Dr. AK GUPTA
Khusamadeed…pleased to see you. Very good morning and cordial welcome. On behalf
of the National Institute of Disaster Management, GIZ Germany, GIZ Advisory Services in
Environment Management and on behalf of ekDRM project we welcome you at his august
function. “Prikriti Gyanam, Rakshte Jeevanam!!’ means ‘Know the environment and life will be
saved’ is the central message of the ekDRM project. Life – not only humans but all life forms
including plants, animals and even microbes. Environment – the hills, the rivers, lakes, oceans,
sea, forests, natural and man-made….the dams, parks, and of course - the agro-ecosystems.
I welcome the dignitaries of the inaugural function today. Indeed it was a pleasure
amidst some setbacks and challenges, the kind gesture of Air Vice Marshal Dr. Ajit Tyagi,
Director General, Indian Meteorological Department have accepted our invitation to preside
over the session and deliver the inaugural address. Sir, your positive note came for us as a light
amidst darkness. You have always been helpful for the endeavours of NIDM in the past as well.
We shall look for your support and guidance in the entire course of the ekDRM project. Your
being with us and gracing this occasion is foremost important as the conference’s focus targets
climate related disasters. We welcome you sir.
Mr. Christian-Mathias Schlaga, Charge d’Affairs, Embassy of the Federal Republic of
Germany, represents Government of Germany on this occasion. Embassy of Germany
represents Indo-German cooperation affairs and has been instrumental in launching the ekDRM
project early this year. We welcome Mr. Schlaga in person and as representative of German
Maj. Gen. Dr. Siva Kumar, Head of National Natural Resources Data Management
System at Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India, is a fatherly figure for us
especially in guiding and supporting our endeavours related with natural resources data
systems, mapping and space technology applications. He took no single minute in extending his
concurrence to grace the function and this is indicative of his concern and commitment to the
cause of environmental knowledge. We welcome Dr Siva Kumar in this panel,
We welcome Dr. Dieter Mutz, Director of the ASEM programme of GIZ with Ministry of
Environment and Forests in India, who has not only been very supportive in processing of
ekDRM project, but also has been significantly involved with the conference organizing team at
various stages. ASEM programme as an umbrella for environmental planning for disaster risk
management and of which ekDRM is the project focusing mainly on hydro-meteorological
disasters and climate-risk related issues.
When we say – environmental knowledge, the questions comes – how? Especially in
terms of changes of temporal and large spatial contexts. The answer is in space technology. An
ecologist and renounced space technology expert, Dr P S Roy, Director of Indian Institute of
Remote Sensing, is an honoured figure in facilitating solutions for natural resource and disaster
risk challenges in the country. We welcome you sir in the inaugural session and as Keynote
speaker of the conference.
I welcome the special invitees and delegates, chairpersons and co-chairpersons, session
conveners and especially the research scholars who shall take the way forward proliferating the
outcomes of the scientific deliberations in this conference.
Evolution of ekDRM project has a story that actually started from the pink city Jaipur
where we were invited by Mr Florian for a iDRM network workshop. My colleague Sreeja Nair,
then Executive Direcotor Mr P G Dhar Chakrabarti and Director of Ifanos India Dr Sandhya
Chatterji fuelled the idea and coordinated to make this happen.
Growing significance on climate-related disasters and need to emphasis on water
related disasters have brought us closer and to workout a mutually agreed project. Choosing
the theme of environmental knowledge was triggered by realization that the Indian
environmental activism, although famous, lacks scientific strength in many contexts. Despite
the so called ‘paradigm shift’ in disaster management from ‘response and relief’ to ‘prevention
and mitigation’ approach the practitioners still belief investing in response framework and
resources. The actual reason for this is lack of understanding of actual causes of risks and
vulnerabilities of disasters particularly those related with water, climate and land.
I may be loud enough at this moment and call the environment and knowledge experts
of the nation and of the region particularly in South Asia to come forward and invest their
research and wisdom in helping policy makers and the communities understand the
environmental basis of risks and vulnerabilities. I like to quote here, I wanted to invite a leading
environmental NGO and magazine publisher in India, the one which has been famous for
pesticide controversy in soft drinks, the one which was famous for conducting ‘water
raillies…Pani Yatra’ to drought prone areas, the one which wrote a lot on climate change and
coastal issues…the head of it saying ‘your programme seems to be interesting but we work on
environment and not on disaster management’. It was a setback to me and I once again
realized that ‘ecology’ is still the ‘most talked’ but ‘least understood’ subject in India. In our
society, every third person is an environmentalist…the one who fails in his performance be the
engineering, the business, the politics…..the relief shelter for his or her career is in
environmentalist. This needs introspection.
In one of our programme – a law expert who is not an ecologist or a remote sensing
specialist but narrated “cutting of trees in the upstream and hills leads to cutting of throats in
the downstream’. If we think it’ll give great insight for our scientific ecological research of
assessing the impact of environmental damage leading to disasters on spatial or temporal
extents. And for this the role of space technology and geo-informatics is crucial.
Under the project activities shall focus on innovating training methodologies like
blended learning, development of reference literature and training materials including
publication of e-journal and newsletter, and development and maintenance of web-enabled
training and human resource management platform. Emphasis of the project shall be on hydro-
meteorological disasters with perspectives of environmental change – mainly 3 aspects:
climate-change, natural resources and land-use. As a beginning of the project, a background
literature has been prepared by inviting special papers from international experts in area of
environment and disasters. It will be released in this function by our dignitary guests.
Presence of representatives from Media, scientific correspondents, and policy making
bodies including Ministries and strategic institutions of educational and research promotion is
importance in taking the messages to action. We welcome representatives from press and
Government in this academic forum.
With your cooperation, blessings and insights the conference shall lead to a roadmap for
the future activities not only by NIDM but at many levels by many institutions and
organizations. I am delighted to see the august gathering here. I welcome you all once again.
. Inaugural session
9:30-9:40 Welcome – Dr. Anil K. Gupta, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)
9:40-9:50 Address – Dr. Dieter Mutz, Director ASEM programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft für
A.M. Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
9:50-10:00 Address – Dr. P.S. Roy, Director, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun
10:00- Special Address – Mr. Christian-Mathias Schlaga, Charge d’Affairs, Embassy of the
10:10 A.M. Federal Republic of Germany
10:20- Thematic Address - Maj. Gen. (Dr.) R. Siva Kumar, Head, Natural Resource Data
10:30 A.M. Management System, Dept. of Science and Technology, Govt. of India
10:20- Inaugural Address – AVM (Dr.) Ajit Tyagi, Director General, India Meteorology
10:30 A.M. Department, Govt. India
10:30-1040 Vote of Thanks – Florian Bemmerlein-Lux, Consultant, GIZ
10:40- High Tea
III. Valedictory Session
3:30 Welcome – Prof. Chandan Ghosh, NIDM
3:40 Conference Report - Dr. Anil K Gupta, NIDM
3:50 Special talk - Dr. S.K. Das, Director General, Central Statistical Organisation
4:00 Address - Mr. Thomas Wollnik, Head of Division, “Promotion of Democracy,
P.M. Administration Reforms, Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics” GIZ Bonn
4:15 Valedictory Address - Maj. Gen. (Dr.) J.K. Bansal, Hon’ble Member, Planning
P.M. Commission, Government of India
4:25 Vote of thanks - Ms. Sreeja S. Nair, NIDM