4th Odisha River Conference held at Angul

4th Odisha River Conference held at Angul

Angul: The 4th Odisha River Conference, held on March 21st and 22nd in Angul, concluded with a strong commitment to enhancing river conservation education across all segments of society to address the perilous state of our rivers. Organized by Water Initiatives, Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), and 53 global partners, the conference coincided with the International Day of Action for Rivers and World Water Day. Over 150 participants from diverse backgrounds engaged in extensive discussions over two days, featuring general and technical sessions highlighting the pivotal role of rivers and interconnected ecosystems like forests, floodplains, and grasslands.

Krishna Mohanty, a respected Sarvodaya leader, inaugurated the conference, stressing the need to regard rivers as living entities deserving reverence and care.

Ranjan Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives, underscored the heightened involvement of youth, aligning with the strategic plans of the Youth4Water campaign initiated during the 3rd Odisha River Conference in 2019.

4th Odisha River Conference held at Angul

Swapnasri Sarangi, General Manager of FES, emphasized the collaborative spirit among the 53 partners dedicated to securing a water-sustainable future in the face of climate change challenges. Bishakha Bhanja, a prominent advocate for water and women’s issues, highlighted the conference’s unique gathering of individuals and institutions committed to viewing river conservation holistically, rather than as isolated ecosystems.

Distinguished speakers from various organizations and regions, along with community leaders and youth representatives, emphasized the imperative of collective action in disseminating river education across society and engaging more young people in the cause. The conference also featured the presentation of the 4th Odisha Water Honors and the inaugural Youth4Water ‘Water & Climate Impact Award’, recognizing outstanding contributions to water and environmental conservation.

Additionally, the conference showcased films on river conservation and cultural significance, further engaging participants in the dialogue. A River Rally on World Water Day brought together experts, conference attendees, and local students to demonstrate solidarity with rivers and pledge individual and community-level initiatives for their cleanup and preservation.

Ranjan Panda reiterated the conference’s goal of fostering collaboration among stakeholders to address river conservation, livelihood resilience, and climate action. He stressed the urgent need to expand the societal and institutional engagement in river conservation efforts, particularly by involving the youth in leadership roles.