Guwahati: The Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum 2019, a flagship framework of Balipara Foundation, was held in Guwahati on November 5 and 6. The two-day event has been providing a platform for exchanging dialogue on identifying and capitalising on natural resources to deliver universal basic assets to the forest-fringe communities of the Eastern Himalayas.
The forum was host to around 60 eminent personalities from multi-disciplinary fields across 17 countries who have engaged in the discourse on natural capital and its impact on Universal Basic Assets and also deliberated on issues relating to sustainable development and building and preserving ecological civilisations through the proprietary framework of rural futures.
Launched in 2007, Balipara Foundation takes a community-based approach to conservation through proprietary concept naturenomics and to equip Eastern Himalayan communities to be stewards of their natural assets through enhancing their social and economic mobility.
Speaking with EastMojo, Saurav Malhotra from Balipara Foundation said, “Seven years of organising a forum is a long time, but also not such a long time in the scheme of things.” He added that there are always challenges while organising a conference, but those are “uncontrollable”.
“We get to see participation from so many local communities that we work with. In fact, this year, we have with us about hundred people from the local communities where we work and people representing all of the northeastern states, and people representing countries or neighboring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh, and people from 15 other countries. So I think all of this really makes all the challenges quite fun as well, because I think that we’ve grown a lot. We’ve had over 2,300 people attending the forum till date. And speaking in the forum, we have over 80 speakers this year. And I think that all the challenges are irrelevant when we see the kind of growth we’ve had and the kind of response that we get from people,” added Malhotra.
When asked about the word ‘Naturenomics’, Malhotra explained that it came into being about seven to 10 years ago, and it was really the outcome from a realisation that there has been economic growth in the world. “Natureconomics proposes that the economy can grow along with nature, that nature and economy can actually grow hand in hand. And this depends on securitising your natural assets. Evaluating what they are worth evaluating the world of a tree that lives versus a tree that has failed. And using this concept to actually propel economic growth to expanding forest comes,” said Malhotra.
With notable speakers from multi-disciplinary fields, the two-day forum ended with the Balipara Social Recognition Awards for the efforts of grassroots conservationist and social entrepreneurs working tirelessly towards preserving the rich biodiversity of the Eastern Himalayas.
Some of the personalities who attended the forum as speaker were Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, Prime Minister’s Council for Climate Change, India; renowned historian and author Rudrangshu Mukherjee; Thu Zaw, chief executive officer of Sithar Coffee, Mayanmar; Vance Martin, vice-president of WILD Foundation, US; and Eduardo Erazo Acosta sociologist, researcher at University Nariño, in Pasto city, Colombia, among others.
Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum, an auxiliary of Balipara Foundation, is the largest forum of its kind in the region, dedicated towards community building in Asia.