Sikkim Chapter Hosted in Gangtok
1st Regional Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2019
Gangtok, 27th April 2019: The first ever regional series of the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2019 was successfully hosted at the Sikkim University campus in Gangtok today. The primary theme of the forum was ‘Community, Conservation & Livelihoods: The Lepcha Community’.
Many eminent speakers from diverse fields were present at the forum and shared their thoughts on the topic.
Moderated by Dr. Sandhya Thapa, HOD, Sociology Department, Sikkim University the session highlighted into the lives of Lepcha Community: history, tradition, folk lore, connection with nature, challenges and threats. Ms. Dawa Lepcha -a trainer in the hospitality industry spoke about the roots of the Lepcha community, their indigenous knowledge and practices and their means of livelihoods.
The session was open for discussions and Mr. Gacho Lepcha, Head of the Department- Lepcha Community gave us an insight about the closeness of mountain communities with nature. “With the Lepcha community, they are protecting and preserving their nature and culture since ages” – he said.
The second session of the forum was to engage in a cross vertical dialogue and explore how experts from different fields can contribute to the cause of the Lepcha community and create awareness. Speakers of the session included – Dr. Sunayana Sarkar, Assistant Professor - Structural Geology and Geotectonic, NMIMS University, Mumbai, Ms. Minket Lepcha, Film maker, Mr. Anindya Mukherjee, Mountaineer and Adventurer and Mr. Tom Tshering Lepcha, Officer of Department of Social Justice & Welfare. The session was moderated by Dr. Satyadeep S. Chhetri, Head of the Department, Department of Chemistry, NBBDC, Tadong. The session flagged important issues and the gaps that needs to be addressed in the Dzongu valley and with the Lepcha communities. The idea is to work together to find solutions to the challenges and implement a sustainable future for the mountain community. The session ended with Minket Lepcha stating “If roots had boundaries, would trees ever bear fruit”.
Throwing light upon the importance of keeping our mountains free from plastic pollution, Ms. Neela Mazumdar from Earth Day Nework-India launched the Great Global Cleanup in the mountains campaign to spread awareness on removing billions of pieces of trash from our neighbourhoods. The launch of the campaign was followed by screening of the acclaimed documentary film ‘Voices of Teesta’, directed by Ms. Minket Lepcha.
The idea behind organizing the Regional Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum is to understand conservation stories, give exposure to the community heroes and identify the most pressing needs and solutions for the challenges faced by the communities and use those outcomes as a launch pad to start discussing possible solutions. The regional forum is part of the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum, considered as Eastern Himalayas’ largest Forum for building prosperous communities in Asia, organized every year in Guwahati since 2013 and which will be held on 5th and 6th November in Guwahati, Assam, India in 2019.
The Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum was launched in 2013 to find solutions leading to important lessons for the communities and others, at all levels, from local to global. Starting the dialogue with Asian Elephant Conservation to exploring the crucial role of rural communities in the Eastern Himalayas and supporting rural economies and livelihoods, six years (2013-2018) of Eastern Himalayan Naurenomics™ Forum has led to participation from over 20+ countries, 2000+ distinguished speakers and participants from multi-disciplinary fields and recognized 80+ Balipara Foundation Social Recognition Awardees.
The forum was organized by Balipara Foundation, a Non-Profit organization nestled in Assam in the Eastern Himalayas. Established in 2007 Balipara Foundation focuses on community development and conservation of natural resources in the region through the concepts of Naturenomics™ and Rural Futures.
The Sikkim Chapter was organized in association with the Sociology Department of Sikkim University.
Following the success of the Sikkim Chapter, the regional chapter will travel to different parts of the Eastern Himalayas and organize community specific discussions.