Odisha News Insight

Key Recommendations of Odisha Environment Congress-2015

Odisha Environmental CongressThe Rationale and Legitimacy: A goal to make Odisha Global Sustainable Development pioneer.

Odisha Environment Congress deliberated upon country and global evidences, researches, community practices and the gains achieved by the state over the decades on environment, health and nutrition. The Congress acknowledged the strong policy and political will and people’s participation in various programs.

However, the Congress also noted the serious gaps in the areas of nutrition, climate change mitigation and adaptation, clean energy, vector borne diseases, hunger and food security. The participants could foresee slow onset of a disaster and called for an emergent intervention to address the landscape and vulnerability with a missionary zeal and in a people’s movement mode.

The participants realised that the state of Odisha can be a laggard if it does not align with some of the in- country and global developments on environment, health and nutrition. The recently concluded 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 in Paris, UN approved Sustainable Development Goals, 2012 Zero Hunger Challenge to see a world without hunger, World Health Assembly Goals, Global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, Skill India Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Make in India agenda should inform and inspire state’s food, nutrition, environment and health security vision.

Building on the strengths of the state, tapping the opportunities available and keeping in view the power of the people; the Congress recommends the following policies, programmatic and structural changes to make the state a global Sustainable development pioneer and the most progressive state in the Indian sub-continent.

The Congress realises that good nutrition, health and environment have the power to transform the landscape.


A. Vision and Target: The state of Odisha to achieve a developed state status and emerge as a global development pioneer through achieving sustainable food and nutrition security with constant double digit growth rate by 2025

Specific Targets:

· Reduce Stunting among children less than 5 years of age by 50% in 10 years (the current rate of stunting at 38.2% to less than 20%.)

· Zero Hunger, Zero Open Defecation,

· 90%+ Breast Feeding

· Anaemia among women and children not more than 10% (current rate in case of women 62% and in case of children 65%)

· Limit the green house gas emissions in line with national and global commitments.

B. People based Movement to address environmental concerns, nutrition, food and health security for all:

· Odisha Environment Congress recommends comprehensive and sustained bottom up campaigns and movements to ensure that every person, specially women and girls enjoy

their Right to Adequate Food, nutrition, health and sustainable environment. The Congress recommends developing agriculture, food and nutrition system which is sustainable, resilient and local specific.

· Change Agents to Change Leaders: Each hamlet should have a Change Leader preferably a woman or girl selected by Pallisabhas who can become the backbone of this movement. The state, PRIs and civil society organisations should promote and build a cadre of 200,000-250,000 Change Leaders who can become brand ambassadors, champions and role models.

· Addressing exclusion: Disaster and exclusion compound the poverty, misery \and marginalisation. The policies, programs, strategies and structures relating to nutrition, health and environment need to address social, geographic, economic and policy level exclusions.

· Lok Yojna, Social Audit, Participatory Block, District and State level Planning must be encouraged and adopted for all the programs relating to food, nutrition and environment security.

· The state needs to protect its rich flora, fauna and bio-diversity, physical and natural capital for sustainable Development. Odisha Environment Congress recommends promotion of local knowledge, culture and context to find sustainable solutions to food, health and nutrition security through participatory and people owned systems and structures.

C. Structural and Institutional Changes

· The focus of the interventions and programs has to be on addressing underlying structural causes instead of symptoms and manifestations. The participants urged the policy makers and political leaders to develop convergence, synergy and coordination between nutrition, food security, environment and health for scalable and sustainable impact.

· A strong political will and strategic use of human resources: It was unanimously recommended to have a strong political will to make Odisha a Global Sustainable Development Pioneer. It is recommended to set up a legally binding mission mode approach Chaired by Hon’ble Chief Minister and State Food and Nutrition Security Advisor who can report to Chief Minister to steer the agenda. It has to be supported by a State Resource Centre, Partnership Council (involving influential voices and champions) and thematic multi-ministerial mission (Universal Salt Iodisation Mission, bio-diversity mission etc.) to address the special needs.

· Setting up of The State Coalition for Food, nutrition and environment security as a Multi-stakeholder and Multi-sectoral platform to provide vision and strategic leadership: It can be a Coalition of program and policy leaders, social activists and Change Leaders to be duly recognised by the state as a strategic partner of choice. It can generate people’s demand, engage in evidence based advocacy and ensure public accountability and transparency for better program quality and delivery.

· A Department of Nutrition and Food Security: The participants observed that the nutrition and food security agenda is crowded in crowd and it has been everyone’s business and no one’s business. Odisha can be a global nutrition and food security pioneer to set up such Department to prevent slow onset of a disaster.

· Setting up of an Institution of National Importance: Today, Odisha and India largely depend upon foreign universities, academic institutions and think tanks to find solutions to nutrition, health and environment related issues. Odisha Environment Congress urges the state to negotiate with foundations, reputed Trusts, social responsible business houses and UN bodies to set up world class Institution of Excellence in Nutrition, Climate Change and Clean Energy in Odisha.

D. Budget and Investment

· The return to investments in nutrition, health and environment has a high benefit cost benefit ratio. The countries who invested in nutrition, health and environment decades back are reaping its benefits. Nutrition, health and environment should be the top investment agenda. The Congress urges the state to invest 5% (?) of the GDP in Nutrition Focussed and Nutrition Sensitive Interventions.

E. Supportive Policies and Legislations

Odisha Environment Congress recommends review of the existing policies and legislations that can create enabling environment for achieving sustainable food, nutrition, and health and environment security for all.

We strongly urge the state to formulate a people friendly and an updated – STATE NUTRITION AND CLIMATE SECURITY ACT. The state needs to urgently formulate THE SAFE FOOD ACT with strong regulatory and enforcement mechanisms. Simultaneously, in line with new evidences, researches and global knowledge, the state should amend the current legislations in line with global standards.

F. Nutrition and Climate sensitive Agriculture and food security system

· Odisha Environment Congress recognises sustainable food and nutrition security system. It recommends nutrition and climate sensitive agriculture and food security system including enriching nutrition across food value chain. The Congress urges access and control over healthy and safe food to address double burden on malnutrition.

G. Knowledge Assimilation and Transfer across clientele

· The state with its rich diversity will produce gold mines of data, evidences, best practices and learnings for mainstreaming, scale up and replication. The global evidences, new researches and technologies are necessary to augment the nutrition, food security and climate outcomes. Odisha Environment Congress recommends a systematic and structured mechanisms, structures thematic and functional groups for a successful replication and nutrition movement.

H. Technology, Science and Socially Responsible Business for a sustainable public interest vision

· The role of science, technology, IT enabled system and business sector as potential change leaders was recognised. Odisha with its rich natural resources and vast coastal zone is likely to attract numerous business interests. Odisha Environment Congress recommends engagement with socially responsible businesses to take advantage of their capacities and professionalism. At the same time, Odisha Environment Congress strongly urges strong Social Watch Bodies, ethical and accountable standards so that businesses, government, people and civil society work together a sustainable public interest vision.

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