The Key Challenges Of The Region
Thiruvananthapuram which is strategically located within the Western Ghats ranges is a UN Biodiversity hotspot. It is home to several valuable endemic and exotic flora and fauna. We have organized three Indian Biodiversity Congresses (IBCs) in different regions which took stock of the research and development activities in the country till recently. The RCE will coordinate research on pockets of Western Ghats to assess the loss of endemic flora and fauna and formulate conservation strategies to preserve endangered species, indigenous cattle, valuable medicinal and aromatic plants.
2.Conserving Traditional Wisdom and Best Practices
Conserving and utilizing valuable traditional wisdom is very important in the management of sustainable development. The population has lived in harmony with the environment and has evolved unique knowledge systems inspired by it. Kerala is well known for its rich heritage in Ayurveda, Yoga and other allied forms of health disciplines in the region of Trivandrum, local knowledge about food diversity, agricultural practices and medicinal plants is fading away. The RCE will attempt to strengthen indigenous health systems, food cultures and agricultural practices.
3.Promoting organic agriculture
The unsustainable farming practices like indiscriminate use of chemicals and pesticides to increase productivity had resulted in devastating damages to soil, environment, human and animal health. Research and extension programs will be implemented under RCE to assess the extent of damage caused and to promote organic farming at the grass roots level so as to ameliorate the damage done. The RCE will continue to work on the SreshtaKrishi campaign to strengthen training and availability of raw materials for organic farming in the region.
4.Good food Movement
The junk food culture is spreading fast among the youth and the public in general. Excessive use of taste inducing additives and chemicals cause heavy damage to public health and result in several serious diseases which are life threatening. The RCE will be vigorously engaged in the “Annam movement” reviving traditional food cultures and locally available products including the hugely successful Jackfruit festival campaign.
5. Research and development in Ayurveda
CISSA has so far organized three Global Ayurveda Festivals (GAFs) in different centers in Kerala in which foreign delegates from more than 500 countries and thousands of Indian delegates participated. Ayurveda holds immense promise and potential in evolving public health strategies due to its inherent holistic and socio economic nature. The RCE would envisage bringing together the traditional and modern Ayurveda vaidyas researchers and policy makers to realize the potential of Ayurveda in public health.
6. Disaster Management
CISSA has already launched the research centre in 2014 to conduct research on formulating strategies to control lighting hazards. Kerala, by virtue of its geographical location is highly prone to lightning, floods, coastal-erosion, landslides, drought and storm-surges. RCE will work extensively on eliminating loss of many precious lives and damage to property with the adoption of scientific precautions,. LARC had started a state wide awareness program covering schools of the entire 14 districts where the public is also enlightened on the subject.
7.Promotion of Ecotourism
Thiruvananthapuram has great potential in developing tourism into its abundant natural habitat in Western Ghats region without disturbing the pristine nature. The challenge is to reduce unsustainable development practices in ecologically sensitive areas and tap into alternative tourism (ecotourism, medicinal tourism and cultural-tourism) as a major source of local community income. The RCE will undertake studies on viable projects and tourism promotion that would contribute to the greater inflow of national and international tourists.
8. Waste management
Urban waste, e-waste, toxic substances and plastic, pose grave challenges in efficient waste management practices in rural and urban areas. Functioning of hospitals and industry further complicate the issue by discharging their toxic effluents and waste to adjacent water bodies which pollute the environment and natural ecosystem. RCE works on awareness campaigns and efficient strategies involving stakeholders to educate them about the sustainable management practices to be followed in the safe and healthy disposal of the different categories of waste.
9. Mobilization of Multiple Stakeholders
The multiple stakeholders have been long partnering on various initiatives for sustainable development in the RCE Thiruvananthapuram region. RCE Thiruvananthapuram consists of a variety of partners and stakeholders ranging from higher educational Institutions, Schools, Municipal Government bodies, NGOs, Civil society and Research Institutes. For achieving sustainable development it is imperative that a diverse set of like-minded institutions come together and collaborate. The various ESD related activities that have been executed in the past is a testimony to the collaborative initiatives that has brought this network of institutions together. The key partners are Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), State Horticulture Mission, Mitraniketan, Shantiniketan, Triveni, Indian Institute of Infromation Technology and Management, Society of Energy Engineers and Managers, Universities and Schools.