Sustainable School Initiative at Abu Dhabi

CEE is a key collaborating partner in the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI) launched by the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (EAD) in September 2009.

This initiative called Al Madaris Al Mustadama addresses the whole school, including students, their parents, teachers and administrative officials. To guide this initiative, EAD has entered partnership with organizations that have long experience in EE. CEE is a key partner in this initiative.

Children's Media Unit of CEE has been working closely with EAD over the past one year to develop a Teacher's Manual on setting up and running Eco-Clubs in schools, and also capacity building teachers in this area, as part of the SSI.

Through the pilot programme of the SSI, 26 schools in Abu Dhabi have been carrying out green audits, running eco clubs, and carrying out field trips. They have also been evaluated in these activities.

Dr. Eduardo Goncalves, Director, and Ms Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Manager, Environment Awareness Sector of EAD share a token of appreciation with Ms Mamata Pandya of CEE.

A grand finale of the first year of the SSI saw awards being given to schools for outstanding efforts in making their schools more sustainable.

As a key partner of the initiative, CEE was invited to join the event. This was followed by a review meeting with teachers who were part of the pilot initiative, to get feedback on the material and programme, and plan for the next year.

As the SSI moves into its second year, collaboration between CEE and EAD is continuing with the development of three EE Resource Handbooks for teachers (Primary, Intermediate, Secondary) and an e-learning course for teachers. The objective is to match CEE's prior experience and resources, with the contextual EE and ESD needs of teachers in Abu Dhabi , in keeping with Abu Dhabi 's five-year Environment Strategy.

Many Species. One Planet. One Future:
Summer Programme at Ahmedabad

CEE's Information and Facilitation Centre as part of the summer vacation programme have scheduled month-long activities for children. The five–week programme is designed around the theme ‘Many Species One Planet One Future.' through discussions among different CEE teams to enhance participants' understanding about urban biodiversity. The two batches are for age-groups 6 - 9 yrs and 10 - 13 yrs. The activities conducted are theme based and include field trips, film screening and nature trails.  The programme would culminate with emphasis on our role as citizens for biodiversity conservation.

Activities for first two weeks included nature trails, pebble painting, slide shows, story writing and performances, sketching birds and animals.

These activities acquainted the participants with urban biodiversity, plant and animal classification based on morphology, green specks in Ahmedabad, survival strategies and evolution of life on the Earth. The participants are now enjoying activities under the themes ‘Disappearing Species' and ‘Become A Green Ambassador'.

'Rock Shelters' Heritage Park

A visit to the Mesolithic era rock shelter and paintings of Adamgrah locally known as ‘Pahadia' in Hoshangabad district was organized by CEE Madhya Pradesh. The site is famous for its rare charcolithic pottery and animal impressions.

The purpose of the visit was to plan and discuss development of the site to attract more visitors and to provide better facilities and environment around this site.

The visitng team included Commissioner, Narmadapuram Division, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Hoshangabad and Superintending Archaeologist. A CEE team had visited the site in April 2010 and submitted its report to ASI.

Climate-Responsible Development

CEE in partnership with Prayas, Parisar and Maratha Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MCCIA), organized a panel discussion on this theme on 15 May at Pune. The discussion was attended by students, academicians, representatives of NGOs, and business groups.

The panel, chaired by Dr Madhav Gadgil had Mr. Praful Bidwai as the lead speaker and Mr. Girish Sant (Prayas) and Mr. Anant Sardeshmukh (MCCIA) as discussants.

Based on the core thesis that climate-responsible development is both necessary and possible, Mr. Bidwai presented the case for going beyond market-based approaches to more robust and equitable approaches.Girish Sant informed about the Expert Group on Low-Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth recently set up the Planning Commission and presented the need for strategic investment and encouragement to Energy Efficiency.

Mr. Praful Bidwai, author of the book: ‘An India That Can Say Yes: A Climate-Responsible Development Agenda for Copenhagen and Beyond' addressed the gathering.

Anant Sardheshmukh spoke about the need for state and local level climate action plans. Smt Vandana Chavan, Member of the Legislative Council made a brief comment on the importance being given to Climate Change issues by Maharashtra Government, and the need for updating state-level policy-makers on the same. In his concluding remarks, Dr Gadgil highlighted that the changes in values, especially the leaning towards wasteful consumption, is a challenge that educational efforts need to address.

Experiences from Kashmir

Internships are of one of the key capacity building opportunities provided to the youth by CEE to get knowledge and hands-on experience in sustainable development. Ms. Roshni Pramanik and Ms Riddhi Shah, who successfully completed a two-month internship with CEE Himalaya at Kashmir share some of their experiences.

Our institute, Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management, Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai every year sends its Masters Degree students to CEE offices for internship for about 2 months. Two of us got a chance to intern with CEE Himalaya in Kashmir this year.

Riddhi's focus area was sustainable livelihood options centred on the non-farm based technologies demonstration – cum - training centres set up by CEE Himalaya in remote border villages that were hit by earthquake in 2005.

Roshni focused on Village Contingency Plan (VCP). She conducted five VCP's of villages Shoukbaba, Kanusa, T.A. Shah, Gundiqaiser and Brar under the guidance of CEE Team.

CEE gave us an opportunity to interact with the community which is an important exercise for any student of disaster management. .

What is inspiring for us is the fact that CEE continues to work in Kashmir even though it faces innumerable obstacles such as political instability, a rough terrain and difficult weather conditions. The culture and the firm belief of CEE in the concept of “no hierarchy” was a refreshing change for us, providing us with a pleasant atmosphere to work in and to which we looked forward each day. CEE Himalaya welcomed our feedback and attempted to make the maximum use of our knowledge through repeated petitions for feedback.

After the internship, we had to prepare a report and make presentation before a jury. We are proud to say that both of us got “Best Internship Award” from our Institute.

We value CEE's work in Kashmir and thank all the staff of their offices in Baramulla and Tangdar. I have opted for another two – and – a - half months internship with them during June-August, to which CEE Himalaya has kindly agreed.

Upcoming Event: Celebrating 10 years of the Earth Charter

Commemorating 10 years of the formal declaration of the Earth Charter, CEE is organizing a three-day international conference titled “Ethical Framework for a Sustainable World” – Earth Charter (EC) + 10 at Ahmedabad from 1 - 3 November 2010.

The conference will include workshops on education, capacity building, biodiversity, religion, law, GIS , climate change, economic and social issues especially poverty, peace, technology, art and culture, business and ethics, as well as tracing the status of the World Report and EC.

For more information about the Conference, visit

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