Participants in a workshop on “Creating a healthy society with focus on climate change, health and environment” at Bharatpur in Rajasthan earlier this week expressed concern over paucity of water in Keoladeo National Park and the threat of its de-listing from the World Heritage Sites looming large.

Experts attending the three-day workshop said the world-renowned park is in dire need of immediate intervention to restore its past glory by ensuring supply of 550-mcft water annually. Several species of birds have deserted the park following failure of projects to bring in water.

The environmental issues confronting the Keoladeo Park as well as ways to build up the capacity of stakeholders to address the challenges of climate change, pollution control, regeneration of degraded areas and conservation of flora and fauna were discussed at length during the workshop.

The Lupin Human Welfare and Research Foundation organised the event in collaboration with the Society for Environment Education and Development (SEED), Lucknow. It was aimed at enhancing the capacity of the civil society groups working at grassroots in the region.

Lupin Foundation Executive Director Sita Ram Gupta said the workshop was a “useful opportunity” for the 25 participants from the fields of wildlife, health care and community work to learn the concepts and emerging issues from the UNESCO and SEED experts.

Ram Bhooj, Programme Specialist (Ecological and Earth Science), UNESCO Office for South Asia, said one of the biggest challenges before development practitioners at present was bringing about sustainable development without disturbing the ecological balance.

The principle of equity is of paramount importance while dealing with issue of climate change.

Other speakers described environmental degradation as an inevitable consequence of economic development and people’s desire for better access to goods and services.