Consider Gross National Happiness in policy formation, says Prof Singh at Essex workshop

Gross National Happiness should be considered in policy formation, said Professor Amita Singh of Jawaharlal Nehru University at the workshop on ‘Development and Change in India’ at the University of Essex on 27 September 2013.

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Part of a collaboration between The Essex Sustainability Institute (ESI) of the University of Essex and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi, this workshop explored how communities adapt and navigate the complex terrain of development-induced change with a focus on India.

A welcome and introduction by Professor Steffen Boehm (Director, ESI) was followed by two keynotes addresses by JNU academics. Delivering her keynote on ‘Assessing development through the Ecosystem Well-being Index (EWI),’ Professor Amita Singh (Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU), emphasised the importance of considering a radical change in the way we perceive wellbeing and prosperity, stepping beyond GNP-based policy frameworks and exploring the potential of alternatives such as Gross National Happiness. She argued that ecosystem-based developmental planning is the only sustainable way for containing disruptive forces of implanted development and highlighted India’s disturbing trend of passing the poor’s food land to the rich for other uses..

Professor Sachidanand Sinha (Centre for the Study of Regional Development, JNU), in his keynote on ‘Development and Displacement of Land-based Communities: The tribal population of Central India,’ highlighted the massive land acquisition for development projects in the last two decades in India. His paper examined the magnitude of displacements of the agrarian communities in general and the tribes in particular, the processes of land acquisition of the forest-based communities in the central tribal belt (especially for mining) and the consequences on these communities’ livelihoods and survival. He also examined the question of alternative development paradigm, which may strengthen democratic processes and bring back the objectives of sustainable development with citizens at the centre of the development process.

The two keynotes were followed by five papers from the University of Essex:

  • Sanjay Lanka (Essex Business School): Challenges faced by small and marginal farmers in India –The role of government programmes
  • Professor Shazad Uddin (Essex Business School): Corporate Governance, Poverty Alleviation and Economic Development in South Asian Countries
  • Dr Natasha Ezrow (Department of Government): Economic Boom in India? Examining the Effects of State Corruption and Agricultural Neglect
  • Dr Stuart Bunting (School of Biological Sciences): Evaluating diversification and sustainable intensification as strategies to enhance agriculture-based livelihoods and conserve highland aquatic biodiversity in Buxa, West Bengal, India
  • Professor Colin Samson (Department of Sociology): The Colonial Inheritance of the Concept of Development: European and Non-European Societies

The event closed with a networking dinner.

Photographs by Asitha Jayawardena

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Workshop page on the ESI website

Essex Sustainability Institute (ESI)

Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University

 

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Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference 2013

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The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference 2013 will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from 6 to 9 October 2013.

The conference will bring together over 2000 participants from around the world, providing the largest platform in North America for higher education sustainability thought leadership. It will comprise a range of session types, including keynotes, workshops, meet-ups, briefings, case studies, films, networking lunches, panel discussions, posters, presentations and a sustainability campus tour.

The conference will feature three keynote speakers:

  • Markese W. Bryant (Co-founder and Managing Partner of Fight for Light, Inc.)
  • Raj Patel (Controversial author, journalist, and food policy expert)
  • Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins (Chief Executive Officer of Green for All)

It will also feature a number of plenary speakers:

Sustainability and Sound

  • Aaron S. Allen (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
  • Jeff Todd Titon (Brown University)
  • Denise Von Glahn (Florida State University)

Investing in Energy Efficiency through Green Revolving Funds

  • Mark Orlowski (Sustainable Endowments Institute Founder and Executive Director)
  • John Hegman (Agnes Scott College Vice President for Business and Finance)
  • Brien Lewis (Catawba College President)
  • Heather Henriksen (Harvard University Office for Sustainability Director)

Organizational Leadership for Sustainability Education

  • Stephen Mulkey (Unity College President)

AASHE Student Summit 2013 and AASHE 2013 Sustainability Awards ceremony will be held on first day. Western Kentucky University Green Tour will take place on the final day.

Image from AASHE Conference 2013 website

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AASHE Conference 2013 website

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Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) International Conference 2013

SML-ACTS-conf1The 13th International ACTS (Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability) Conference, themed ‘Sharing learning: lessons from the Sustainability Community,’ will take place in Sydney, Australia, from 25 to 27 September 2013.

This three-day conference will provide opportunities for professionals in the field of sustainability, social responsibility and environmental management to share ideas and successes with peers while advancing knowledge of current and emerging issues.

The conference will feature five keynote speakers:

  • Professor Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University
  • Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (Smart) at the University of New South Wales
  • Professor David Hood, Adjunct Professor in the Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
  • Sarah Lee, Scotland Manager at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) UK
  • Charlotte Taylor, National Union of Students (NUS), UK

Its concurrent sessions will be in four areas:

  • Leadership and Governance
  • Partnerships and Engagement
  • Learning, Teaching and Research
  • Facilities and Operations

The second and third days will see Green Gown Awards Australasia 2013 and a Professional Development session on ‘Sustainability Practitioners as Change Agents’.

The event is jointly hosted by Macquarie University, Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, University of Newcastle, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, University of Western Sydney and University of Wollongong.

Image from the ACTS conference website

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Conference website

 

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University of Northampton Biodiversity Index

SML-Northampton-BiodiversityIndexThe services of the Biodiversity Index of the University of Northampton are now available to other sectors as well as to higher and further education providers in the UK.

Funded by the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) Leadership, Governance and Management Fund, the Biodiversity Index is an interactive system that enables organisations with little or no knowledge of biodiversity to assess the level of plant diversity on their land quickly, simply and scientifically. It helps them measure plant diversity, suggest ways to improve biodiversity on their sites and signpost them to further information

Launched in April 2013, this tool was initially available free of charge for higher and further education institutions in the UK. Its priced version is now available for other sectors, such as business and public sector.

Image adapted from the Biodiversity Index website

 

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The Biodiversity Index website

Press release on the HEFCE website

News post on University of Northampton website

 

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Essex workshop: India’s Development and Change

SML-Essex-India-WSA workshop on ‘Development and Change in India’ will take place at the University of Essex (Room 5S.4.11 at the Wivenhoe Park campus) on 27 September 2013.

Part of a collaboration between The Essex Sustainability Institute (ESI) of the University of Essex and Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi, this workshop will explore how communities adapt and navigate the complex terrain of development-induced change with a focus on India.

Followed by a welcome by Professor Steffen Boehm (Director, ESI), two Indian academics will deliver keynotes:

  • Professor Amita Singh (Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University): Designing Human Wellbeing as Ecosystems Disappear
  • Professor Sachidanand Sinha (Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University): Development and Displacement of Land-based Communities: The tribal population of Central India

 The workshop will also feature several other speakers:

  • Sanjay Lanka (Essex Business School, University of Essex)
  • Professor Shazad Uddin (Essex Business School, University of Essex): Corporate Governance, Poverty Alleviation and Economic Development in South Asian Countries
  • Dr Natasha Ezrow (Department of Government, University of Essex): Economic Boom in India? Examining the Effects of State Corruption and Agricultural Neglect
  • Dr Stuart Bunting (School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex): Evaluating diversification and sustainable intensification as strategies to enhance agriculture-based livelihoods and conserve highland aquatic biodiversity in Buxa, West Bengal, India
  • Professor Colin Samson (Department of Sociology, University of Essex): The Colonial Inheritance of the Concept of Development: European and Non-European Societies

The event will come to a close with a facilitated roundtable discussion.

For more information, please contact Dr Zareen Bharucha: zpbhar@essex.ac.uk

Image adapted from the ESI website

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Event page

Essex Sustainability Institute (ESI)

Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University

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World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) Annual Conference 2013

SML-WASD-ConfThe World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) will hold its eleventh annual conference, titled ‘Ten Years of Sustainable Development: New Multi-Disciplinary Approaches and Methodologies,’ at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) from 2 to 4 September 2013.

Focusing on the question, what do policy makers actually need to know for policy formation on sustainable development (SD), the conference will bring together academics, researchers, government officials, policy makers, educators, experts, consultants and most importantly companies from around the world.

The conference aims to discuss a range of SD-related topics and issues, including:

  • Issues related to strengthening the linkages between industry, universities and research institutions as well as reconnecting these institutions to the SD discourse by exploring the role of professionals, universities and research institutions in achieving SD
  • The role of academics and professionals in supporting and enhancing the process of economic and social development
  • The major obstacles to the advancement of science and technology in developing countries

The conference, which will kick off with a welcome and introduction by Professor Allam Ahmed, University of Sussex and Founding President of WASD, will consist of keynotes, general assembly, plenary sessions, papers presentations, networking sessions and excursions. It will feature a number of speakers from several countries, including six keynote speakers:

  • H. E. Majid Al Mansouri, Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • H. E. Dr. Mohammed Tahir Aila, Governor, Red Sea State, Sudan
  • Dr Aled Jones, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
  • Professor Sonny Nwankwo, University of East London, UK
  • Professor Aidan Berry, University of Brighton, UK
  • Dr Ayad Altaai, DMA, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE

The event will cover a range of areas related to SD, including development, environment, energy, resources, health, food, agriculture, cities, economics, business, knowledge management, risk management, technology, innovation, governance, human behaviour and tourism.

The outcomes of the conference are expected to help the development of a framework for the analysis of the role of academic and research institutions in achieving SD and to help policy-makers to constructs an ‘ideal role’ for universities and research institutions in developing countries.

Since the inaugural annual conference in 2003 in UK, titled ‘Globalization and Sustainable Development: The Road Ahead’, the WASD has held its first ten annual events in UK, UAE, Italy, Australia, Bahrain, St Lucia and USA.

Image adapted from the WASD website

 

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Conference website

WASD website

 

The suite of Sustainable University websites: Sustainable University One-stop Shop | News and Information | Research | Good Practice | Quotes | Blog | Diary | Micro-blog (@sustainableuni1 on Twitter)

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