The British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata recently facilitated a Chevening Alumni community engagement on climate justice in the climate hotspot of the Sundarbans with villagers, students, local self-government representatives, forest officials and Joint Forest Management Committee members. The discussion centered on efforts towards mitigating the impact of climate change, preserving forest resources and building community resilience.
The interactions focused on human-animal conflict in the interior regions, the initiatives for protecting the dynamic mangroves ecosystem, the presently robust Royal Bengal Tiger population, strengthening disaster management protocols, access to safe drinking water and healthcare – particularly tackling Thalassemia and ecotourism opportunities in the islands to transform it into an international tourist hub.
A senior village leader said that the growing number of cyclones has caused massive devastation to the embankments, which need regular maintenance and rebuilding besides the issue of saline infestation in fresh water adversely affecting both farming and fishing economy. Another community leader underscored the importance of harnessing the indigenous knowledge and expertise in addressing the local issues.
The alumni were from the government department of environment, the public sector, media and academics. Chevening is the UK’s flagship fully-funded scholarships and fellowships programme for studying in the UK for which applications open in August every year.