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H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji | | “Celebrating Water for Peace”: A Confluence of Global Leaders and Visionaries on the River Ganga, in the Himalayas
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“Celebrating Water for Peace”: A Confluence of Global Leaders and Visionaries on the River Ganga, in the Himalayas

Mar 22 2024

“Celebrating Water for Peace”: A Confluence of Global Leaders and Visionaries on the River Ganga, in the Himalayas

The serene banks of the sacred River Ganga witnessed a momentous gathering of global leaders, esteemed dignitaries, and passionate advocates for water conservation and peace during the celebration of World Water Day at the Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh.

World Water Day serves as a crucial platform to underscore the importance of freshwater and advocate for its sustainable stewardship and fair distribution. This year’s theme of ‘Water for Peace’ highlights the interconnectedness between water and global stability, stressing the necessity for collaboration and joint efforts to tackle water-related issues.

More than 3 billion people worldwide depend on water that crosses national borders. Yet, out of 153 countries that share rivers, lakes and aquifers with their neighbours, only 24 countries report having cooperation agreements for all their shared water.

Jointly convened by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) the one-day event on the theme “Water for Peace” aimed to foster dialogue, inspire action, and honor remarkable contributions towards creating a water-secure world.

A powerful pledge and call to action was given by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President, Parmarth Niketan and Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance which was received with a standing ovation by the participants and youth, illustrating the power of faith based messaging.

Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, gave an inspiring address emphasizing the importance of making choices about what one eats and consumes based on our interconnectedness with water, our natural resources, and Mother Nature. She shared statistics indicating that the single most powerful choice one could make, choosing to be vegetarian, could make a huge difference for the planet.

The event also witnessed the esteemed presence of Honourable Mrs Ritu Khanduri, Speaker of the Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha, who delivered a keynote address, emphasizing the role of governance in ensuring water sustainability and the necessity for collective action.

Highlighting the significance of international cooperation, His Excellency Freddy Svane, Ambassador at the Royal Danish Embassy, delivered a special address, reaffirming Denmark’s commitment to global water security initiatives.

Mr Vinod Mishra, Country Manager of UNOPS India, set the tone with an inspiring welcome address, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing water-related challenges.

A pivotal moment of the event was the release of “Good Practices in Water Management,” a compendium capturing innovative strategies and solutions from Rapid Action Learning workshops conducted in Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand.

Distinguished speakers graced the occasion, including Respected Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Former Director General of National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, Ms Monica Singhal, Founder of HariOm SMILES, Dr Ruchi Badola from the Wildlife Institute of India, and Mr Anshul Jain, Convener of the Indo-Nordic Water Forum. Their insightful addresses shed light on innovative approaches to water management and conservation. The Project Director, GIWA, Ms Ganga Nandini beautifully moderated the event.

Special Ganga Awards were presented to individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions towards creating a water-secure and inclusive world in which no one is left behind, followed by a group pledge for water conservation and a solemn water blessing ceremony. The audience of more than 1000 people including hundreds of youth pledged their time, talent, technology and tenacity for a water-secure and peaceful future.

The day concluded with a symbolic rally to the Ganga Ghat and a special World Renowned Ganga Aarti with ‘Water for Peace’ messages in the evening, connecting another more than 1000 pilgrims in person and more online, as the sunset.

“Celebrating Water for Peace” served as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and collective action in safeguarding our most precious resource. As the world faces growing water challenges, events like these remind us of the urgent need for concerted efforts towards a sustainable and peaceful future.

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