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Under each Strand several aspects are included to guide the participants on the content of the Conference. It is expected that the focus of presentations would be on the role of science and technology in each of these topics.

The focus of the conference will be on three of the seventeen sustainability goals: WATER, FOOD / AGRICULTURE AND ENERGY AND ON THE ROLE OF NGO'S in sustainable development.

Sustainable development is receiving global attention for societal wellbeing, towards building shared prosperity for today’s population and to meet the needs of the future generations. The three pillars of sustainable development are: economic growth, efficient protection of environment and involvement of society. These are important across all sectors including improvement of infrastructure, energy production and use, rapid urbanization, access to water and its use, climate change, towards low-carbon environment, transportation, agriculture and food security, resource utilization, education and health. Nations are recognizing the value of their natural resources and focussing on their efficient and optimal use; realizing the necessity for elimination of green house gases, ensuring low-carbon environment; and involvement of society to meet the sustainable developmental goals.

In India too, there is a growing socio-political realization that the pollution levels are on the rise, natural resources are indiscriminately exploited, potable water is getting increasingly scarce and there is acute energy crisis. The country is vulnerable to global ecological variations. There is therefore an urgent need for new developmental strategies for infrastructure, energy, water, agriculture, resources utilization and, in turn, jobs. Towards this end there should be good governance which involves decision making and frame policies aimed at sustainable development. In addition, it is imperative to have the consensus of all stakeholders to define objectives and implement them in an agreed manner. These include public sector companies, associations, NGOs, unions and citizens. Implementation is successful if and only if end users accept constraints on the use of available resources and ensure there is transparency in all actions. Further, there is need for decision makers in the Country to provide the driving force and coordinate the activities towards sustainable development.

In all this, the role of Science and Technology is vital to understand the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms of the ecosystem dynamics, to harness the natural resources using innovative smart technologies and to meet the near-term needs and at the same time make provision for our future generations.

Resources, Water Availability, Water Quality, Water purification, Desalination, Cleaning of Rivers/lakes, Use and conservation, Recycling and reuse technologies.

Water covers over 70% of earth’s surface however, more than 97% of this water is saline. Hence, there is water scarcity in several parts of the world today and is expected to increase as the population grows. Growing cities, population and climate change are placing unprecedented pressures on freshwater resource. In most parts of the world, water supply is uneven, unreliable and often contaminated. Due to poorly designed water systems, perverse incentives and lack of knowledge, water is frequently wasted or used unsustainably. The care and management of water systems is central to the development of sustainability.

Surface water, ground water and aquatic ecosystems are under heavy pressure as populations grow and people use water for agriculture, industries and domestic purposes as well as to dispose wastes. Rivers have a special place in the lives of the citizens of our Country. The spiritual reverence for rivers remains high but their health has severely degraded. Rapid growth in urbanization and industrialization to support the growing population and economy has polluted our rivers like never before due to indiscriminate disposal of domestic, industrial, agricultural and mining wastes. Apart from depletion in fisheries this poses a serious health hazard as millions of people continue to depend on them for their domestic needs.

The Oceans to which we owe our very existence are facing the assault of human interference. Massive industrial fishing operations have rapidly depleted several fish stocks with a steady decline in catches since 1988. Increasing stress of pollutants such as nitrogen-rich fertilizers has lead to oxygen-poor, algae-choked 'dead zones' as well as harmful algal blooms in some marine areas. Trash and plastics indiscriminately discarded have caused pollution of the beaches. Pesticides, antibiotics, phenols, petroleum and a variety of other chemicals washed into oceans are accumulated in organisms with unknown consequences to species up and down the food chain. Marine release of untreated sewage has made coastal waters unsafe for swimming. Worldwide transport of alien species and their proliferation has serious consequences to local biodiversity and collapse of fisheries has occurred in some marine areas. An increase in the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere is making seawater more acidic thereby altering marine ecosystems including plankton and corals. Warming of seawater by just 0.1-0.2 ºC has pushed coral reefs towards die-off.

Climate change is also altering the supply and distribution of fresh water due to increase in frequency of droughts, flooding and melting glaciers. All these are causing a global water crisis. These challenges are to be met by thinking of innovative ways of water use, conservation, development and equal availability. Some of the methods include rainwater harvesting, farm ponds, conservation of natural springs and damming of rivers.

The challenges of water crisis necessitate innovation and development of water management tools and strategies. These could include water foot prints and audits to identify water wastage and provide avenues for conservation. Several industries are paying attention to optimal water use and recycling to improve their efficiency as well as contributing to the welfare of the communities and ecosystems around them. Green buildings and innovative technologies are making water conservation an essential component of our homes, schools and businesses. NGOs are working with communities to develop and offer solutions to deal with water scarcity and pollution. Educators are promoting water awareness towards a sustainable future to address the growing water challenges. UN celebrated 22 nd March 2016 as World Water Day to bring to attention that water is an integral part of our lives. Sustainable water resource management is necessary to provide clean water and sanitation, improved quality and quantity of food, good health and in turn provide opportunities for work.

Our fresh water, weather, climate, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the ocean. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

Efficient agricultural production, agri-smart innovative techniques, sustainable genetic varieties of crops and livestock, agriculture and nutrition, efficient use of land, soil, fertilizers and pesticides, agriculture and balance with the ecosystem, synergy between crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries, agriculture and climate change, agriculture-food and nutrition, food system-efficient storage, packaging, and distribution.

Food and Agriculture: Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fibre, fodder, fuel or other plant and animal products using agri-smart innovative techniques which protect the environment, support public health through nutritious food security for everyone, ensure livestock welfare, promote economic growth and alleviate poverty.

Sustainable agriculture conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, and is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable. This is possible with the judicious use of energy and water which have been discussed above and land which is already under cultivation or not suitable for cultivation or made available from deforestation. Further it is essential to find the best ways to measure and improve use of soil, fertilizers, pesticides and habitats on the land.

India makes up 2.4% of the worlds land while supporting 16% of the world’s population. There is therefore immense pressure on the country’s land and natural resources to ensure that the needs of the citizens are met.

There is overuse and mismanagement of the forests leading to deforestation, soil depletion and contamination of water. There is also erosion, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution. This has affected the livelihood of millions of people who are dependent on the forest products such as firewood, fruit, honey etc and as a consequence they are facing hunger and poverty.

Inefficient use of water for crop production, depletes aquifers, reduces river flowdegrades wildlife habitats, and causes salinization. Inappropriate use of fertilizers and pesticides has led to water pollution, affecting rivers, lakes and coastal areas and in turn fish livestock. Due to increase in population there is ever growing need of clean safe drinking water and not much is available for agriculture. Diversion of water for hydropower, industrial and domestic use has also reduced water available for agriculture.

Due to drought in several parts of the country, there is no safe drinking water, which affects health and agriculture productivity and in turn availability of food. Availability of continuous source of power has also affected cultivation.

Agriculture itself has contributed to emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) caused by crop and animal production and deforestation, indiscriminate application of fertilizers and pesticides, from energy consumption for tillage and irrigation and from harvesting. Conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural land leads to losses of soil organic carbon which is then released into the atmosphere.

Agricultural production is determined by what is produced, who produces it, with which type of technologies and practices. Agriculture involves, crops, livestock, forestry, capture and aquaculture fisheries etc and each competes with the other for land and natural resources. Crops and livestock require land and water. Their expansion comes from deforestation, which leads to erosion, reduction in biodiversity and increased emission of CO 2 . Excessive use of nitrogen based fertilizers leads to water pollution and GHG emissions. Water pollution due to crops and livestock affects fisheries. Nitrogen can be added to soil to improve crops using N-fixing legumes and trees. Crops provide food and fodder and grasslands which capture GHG, while livestock produce manure which can be used as fertilizer and for bioenergy. Therefore there has to be synergy between each of the arms of agriculture to ensure sustainability. There is also a need for innovative technologies, genetics, chemistry and engineering for crop production such as use of efficient genetic varieties of seeds which are drought and flood resistant and nutrient rich, crop rotation, drip and sprinkler irrigation and energy efficient pumps and management systems which promote the synergy. There is urgent need for educating farmers on sustainable agriculture and innovation systems which can be locally adapted. All these will contribute to resource-use efficiency and protection of the ecosystems along with increased agricultural produce. There is also dire need to manage climate change and coping with risks therefrom.

To be able to ensure sustainability there should be the commitment to adapt to new technologies, acquire a knowledge base (both new and traditional) to understand and manage the synergies for efficient agricultural productivity, follow climate-smart management of land, water and biodiversity and prepare for disaster risk management. This is possible through a dialogue between the scientist, management expert, government and the farmer.

Beyond the methods for increased agricultural productivity of nutritious variety of crops, there is a need for an efficient food system, for processing, storage, distribution, marketing and consumption. Attention to smart ways for storage without spoilage for near and long term, with cold storage where necessary, efficient packaging for distribution and maintaining a cold chain to ensure food reaches sites distant from where it is produced. Accessibility to all and finally optimal utilization of the food without wastage during its long journey from the farms to the market.

Sustainable agricultural production and food security requires strong interlinkages between energy and water availability and their efficient use. This area also requires semi and skilled manpower for agricultural management which have to be trained to ensure they contribute to sustainable development.

Renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, cleaner and efficient coal technologies, hydrogen energy, biofuel energy, nuclear energy, efficient lighting, efficient transportation, energy efficient agricultural technologies, efficient use of energy, energy from waste, energy storage, rural energy, smart grids.

World Bank estimates, over 1.2 billion people, ie about 20% of the World’s population have no access to electricity; most of them in Africa and Asia. Another 2.8 billion people rely on wood, charcoal, dung and coal for cooking and heating which results in premature death due to indoor air pollution. In addition, in many countries, there are shortages of power supplies or no supplies and is unreliable and of poor quality.

There is need for development of energy systems based on least cost options with emphasis on renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal, thereby reducing coal dependency, cleaner coal technologies, improving technologies for increased fuel efficiency and also promoting energy efficiency towards low carbon strategies. Focus should be on universal access to electricity and modern household fuels. Simple options such as replacing incandescent bulbs with energy saving light bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, bringing in programmed controls which regulate all energy devices in the house/office-lighting and energy efficient air-conditioning should be promoted. Buildings should be constructed with low energy consumption modalities. They should be insulated for improved warmth and loss of cooling, maximising daylight and reducing direct sunlight. Solar panels should be installed for household energy needs thereby avoiding the use of kerosene and diesel which have high carbon emissions. Solar energy driven agricultural pump sets, and water pumping stations should be introduced for agriculture. More solar parks should be constructed to meet the energy requirements of larger establishments and industries. New automobiles should be zero CO2 emitting vehicles using electric, fuel cell, or biofuels. Provision has to be made for mini-power stations and mini grids to address the needs of rural and remote electrification needs. Transportation efficiency and fuel economy require thoughts towards innovative models for public transport systems. Efforts to reduce oil consumption, by shifting road to rail, and coastal shipping freight transfer should be enhanced. Priority to find modalities for dealing with climate change is a must.

Introduction of technical norms for efficient transportation, agricultural equipment, buildings and other energy efficient systems, tariff changes for use of electricity, acceleration of nuclear energy generation and promotion of energy efficient urbanization eg walk to work, car pooling, use of public transport would all contribute towards the sustainable development goal for energy.

Financial support for improving large transmission and distribution systems will also be a necessary incentive towards the sustainable goal. All these efforts will need semi- and skilled-manpower to innovate, implement and manage the new emerging energy efficient technologies thereby providing jobs to millions of people.

In summary the need of the hour is energy access to all, energy efficiency and environment friendly renewable energy.

All sustainability development goals need the involvement of members of the society to ensure that expectations are understood and explained to the community at large in lay terms. NGOs have a major role to play in this activity. They are the facilitators towards sustainability acting as the interface between the policy maker and the end user.

Optimal use of available energy and water can be implemented through basic education about energy and water; their sources, utilization and depletion. Information about efficient ways to utilize the available energy and water through projects which show the members of the society, the utility of energy efficient light sources, household equipment, methods to reduce energy consumption leading to cost saving can make a major impact on saving of natural resources for future generations with minimal effect on their present use. Encouraging the public to consider renewable sources of energy such as solar power will also contribute to this effort. Methods of rainwater harvesting, improving ground water table, using recycled water etc can improve the availability of water.

Similar education to reduce the carbon foot prints by using methods of carpooling, walking to work or other places where possible and having kitchen gardens, or terrace gardens are also the need of the hour. Introduction of different ways to reduce usage, recycle, reuse, or recover any material they use will contribute to saving of energy and water. Kitchen waste management can contribute to generation of biogas or manure useful for growth of plants which in turn will reduce the carbon footprints. In addition modalities for waste reduction will also prevent the generation of waste leading to energy savings.

NGOs can mobilize agricultural productivity by facilitating the availability of scientific information for genetic varieties of crops and livestock, optimal usage of water, energy and land, using energy efficient equipment, optimal fertilizer and pesticide use and irrigation techniques. Imparting education about Information and Communication Technology for acquiring knowledge about climate and crop management will ensure that there is least loss of agricultural productivity and in turn availability of food.

NGOs can also mobilize industries to ensure a pollution free environment and encourage them to support community efforts for sustainability.

The conference will provide a platform for NGOs to highlight their efforts for sustainability and in turn solicit community involvement in the over goals for sustainable development of the nation.