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Discourse on culture of peace concludes

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Dec 17, 2019 9:03 pm
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Our Correspondent
Kohima, Dec. 17 (EMN):
The 2019 edition of a discourse on cultures of peace concluded on Tuesday. The dialogue explored environmental-related topics including the ecology, environment, natural resources and its vulnerabilities in being exploited in the name of development, among others.

One of the panellists was Dolly Kikon, a senior lecturer at the Anthropology and Development Studies Program of the University of Melbourne in Australia. She raised issues of ecology, coal mining, water scarcity, effect of Climate Change, among others that confront the indigenous communities particularly those in the north-eastern region.

Speaking about the issue of coal mining in the region, particularly in the eastern parts of Nagaland, Kikon said “immense land” had been turned into a private coal mining zones. In her study of coal mining, she found out that a lot of forest had been destroyed in the process of mining. A debate is happening in Australia over this issue as it is something people really need to look into, Kikon said.

Kikon queried whether Article 371 (A), which is a special provision to Nagaland state for ‘ownership and transfer of land and its resources,’ is being applied by the people to safeguard, or to destroy resources. This is something which one should ponder upon and address the issue together, she said.

Kikon suggested that various bodies like the indigenous and tribal organisations, judiciary, and environmental advocacies are engaged to take a look at the aspect of environmental justice.

“Over decades, scientists had taken away samples of our resources without having any ethics. As a result, these species, which the locals assumed that they are only found in the region, is now available across countries. For this reason, today we just cannot produce,” she said.

The ecology in the Northeast region has to do with the history of militarisation, according to Kikon. She also spoke about the importance of conservation of local resources, and appealed to the people to sustain them.

“As leaders, as concerned citizen, and community members, one should be mindful of things around us,” she added.

Kikon spoke also about Climate Change and water scarcity and how severely the two are severely affecting the people. She urged upon the people to come together to share a common future.

The director of HR and Finances of North East Network, Seno Tsuhah, spoke about shared sovereignty or seed sovereignty in the context of farmers. She said that the gap between the “haves” and “have not” is growing including in the Northeast region.

Monoculture in the name of development, she said, is covering the landscape of our land. She therefore suggested maintaining a balance. She urged the indigenous communities to think before accepting any developmental projects in the rural areas whether such developments are truly beneficial for them or is an ecological disturbance.

She went on to query whether the people are defending their territory or destroying them by allowing such developments. The official encouraged dialogue and discourse whether similar issues and topics are being discussed at the grass-roots.

The two-day event was conducted at Hotel Japfü in Kohima. It was organised by The Morung Express, Zubaan, and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, India.

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Dec 17, 2019 9:03:23 pm