Towards a safe and sustainable environment

India has been overtaken with an unprecedented economic growth in the past decade. The vision anticipated in the early years of independence, gathered momentum with the new industrial policy and structural changes in 1991 and gained fruition in the past years.
Uncontrolled and unsustainable growth, industrialisation and urbanisation has, however, resulted in acute environmental fall-outs, affecting millions of people.

Compounding these complexities is the issue of climate change. Though India is at an advantage -- in terms of per capita consumption of resources and emission of greenhouse gases – and even while it pursues its economic and social development objectives, India is committed to not allowing its per capita GHGs emissions to exceed the average per capita emissions of the developed countries.  

The key environmental challenges facing India are:

LACK OF CONCERN ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN THE MASS MEDIA
Issues of the environment occupy less than 2 per cent of prime time in television news.
 
INADEQUACY OF SKILLED HUMAN RESOURCES
India does not yet have a certification programme for treatment plant operators so trained staff is not available at pollution control facilities.
 
POOR ACCESS TO CLEAN TECHNOLOGY
While access to clean technology is improving, the speed needs to be intensified; platforms are needed to unite technology solution seekers and providers.

ENVIRONMENT IN CURRICULUM: MISSING AS YET
Environmental education is compulsory till the graduate level across all streams in educational institutions. Yet the existing courses are unchallenging and most teachers are unable to sensitise students to the nuances of issues.

COURSES UNRESPONSIVE TO MARKET-BASED INSTRUMENTS AND INFORMATION DRIVEN APPROACHES
Environmental planning and management courses do not effectively employ market-based instruments, information driven approaches, life cycle-based thinking and integrated approaches.

ENVIRONMENTAL OUTREACH PROGRAMMES: AN UNFINISHED AGENDA
Environmental outreach programmes need to be innovative, far more and long-running.

DEARTH OF SYSTEMATIC AND ANALYTICAL DATA
The lack of systematic and analytical data on key environmental indicators; investment in research and development in the sector; inter-institutional coordination; and knowledge sharing among experts are serious failings.

CONSTRAINED BY A LACK OF EXPERTS
The environmental sector needs experts with rigorous multi-disciplinary skills, to cope with existing and emerging threats, through scientifically proven and tested approaches.

NEED TO SET UP AN ENVIRONMENTAL-FRIENDLY INFRASTRUCTURE
It is crucial to have a built-in environment-sensitive infrastructure that takes note of the economy of scale, application of efficient technologies and formats for co-financing and sharing of joint responsibilities is crucial.

POLICY ADVOCACY AND POLICY HARMONISATION
Policy decisions on environment have implications on other key sectors. A conscious harmonisation effort is needed to avoid conflicts between sectors at the operational level.

ABOUT CMS VATAVARAN
CMS VATAVARAN is India’s premier festival of environment and wildlife issues in the country. The festival is organised by the CMS Environment team. The festival has two different versions (1) competitive festival and (2) travelling festival. The competitive festival is held in every odd year in New Delhi. In the competitive festival more than a 100 green films are screened over a period of five days. Eminent personalities from diverse fields constitute the award jury and the awards are conferred on to the filmmakers in a gala award ceremony. The cash component of the award ranges from Rs.25,000 to Rs.1.5 lakhs. Five editions of competitive festivals have been organised till date. The sixth competitive festival will be held in November 2011 in New Delhi.


Objectives of CMS VATAVARAN

CMS VATAVARAN was initiated in 2002 to:
•    Enhance understanding, appreciation and shift in attitudes on the natural world and its conservation through films and environment forums
•    Increase space for environment issues in mass media and evolve a nationwide environment outreach framework
•    Strengthen collaboration between individuals, government departments, scientific institutions and universities on  sustainability, environment, technology and policy making
•    Galvanise civil society and evolve a platform for public opinion and decision making processes
•    Nurture a new breed of “alternate filmmakers” to widen public dialogue and debate
•    Stimulate production of high quality films in the fields of wildlife, nature and environment  

CMS Environment Forum
Half the duration of the Film Festival is devoted to the activities of the CMS Environment Forum. Held alongside, the effort is to host an array of environmental seminars, symposiums, workshops, exhibitions, games, interactive talks by experts, open forums, discussions, eco trips and competitions. Going beyond the known environmental discourse, it takes on multi-faceted issues, shares available knowledge, highlights the deep interconnectedness between sectors/issues, encourages critical thinking, and helps shift entrenched attitudes and practices. Eminent environmentalists, scientists, legislators, senior bureaucrats and corporate officials attend as experts.

Milestones: CMS VATAVARAN Film Festival
•    2009: The fifth CMS VATAVARAN Competitive Film Festival’s theme was Climate Change and Sustainable Technologies. Films were screened under 16 thematic areas for Indian films and there were nine categories for international films. Eminent director Jahnu Barua was the jury chairperson. 22 programmes were organised including workshop on confronting climate change, international environmental journalists congress, seminar on eco-tourism, climate change primer for teachers.
 
•    2008: The third Travelling Film Festival, 2008-2009, held in eight cities (with the highlight on climate change) screened 304 films over 24 days. Seminars, symposiums, technical workshops, painting competitions, exhibitions, games, talks and eco-trips were held. Six national and 51 state partners lent support and 80,000 participants attended.

•    2007: Awards for technical excellence and the Young Environmental Journalist Award were initiated. Based on climate change, the festival drew 275 entries from 18 Indian states and 18 countries. Workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions, summits, and a seminar on the state of Indian rivers were also held. Noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal was the jury chairperson.

•    2006: The Travelling Festival went overseas to Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo apart from touring Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kashmir, Kolkata, Pune, Ranchi and Sirmour.

•    2005: The third CMS VATAVARAN Competitive Film Festival received 244 entries in various environment and wildlife categories. The festival theme was forest for life and 5,000 people attended. There were 134 new filmmakers and nine awards worth INR 10 lakhs. The Steering Committee was chaired by Dr. Karan Singh, eminent scholar and a member of parliament, and the final jury was headed by Shyam Benegal.

•    2004: The first Travelling Festival of CMS VATAVARAN Film Festival went to Chennai, Coimbatore and Mumbai. People began recognising and supporting the CMS VATAVARAN environment awareness movement.

•    2003: The second CMS VATAVARAN Competitive Film Festival became biennial, it saw 154 entries and a year round outreach programmes. CMS and UNEP instituted an award ‘Prithvi Ratna’ for extraordinary contribution to wildlife filmmaking and natural history. The festival celebrated water for life theme.

•    2002: India’s one and only environment and wildlife Film Festival – CMS VATAVARAN - began its maiden run. It served a dual purpose – one, generating awareness on environmental issues, and, two, lending recognition to the endeavours of environment and wildlife filmmakers. The initiative was supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Festival Updates

Jan 22, 2011: Ahmedabad CMS VATAVARAN
Closing ceremony of Ahmedabad CMS VATAVARAN at CEPT auditorium.

Jan 21, 2011: Ahmedabad CMS VATAVARAN
Teachers Workshop organised at Gujarat Vidyapith .

Jan 19, 2011: Panel Discussion at CEPT
Panel discussion held on "Confronting Climate Change:Towards Carbon Neutral Indian Cities" at CEPT Auditorium.

National Partners

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