Third International Climate Champions Camp 2011
A H Tehzeeb
The British Council has been running International Climate Champion (ICC) programme for the last two years. Around 30 climate champions from across the country (15 for 2009 and 2010 each) were selected. To enhance the knowledge of the ICCs, the British Council arranged a few training sessions about the practical situation of climate change and its impact on the lives of the common people. The first session took place in Gopalganj under the guidance of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies and the second one in Nepal with the co-operation of ICIMOD, Nepal. A number of sessions were held in Dhaka British Council as well. Towhid, one of the ICCs of 2010, got the opportunity to attend COP 16 in Mexico.
Courtesy: A H Tehzeeb
On January 2011, I, along with Muhib Kabir, and two other ICCs from year 2010, went to attend the 3rd International Climate Champions Camp, which was held from January 15-22 in Goa, India. Around 35 ICCs from 15 different countries attended the camp. The experience of interacting with similar minded people from United States of America, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Uganda, Japan, Srilanka, Maldives, Nepal and India was an unforgettable one for us all. The camp focused on the bio-diversity, mining situation, the flora and fauna and the ecosystem of Goa.
At the National Science Centre, we watched some innovative science projects and also some thought-provoking cartoons about climate change drawn by some talented children who won at various competitions throughout India. Anjuna Rocky Beach gave us things to learn about the marine biodiversity of Goa. At Bondla and Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollhem National Park, we learnt about the different types of forests that exist in Goa and also the description of different species of trees, butterflies and other animals found there. On the last day, we visited Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary. The sanctuary is a mangrove forest that is home for thousands of birds. It was nice to be able to draw comparisons between the mangrove forest in Goa and the Sundarbans. The trip became more enjoyable when we visited the marsh crocodile residence at Cumbarjua Canal. We also had a whole day of lecture sessions about different topics related to climate change at International Centre, Goa where we resided. At the end of the camp, there was a feedback session with Delhi and London British Council through a teleconference. I was one of the few lucky members of the camp to attend the teleconference to interact with David Viner, Head Climate Change Programme, British Council, London and Charlie Walker, Director, The British Council, India and Sri Lanka. At the end of the camp, champions prepared the Goa declaration based on the learning of this one week. This declaration was read out in front of Goa Environment Minister. We hope that our suggestions will be implemented in the future.
We not only enjoyed the learning sessions but also the entertainment arranged by The British Council. The highlight of the visit was visiting the old Portuguese houses and getting to know about the Portuguese culture, including their music. Under the guidance of Dr. Gajanan Untawale, Shudhanshu Sinha, Ajay Gramopadhye, Sharlene Chichgar the camp was, inevitably, a huge success.
The end is always heart breaking; parting ways with some wonderful people, we flew back to the busy city of Dhaka, with a handful of precious memories, and with hope of meeting our new friends sometime soon.
(The writer is a student of MBA in IBA.)