The United Nations World Environment Day was celebrated at the UN premises on Friday, 5th June 2015 from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm. UNDP had invited all staff members of UN Agencies to participate. The GEF/UNDP Small Grants Programme (SGP), Centre for Environment (CEE) was asked to join hands by putting up the Green Haat (market place); who invited seven NGO partners to display products focussed to improve sustainability of poor marginalized communities in protected area systems; reduce threats to biodiversity; and mainstream conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into production landscapes/seascapes and sectors.

Ms. Marina Walter, Deputy Country Director Marina cut the ribbon to open the Green Haat for the participants. She welcomed and thanked all the NGOs and the staff from UN agencies for gathering to celebrate the World Environment Day. She emphasized on the need for the individuals to show the responsibility for saving the environment and to contribute to the protection of the planet. She emphasized on the theme “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”, added to the voice of The United Nations Secretary-General, that, we can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food. She also added in India we should spread the message far and wide. She also added we need to focus through the SGP to address the ‘prevailing poverty-deepening environmental degradation’, climate change, local governance issues, institutional and policy frameworks, etc and much appreciated the role GEF/UNDP, SGP and CEE has undertaken to address these issues through projects sustainable.


Mr. P.S. Sodhi, Country Programme Manager, GEF/UNDP provided his view-point on the action-based approach adopted by the GEF/UNDP SGP program at the grass-roots level for the protection of the environment, promoting local institutions largely of women in taking measures for sustainable consumption and production systems.  Ms. Krishna Bisht from Mahila Haat spoke about the importance to be provided to the Himalayas which are a source of most of the Indian rivers emanating from it.  The need to conserve the forests and using environment-friendly technologies was emphasized by her for protecting the planet and local resources. She shared that through SGP Mahila Haat are strengthening the local women groups to conserve local resources, process them and link them to markets.

Mr. Nathu Ram from Jagriti, Kullu gave an overview how the women self help groups help in reducing pressure on forests in the Himachal Pradesh and how the natural resources from the nearby areas are sustainably harvested and linked to local people's livelihood under the GEF/UNDP SGP-supported project. 

 The smiley-flags with a variety of messages on keeping the environment clean, being sensitive to protect forests, low carbon lifestyles,  were handed over to all the participants for putting up in their offices and on their seats and reminding each one to adopt them in their day to day life.

To commemorate the Day, Mr. Hem Pande, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Marina released a newly developed brochure on the GEF/UNDP SGP project, Foundation for Ecological Security for “Strengthening Conservation and Livelihood in Kumbhalgarh, in Rajasthan”. He added that over the years, unsustainable practices such as deforestation, fire and overgrazing have been both cause and consequence of the livelihoods crisis among tribal and rural communities living in and we have to now adopt the community approaches to protect our natural resources, land and water resources. Focus more through SGP in checking unsustainable commercial extraction in the protected areas. Congratulated one and all and the GEF SGP.

The Green Haat was then opened to all present who made brisk purchases to support the work of women self help groups and also displayed environment-friendly products of day-to-day use in the common households. The participants were in a joyous mood and showed great interest and interacted with the NGO partners to acquaint themselves more with the SGP activities. Many voiced and appreciated the works of the GEF SGP and shared views on complex set of factors (intensive agriculture, extensive use of fertilizers, depleting water resources, recurrent drought, high human and livestock demand for food, fodder and firewood) further aggravates the situation.

The brochures of SGP projects were displayed in plenty, and UN Agencies staff interacted with one all. The entrance of the UN premises displayed different placards with a variety of messages on how to protect the environment. The standis of GEF/UNDP SGP were placed at the entry to the UN Conference Hall where the stalls were put up by the NGO partners. The banners of each NGO were displayed on each of the stalls.

The participants kept pouring in throughout the day and the NGOs made a good sale of more than Rs.75,000 (roughly US $1200). Nearly 200 people came to the program.