3rd National River Conference:The theme for the 3rd National River Conference was “Promoting the Forest-River-Communities nexus for Conservation of Rivers and Combating climate change.” It was held at Prayas conference hall in Baripada on 24th-25thMarch, 2019. It was a joint effort of 35 organizations led by Water Initiatives, Gram Swaraj and Vasundhara to deliberate on the relationship between these vital aspects of ecology and initiate effort to involve communities in the planning process. About 250 people from across the country participated in the program. The conference had two general sessions, four technical sessions, one youth conclave and a river festival in two days.
The objective of the conference was to understand the forest-river nexus, to discuss the role of local and indigenous communities in protecting the forests in river catchment, to assess the current plantation and afforestation model for enriching of water resources, to find out different ways towards interstate river basin cooperation to protect catchment, to dwell upon issues and challenges with the objective of the conference and to chalk out the plan for building a larger network of people and institutions working on forests, rivers and community rights issues.
The conference urged upon the governments to appeal the Supreme Court of India not to evict millions of tribals and forested communities from their forests as it is because of their presence the forest is protected and biodiversity is maintained