June 5, Japan– The meeting of global faith leaders for environmental action at Ise, Japan invited EcoSikh to share the issues of Amritsar and progress on its Eco-Amritsar programme with the Green Pilgrimage Network and other international agencies and organizations. It provided a platform for exploring specific interventions for the Holy City of Amritsar.
The meet, organized (31st May to 5th June, 2014), by the Jinja Honcho-Association of 80000 Shinto Shrines, was keenly watched by over 100 delegates including representatives of the eight major world religions drawn from all round the world and secular organizations such as the UN, conservation groups, R20 (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s international cities programme which has now partnered with pilgrim cities in the Green Pilgrimage Network to bring in technical expertise and investment partners to deliver renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure project and working together to promote pilgrim cities to become innovative models of faith-consistent values, environmental care and green economy that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and the governments worldwide) and representatives of national governments.
Issues of Amritsar brought to the fore were the need for a collection and waste management facility, sanitation, renewable energy and green spaces. Eco-Amritsar made a presentation of its work to delegates, including UN Assistant Secretary General, Olav Kjorven, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI, Emani Kumar and Secretary General of ARC, Martin Palmer and its initiatives were widely appreciated.
Amritsar joined the Green Pilgrim Network (GPN) as a founder member in 2011 largely on the support of EcoSikh President, Dr. Rajwant Singh. With the formation of Eco-Amritsar as a vehicle to garner public support and traction, the initiative has grown steadily, as has now been acknowledged as one of the main delivering partners for the GPN. The SGPC and the state government have been all along participated wholeheartedly in the GPN endeavor.
The event also saw a series of meetings on water, values, and other environmental solution based approaches. Interactions between delegates from China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Japan, USA, Africa, et al provided a forum for sharing best practices, customs and traditions. They also vied for attention of the aid agencies of the world watching this interesting new development.
Said Chairman, Eco-Amritsar, Gunbir Singh, “We have proposed faith-based action for grounds up action, supporting interfaith collaboration for widespread community action. Amritsar has been accepted as a strategic element in walking the GPN talk. One humbly appreciates the acknowledgement and looks forward to concrete action with government support in the near future. We have sown organic seeds in the international arena for the betterment of the Holy city, and believe that fruits, as global assistance, shall be available sooner than later.”
Link to Flickr for Japan Picture.