HNLU, International Conference, Sustainable Development
The Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (HNLU) and the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE) organized an international conference on Rights of Nature for Sustainable Development on June 5, 2022, World Environment Day.
The Conference began with an inaugural session with the august presence of the Honorable Mr. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Former Justice, Supreme Court of India and President of the National Green Tribunal as Chief Guest, Professor Juan Sebastián Villamil Rodríguez, Professor, National University of Colombia, Professor (Dr .) Gitanjali N. Gill, Professor, Northumbria Law School, Northumbria University, Newcastle, Prof. Paul Martin, Director, Australian Center for Agriculture and Law, School of Law, University of New England, and Prof. Elisa Scotti, Professor, University of Macerata, Italy as international speakers. Mr. Govind Ram Miri, Senior Solicitor, Chhattisgarh High Court and Mr. Apurba Kumar Sharma, Senior Solicitor and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Bar Council of India were also present on this occasion.
Prof. (Dr.) VC Vivekanandan, the Vice-Chancellor of HNLU, in his inaugural remarks said “The ‘finite nature’ cannot be harnessed for an ‘infinite development process’ and this requires the ‘rights of the nature “as a legal game changer. This international HNLU-GNHRE conference is an effort to consolidate efforts towards an international regime on the ‘rights of nature'”
The Honorable Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairman of the NGT, in his keynote address underscored the requirement to “act now”. Providing a historical overview of all the international speeches and efforts for pollution control, he urged: “If you want to breathe clean air, you must contribute”. He also urged academia to introduce students to the “real problems” and get them to the “real situation” of pollution and think about the solution. He said problems have a solution but implementation requires enormous willpower.
Moderator of the round table, Professor Juan Sebastián Villamil Rodríguez, addressed the constitutional aspect of “rights of nature” in his opening speech with particular reference to India and the international perspective.
Speaking on the theme “Rights of Nature: Place/People Based Sustainability and Indigenous Knowledge”, Professor (Dr.) Gitanjali N. Gill emphasized that it was clear that as long as we treat nature as a resource, exploitation will continue. “We need indigenous knowledge, beliefs and values and a relationship experience with nature to seek balance,” she said.
Linking the theme to the common thread, Professor Paul Martin spoke about the gaps between international promises, their implementations and public policies. He also added the dimension of academia to play the active role instead of “theoretical roles”.
In her address, Professor Elisa Scotti echoed the unconditional and emerging need for a “new and immediate” responsibility to nature.
Followed by a round table, the technical session saw the presentation of an article on various themes such as Rights of nature c. Rights to nature, Rights of nature c. Sustainable Business, Rights of Nature and Role of Stakeholders for Sustainable Development, Rights of Nature and Role of Institutional Mechanism, Rights of Nature and Human Rights, Rights of Nature and Green Economy, Rights of Nature and global biodiversity, rights of nature and green finance, rights of nature and international trade.
The farewell session had the prominent presence of Shri Rakesh Chaturvedi, Chairman, CG State Biodiversity Board, and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests as the chief guest and Shri Arun Kumar Pandey, Member Secretary, CG State Biodiversity Board (IFS ) as guest of honor. The two dignitaries insisted on the shared responsibility for the preservation and conservation of mother nature by each stakeholder for sustainable development.
The Conference brought together people from diverse backgrounds and specialists for an interdisciplinary discussion on the rights of nature.
The program was designed and led by Prof. (Dr.) Uday Shankar, Registrar with the organizing effort of Prof. (Dr.) Yogendra Kumar Srivastava, Dean (Outreach and External Regulatory Compliance), Dr. Ankit Awasthi, Prof. Deputy as Secretary, Dr. Rana Navneet Roy, Associate Professor as Co-Secretary and Mr. Abhinav Shukla, Assistant Professor and Ms. Urvi Shrivastava as members in record time.