Roundtable Meeting on Initiation of a blueprint for measuring Gross Environment Product


A roundtable meeting was held on 5th March 2020, at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), under its NMCG project “Planning and Management for Aquatic Species Conservation and Maintenance of Ecosystem Services in the Ganga River Basin for a clean Ganga”. The roundtable meeting focused on the discussion and development of measures and scores for Gross Environment Product (GEP) for the state of Uttarakhand. The meeting was chaired by Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India. Dr. Dhananjai Mohan, Director, WII welcomed the dignitaries and spoke on relevance of the meeting at WII. Padma Bhushan Dr. Anil P. Joshi introduced the concept of GEP and requested the invited dignitaries to share their experiences on technicalities of defining indicators for calculating GEP of four sectors, viz. Forests, Water, Air and Soil. Dr. Ruchi Badola Scientist-G, WII and coordinator for the meeting, provided an overview of the roundtable meeting and highlighted its objectives. Dr. Badola also pointed out the importance of empowering local communities, so that they become providers rather than beneficiaries of the ecosystem services. Dr. Shilija Vaidya Gupta, Senior Adviser/Scientist ‘H’, Office of Principle Scientific Adviser, GOI expressed that the state of Uttarakhand is the birthplace of the Ganga River and is home to many of our country's pristine landscapes. Dr. Shilija expressed that there is no other place better suited to lead the country, other than Uttarakhand in a revival of our environment, through inclusion of the four sectors as a measure of GEP. The GEP will reflect not just the economic benefits but also the ecological cost of every sector. She further added that data and indicators are needed at finer scale. GEP will be an indicator of sustainable solution. Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan summarized the discussion by pointing out the urgent need for real time data at ground level, which would help in long-term decision-making. The sectors will have to be continuously monitored for obtaining the data for indicators. The outcome as GEP will be utilized for red flagging the impacts and framing policy actions to address the tipping points.

In the second half of the meeting roles and responsibilities for creating the indicators for four sectors were discussed. It was agreed to bring data on one platform and integrate it for its better accessibility. Ecological growth measure and their progress on real time data should be recorded and shared. A committee was proposed to be created for the state of Uttarakhand, which will be chaired by Sh. Anand Vardhan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand. The head of state Institutions will be part of this committee, with Department of Planning being in the lead for GEP calculations. 

The roundtable meeting was concluded with vote of thanks by Dr. Ruchi Badola and registration of dignitaries as Ganga Prahari Mentors.