Dhaka (Bangladesh): Balipara Foundation hosted its 10th annual Balipara Foundation Awards at the 10th Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum 2022 in Dhaka from 11th – 13th December 2022, in its first-ever international conclave at Independent University Bangladesh. Building on the theme of Ecology is Economy, the event was launched with a curtain-raiser panel Transforming the Narrative of Climate Change: The ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan Decade 2030’and Delta Plan 2100, celebrating Bangladesh’s role as a global climate leader –with insights from H.E. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Bangladesh and H.E. Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary of India.

The 10th edition of the Forum kicked off with the Leadership Address ‘Understanding the Economics of Biodiversity’, with speakers Sir Partha Sarathi Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge, UK,S. Ramadorai, Former CEO & MD, Tata Consultancy Services, India, Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics, UK, H.E. Shyam Saran, Former Foreign Secretary of India and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy For Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change, India, and moderated by Afsara Binte Mirza, Research Officer, International Center for Climate Change & Development.

Speaking at the sessions, Sir Partha Sarathi Dasgupta said “We need to re-think our bias that ‘Nature has played no part’. The way we need to change economic policies need to be analysed in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the hopes that inspired them.”, highlighting the urgent need for global action that the Forum hopes to initiate.

With strong deliberations and recommendations, the 10th EHNF 2022 is happy to announce:

  1. The Eastern Himalayan Fund: A pan-regional Eastern Himalayan Fund for People & Nature, to restore ecosystems and create restoration-linked jobs for rural communities. The ambitious $1 billion fund will be built collectively with partners across Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh and will be launched at the G20 in September.
  2. The Rural Futures Fellowship programme: An 18 month practical training programme during which enthusiastic young environmentalists gain practical experience in the fundamental technical and core skills necessary to successfully rewild their lands, mobilise their communities, and develop vital local capacities for managing restoration and conservation.

“Most of the world stops at adaptation and resilience,” said H.E. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, “In Bangladesh, we took it one step further to prosperity.”

The curtain raiser was followed by a special lecture by Sir Partha Dasgupta, recipient of the The Global NaturenomicsTM Puroskar, an award for an individual with outstanding global achievements in pioneering the cause of valuing nature. Sir Partha Dasgupta was born in Bangladesh and is the author of the landmark Economics of Biodiversity report for the UK Treasury released last year.

Highlights of this year’s awardees include –

The Late Latifur Rahman NaturenomicsTM Award (new category) presented to Dr. M. Monirul H. Khan, Bangladesh. Dr. M. Monirul H. Khan is a wildlife biologist specialising in research on various aspects of wildlife and biodiversity habitats, particularly those in Bangladesh.

The Lifetime Service Award to Dr. Kamaljit Singh Bawa. Dr. Kamaljit Singh Bawa is an internationally renowned evolutionary ecologist, conservation Biologist, and the Founder-President & Chair of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE).

The Green Legal Award to Ms. Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh. Syeda Rizwana Hasan, a charismatic and vehement lawyer, is the chief executive of the  Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).

This year, the Rewilding the Eastern Himalayas Grant, an INR 5L grant to restore forests or agricultural lands was awarded to Anoko Mega from Arunachal Pradesh and Zeinorin Angkang from Manipur. The grant will support Anoko in his work in restoring habitats for hoolock gibbons with the Idu Mishmi community and enable Zeinorin to expand her work with Hill Wild to introduce agroforestry entrepreneurship with indigenous farmers in Ukhrul, Manipur.

Over the next few days, The Forum witnessed luminaries like Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus, Former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Dr. AK Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, Amb. Mashfee Binte Shams, Secretary (East), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; leading directors of international companies in Bangladesh and India like Unilever, Standard Chartered, Schneider Electric, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, World Bank and more share their insights on the theme of Ecology is Economy.

Launched in 2013, the Balipara Foundation Awards celebrates grassroots conservationists of the Eastern Himalayas, as part of the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum, a multidisciplinary platform that drives change through grassroots action and policy through dialogue between stakeholders. The forum and awards are initiatives of the Balipara Foundation, a nonprofit that takes a community-based approach to conservation and currently manages over 7500 hectares of forest, benefiting over 16,000 people across North East India.

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