Meghalaya, located in the North-eastern region of India, is highly susceptible to the consequences of climate change due to its unique geography, ecology, and socio-economic conditions. The mean annual temperature has increased by 0.5 to 1.0 degrees Celsius in recent decades, leading to crop failures, reduced productivity, and loss of biodiversity. Rapid industrialisation and unregulated development driven by deforestation have made Meghalaya vulnerable to climate change, posing a significant threat to the region. Meghalaya's agriculture sector, largely dependent on rain, is also experiencing the impact of changing weather patterns. In addition, precarious socio-economic circumstances such as insufficient per capita income, inadequate crop insurance, and low involvement in rural employment programmes makes the state more susceptible to the ongoing climate crisis.
The North-Eastern region of India, particularly the state of Meghalaya, possesses a unique socio-economic and ecological structure that is heavily reliant on nature-based solutions. Given its considerable carbon and biodiversity profile, the state has the potential to serve as a laboratory for ecologically-sound recoveries, representing a new frontier for adaptation strategies. Furthermore, Meghalaya is one of the states in India with the lowest carbon emissions and, notably, is among the largest carbon sinks. The state’s verdant rainforests and biodiversity offer an array of ecosystem services that are of great value and protecting them is crucial in addressing the climate crisis. By leading the way in modelling green recoveries, Meghalaya and other North-eastern states can set the standard for the rest of the world.
Meghalaya has demonstrated its proactive commitment towards climate resilience through a range of adaptive measures and interventions. Meghalaya has adopted the concept of "Nature Banks" to mobilise funds for conservation and incorporate environmental risks into capital markets. This is a pivotal moment to devise inventive and visionary frameworks to address the pressing ecological and environmental issues in Meghalaya, and to establish crucial pioneering advancements and institutional mechanisms to actualise the shift towards a sustainable economy centred on conservation, regeneration, and nature positivity.
In this context, this sub-national dialogue will bring together domestic and international stakeholders to deliberate on and devise solutions to key themes, issues, and policy questions to further a Nature-Positive Transition. The forum will identify pathways and new self-sustaining networks for further collaborative actions to ensure a nature-positive economic development for the region and beyond.
The key questions and themes that will drive the discussions include:
July 5, 2023
19:30 – 21:30
Cultural Evening & Welcome Dinner
July 6, 2023
|10:00 – 11:00
Welcome Remarks and HostLaetitia Bruce Warjri, Head of Communications and Outreach, Observer Research Foundation, India
Setting of AgendaSamir Saran, Chair, T20 Secretariat; Member, T20 India Core Group, and President, Observer Research Foundation, India
Keynote AddressEenam Gambhir, Joint Secretary (G20), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
Keynote addressD P Wahlang, Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, India
Inaugural AddressConrad Sangma, Chief Minister, Government of Meghalaya, India
Vote of ThanksAparna Roy, Fellow; Lead, Climate Change and Energy, Centre for New Economic Diplomacy, Observer Research Foundation, India
|11:00 – 11:05
Documentary on “Grassroot level Response towards Ecosystem Enhancement and Nurturing (GREEN) Meghalaya – Payment for Ecosystem Services”
|11:05 - 11:20
Keynote AddressFederico Salas Lotfe, Ambassador of Mexico to India
Scaling Nature-Based Solutions for Synergising Biodiversity and Climate ActionNature-based solutions (NbS) are gaining recognition as a crucial approach to mitigating the effects of climate change, safeguarding ecosystems, and preserving biodiversity. However, these solutions are often not prioritised in the global policy discourse as compared to more technology focussed solutions. With a predominantly nature-dependent tribal society and unique biodiversity and carbon profile, states in North-Eastern regions of India such as Meghalaya can become the ideal testing ground for nature-based solutions for improving carbon sinks as well as adapting to climate hazards. What are the conditions under which NbS can be effective in improving biodiversity while also leading to effective climate action? Which sectors in both rural and urban areas hold the most potential for deployment of NbS? How can State governments create capacity for piloting and scaling up nature-based solutions? How can private financial institutions and philanthropies be brought on board to direct increased financial resources to NbS?
Panellists:Judith Mwaniki, Livelihoods and Food Security Specialist, Consortium for Economic Research and Development Studies, Kenya Olga Chepelianskaia, Founding Director & Principal Consultant, UNICITI, France Swarnim Wagle, Member of Parliament, Nepal Sampath Kumar, Development Commissioner, Government of Meghalaya, India Rajesh S., Chief Conservator of Forests, Department of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, India
Moderator:Anusha Kesarkar Gavankar, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, India
Adaptation and Food Security - Climate Smart AgricultureFood security has taken a centre stage for the global community amidst the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the unprecedented impacts of climate change happening around the world. It is imperative that food systems evolve sustainably as the need to meet increasing global demand for food production becomes more pressing. The northeast region of India is known for its diverse agroecosystems and provides a range of opportunities for the development of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, such as agroforestry, intercropping, and the use of local and traditional crops. However, there are certain financial, infrastructural and policy constraints that are hindering the effective uptake of CSA. As G20 president, India can underscore the importance of adapting food systems to climate change. How can we encourage the production and adoption of local resilient crops and reduce reliance on imported food? How can the states enhance the resilience of small farmers? What are the financial and technological solutions for achieving a just transition to climate resilient food systems? How to employ de-risking techniques and promote weather-based crop insurance schemes to reduce agricultural losses?
Scene Setter:Hector Marwein, Chairman, Meghalaya Sustainable Development Council, India
Panellists:Mir Mushtaque Ahmed Robi, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh Stefania Petruzzelli, Researcher & Writer, Future Food Institute, Italy Akanksha Khatri, Head, Nature and Biodiversity, World Economic Forum K N Kumar, Chairman, Meghalaya Farmers Empowerment Commission, India Jaivir Singh, Vice Chairman, PwC India Foundation, India
Moderator:Arkalgud Ramaprasad, Professor, Emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
14:30 - 15:30
Purpose Beyond Profit: Reimagining Global Value Chains for Inclusive Green GrowthOver the last few months, Heads of States and global business leaders have underlined the urgency with which global businesses need to consider combating climate change and sustainability across Global Value Chains (GVCs). Many advanced members of the G20 (Australia, EU, Germany, UK, USA, etc.) have either developed or are in the process of developing stringent regulations on sustainable supply/value chains. This will make it imperative for suppliers and manufacturers to meet certain social, environmental, and economic requirements. However, the lack of processes to engage with actors at the bottom of supply/value chains - especially networks of production and sourcing can compromise the effectiveness of these regulations. How can sustainable GVCs be designed to prioritise the interests and needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised stakeholders? What are the enablers for facilitating balanced dialogues in global value chains through international policy, processes, platforms etc.? What are the opportunities for GVC actors to collaborate on specific SDG indicators? How can we develop consensus on processes and systems to achieve certain agreed SDG indicators and how can these systems take cognisance of local realities and practices? Curated by the Centre for Responsible Business
Panellists:R P Gurung, CEO, Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim, India Sukanya Narain, Programme Lead, SEWA, India Sabyasachi Dutta, Executive Director, Asian Confluence, India Neha Kumar, Head, South Asia Programme, Climate Bonds Initiative, India Tim Bosch, Project Manager, German Council on Foreign Relations, Germany
Moderator:Devyani Hari, Director, Centre for Responsible Business, India
|15.45 - 16.25
The Planet’s New Army - Mobilising the Youth for ClimateClimate change and other environmental issues will have significant impacts on future generations, and it is important to engage young people in addressing these challenges. Climate Corps can provide opportunities for individuals to gain hands-on experience in areas related to climate change, such as conservation and sustainability. Establishment of these corps at sub-national level can play an important role in addressing environmental and climate concerns by implementing local policies and programs and engaging local communities. Meghalaya has already taken several initiatives in this domain. The state has trained 14,000 young men in forest management, creating a unique environment cadre and frontline workers trained in conservation and forest preservation. How can youth be effectively engaged and empowered to take a decisive role in climate action and sustainability efforts?
Scene Setter:Pradyot Manikya, Chairman, Advisory Reforms Committee, Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, India
Panellists:Raymond Matlala, Founder, South African BRICS Youth Association (SABYA), South Africa Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam, Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka Mahjabeen Khaled, Former Member of Parliament & Chairman, Khaled Musharrof Trust, Bangladesh Avner Pariat, Writer and Social Worker, India Yogesh Gauchan Thakali, Member of Parliament, Nepal
Moderator:Aparna Roy, Fellow; Lead, Climate Change and Energy, Centre for New Economic Diplomacy, Observer Research Foundation, India
Keynote Address: Women-led Development and Inclusive Green GrowthShombi Sharp, United Nations Resident Coordinator in India
|Documentary on “Seedball Initiative in Meghalaya”
|Cultural Programme and Live music
|July 7, 2023
Embracing a Brave New World: Meghalaya's Journey towards Reimagining Nature Economics and Environment-Led GrowthMeghalaya pioneers a bold adaptation strategy for forest economies and ecologically fragile regions. The ‘Environment State framework’, currently being prototyped through flagship projects, reimagines a nature-led economy and prioritizes sustainability and nature preservation as drivers for growth. Nature as a critical development asset shapes growth doctrines in the ecologically fragile state, driving innovative strategies for return on investment. These include carbon farming, PES schemes, carbon profiling, and Biodiversity Heatmap for preservation. Additionally, conservation-based livelihoods including eco-tourism premium, algal farming, and conservation basic income, are leveraged to support local communities. Furthermore, recasting natural and carbon inventory with premium value chains adds further value to infrastructure, industries, lifestyles, and overall growth, reimagining sustainable development paradigms. Several such innovations have been proposed and are being prototyped to operationalise and test this model that includes elements like banking with nature (financial instruments for preservation of forest) ,nature based legislation, nature and conservation based livelihoods and initiatives with a special focus on public sensitisation in changing the mindset and lifestyle of people (climate change museum). Meghalaya's innovative approach can serve as a global case study for green regions, offering radical new ways to foster economic development while preserving biodiversity. This Panel will focus on innovative frameworks, transformative reimagination, schemes and pioneering projects that are prototyping this model for the world and creating a new global case study of a 'climate action zone' (like special economic zones) for the Indo Himalayan region.
Scene Setter:Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh, Cabinet Minister, Government of Meghalaya, India
Panellists:Tanvir Shakil Joy, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh Hisham Mundol, Chief Advisor, Environmental Defense Fund, India Iram Mirza, Former Strategy and Innovation Advisor, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of Meghalaya & Founder, The Firstborn Collective, India Rikesh Gurung, Founder & Managing Director, The Green Road, Bhutan Dulanga Witharanage, Climate Change Coordinator, Market Development Facility, Sri Lanka
Moderator:Mannat Jaspal, Associate Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, India
Unlocking the Value of Nature: Mobilising Finance for Biodiversity ConservationNatural ecosystems are deteriorating at an unprecedented rate, with far-reaching implications for economic and social well-being. Protecting biodiversity will require channeling greater financial flows towards effective conservation measures which can protect and enhance the provision of critical ecosystem services. National and sub-national policies are key for effective mobilisation of financial resources. Meghalaya has recently followed the concept of ‘Nature Banks’ to mobilise conservation finance and enable integration of environmental risks into capital markets. International and domestic carbon sequestration projects are also actively being pursued to test the ground for funding conservation through carbon payment schemes. However, integration of biodiversity conservation into corporate decision making is still at a nascent stage. What are the key policy and regulatory measures needed to integrate the value of biodiversity into economic and financial decision making? What role can carbon markets play in raising finance for the conversation of natural resources in resource dependent economies? What changes are required in the international financial architecture to effectively incorporate the economic value of biodiversity into financial decision making? Scene Setter: Presentation by Akanksha Khatri, Head, Nature and Biodiversity, World Economic Forum
Panellists:Shailly Kedia, Senior Fellow & Associate Director, TERI, India Lukhanyo Neer, COO, Thabo Mbeki Foundation, South Africa Kwame Owino, CEO, Institute of Economic Affairs, Kenya N. Luikham, Conservator of Forest (Development & Biodiversity) & Member Secretary, Meghalaya Biodiversity Board, India
Moderator:Nilanjan Ghosh, Director, Centre for New Economic Diplomacy & ORF Kolkata, Observer Research Foundation, India
|Documentary on “The Hill Myna”
Decentralised Green Deals: Enabling Subnational Actions for Green DevelopmentEffective climate action must be cognizant of the sub-national differences in resource endowments and historical development patterns. Increasingly, there is a need to enable green para-diplomacy where larger commitments by countries are enabled by identifying clear mechanisms for directing finance to sub-national entities which can then pursue specific actions in line with their own local realities. In North-East India, green para-diplomacy could take various forms, such as joint projects with neighbouring states to promote sustainable agriculture and forestry practices, cross-border collaborations to manage transboundary environmental challenges, and coordinated efforts to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. How can sub-national governments be given a greater voice in the global policy discourse around SDGs and climate action? What are the primary challenges faced by sub-national governments in implementing impactful climate measures? What changes are needed in the domestic and global financial architecture to enable greater flows of climate finance to sub-national entities? How can sub-national governments work together to address global climate concerns and what are some successful models for cross-border cooperation in climate governance?
Panellists:Camila dos Santos, Advisor for International Relations and Cooperation, Rio de Janeiro City Hall, Brazil Pyush Dogra, Senior Environmental Specialist from World Bank Rebecca Mathai, Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General, India Ismail Rafeeq, Mayor, Fuvahmulah City Council, Maldives Subhash Ashutosh, Director, CoE for NRM and Sustainable Livelihoods, India Phrang Roy, Coordinator TIP, Rome, Member of the Task Force of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, Founding Advisor of the 7 Countries Coalition on Indigenous Peoples Food Systems, India
Moderator:Anusha Kesarkar Gavankar, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, India
Closing Address:Laetitia Bruce Warjri, Head of Communications and Outreach, Observer Research Foundation, India
Vote of Thanks:Dokatchi K Marak, Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA), India