossil fuel industries than climate solutions. Ms. Farah Kabir, Country Director, AAB was moderator of the panel discussion; the speakers highlighted these issues, underscoring the role of banks, renewable energy, and government actions in addressing these challenges. The campaign seeks a more climate-resilient and just future.
Asia-Pacific Conference on the Right to Food and Agri-Food System 2023
The “Asia-Pacific Conference on the Right to Food and Agri Food System 2023”, held at Dhaka University on 26-27 July, 2023. The conference was organized by Right to Food Bangladesh in partnership with their national and international networks, including ActionAid Bangladesh.
In a technical session of ActionAid Bangladesh, the speakers focused on family farming, establishment of corporate farming, kitchen garden and the importance of the governance of transforming agrifood system. It has also shed light on the effect of climate change in agriculture. The conference has ended with declaring a set of demands for ensuring Right to Food.
National Drought Convention 2023
The Rajshahi region, which is prone to drought, may benefit greatly from the coordinated efforts of all relevant public, private, and scientific institutions. Every industry has been negatively impacted by climate change at alarming rates, and poses a serious risk to food production and public health. On 22 July 2023, at Rajshahi University (RU), at the opening session of the day-long National Drought Convention 2023, policy planners, academics, researchers, and development activists made the observation on ‘Integrated efforts imperative to mitigate climate change impacts’. Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh, was the guest of honor. She highlighted how the impact of drought created greater vulnerability to the water crisis, food insecurity, loss of jobs, drastic changes in livelihood, as well as displacement within the country.
Global Climate Strike: Demand from Ground, Bangladesh
15-17 September 2023 – Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) spearheaded a series of impactful events during Global Climate Action Day, shedding light on the dire consequences faced by countries like Bangladesh due to fossil fuel usage. Climate strike demonstrations happened at 13 climate-vulnerable districts of Bangladesh for just transition of fossil fuel and climate justice.
In support of the global climate strike, MJF in association with its partners raised their demand to end fossil fuel usage by the emitters significantly contributing to global warming. Also demanded to support countries who are innocent victims for just transition of fossil fuel. The campaign highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and girls, stressing the need for immediate and targeted actions. They called for easier access to climate funds to fulfill the demands of vulnerable communities. Moreover, a gender sensitive energy policy and access of women to renewables was a significant plea they made towards the government.
News from ICCCAD
ICCCAD Youth Fellowship (2023)
The “ICCCAD Youth Fellowship” is a capacity-building program of ICCCAD aimed at enhancing the resilience and adaptive capacity of youth at both the local community and national levels. It was part of a project “Capacity Strengthening of multiactors to limit climate change impacts and enhance resilience (CAP-RES).” It focused on the idea of involving youth to step forward from their positions and participate in the knowledge and awareness-building process, where young men and women can learn, understand, and share aspects of environmental and social problems related to Climate Change through education and capacity building.
This year, 20 youth fellows from across the country have been awarded the Youth Fellowship opportunity through a competitive selection process. As part of their capacity-building process, a residential workshop took place where the fellows learned about the basics of climate change, Loss and Damage, Locally-Led Adaptation, and gained motivation from youth leaders leading from the front. Additionally, a field trip was conducted in Mongla, Bagerhat, and Khulna, where the youth fellows gained a deeper understanding of climate change and its specific impacts in Bangladesh.
They learned how youth can actively identify climate related challenges and solutions within local communities, fostering a sense of agency for climate action. Moreover, the fellows learned about standard procedures and methodologies for conducting field studies and were exposed to local communities’ best practices in climate change adaptation and mitigation. The program also offers networking and funding opportunities to sustain the learning outcomes of youth fellows. A policy dialogue is scheduled to take place in the coming month.