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World Environment Day – Australia Awards alumni contributing to climate action in South Asia

Posted: 5 June 2022

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Alumni, Environment, Grants, Impact,

Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated on 5 June every year, engaging governments, businesses and individuals in an effort to address pressing environmental issues.

With the theme #OnlyOneEarth, the 2022 World Environment Day campaign calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.

Australia Awards alumni contributing to climate action in South Asia

Across South Asia, Australia Awards alumni are contributing to environment protection initiatives making a difference in their home countries and the wider region.

In Bangladesh, Jimi Chaka is contributing towards sustainable living every day. As an architect and an urban designer, he is passionate about constructing sustainable buildings that inspire users to be more environmentally friendly. In his teaching as an academic at the University of Asia Pacific, he enthusiastically trains students on ways to make cities more liveable, green and sustainable through urban design concepts and architectural innovations. Jimi believes “green architecture is crucial for the environment and the sustainability of human beings.”

Australia Awards alumnus Jimi Chakma

Alumna from Bangladesh, Dr Biswas Karabi Farhana is advancing air quality through scientific and societal atmospheric research. Karabi is a Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Management at North South University in Dhaka. She has also worked in prestigious research organisations in several countries. Her research findings significantly explained the sources, composition and chemistry of airborne particulate matters and gases in the global marine and terrestrial atmospheres. In undertaking atmospheric research, she explored all the continents and major oceans of the world, including the Antarctic regions and the remote Atlantic Ocean.

Alumna Dechen Dema is contributing to Bhutan’s energy sector. Dechen completed a Master of Renewable and Sustainable Energy at the Murdoch University in 2021 with the support of an Australia Awards Scholarship. Since then, she has sought to increase energy efficiency and opportunities for renewable energy through her role in as a Deputy Executive Engineer at the Energy Efficiency Division, Department of Renewable Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Bhutan. Dechen is helping to guide Bhutan’s pathway to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 and develop clean, renewable and affordable energy by 2030.

Australia Awards alumna Dechen Dema

Afia Salam is working to assess and assist in the designation and declaration of Marine Protected Areas along Pakistan’s coasts. She helped designate Astola Island, a four hundred square kilometre island off the coast of Balochistan, as Pakistan’s first Marine Protected Area. She is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Indus Earth Trust, which undertakes ‘green construction’ by promoting eco-friendly buildings, water replenishment, wastewater treatment and provision of alternative energy solutions, among other social sector interventions.

Australia Awards alumni in Nepal have been instrumental in addressing the many challenges brought about by climate change. Earlier this year, seven alumni received Australia Awards Climate Action Grants to support four separate projects (three delivered by individuals and one by a group of four) that each contributed to Nepal’s climate change response. pn 8 June 2022, these alumni will be presenting their project outcomes at the ‘Alumni Forum on Climate Action’ organised by Australia Awards – Nepal.

Alum Avishek Malla used his grant to conduct a training for 100 Kathmandu University engineering students on various renewable energy technologies and their different applications in Nepal

Broader commitment to environmental sustainability

The Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia team is promoting a culture of environmental awareness by implementing key measures such as:

  • reducing its carbon footprint by conserving electricity, paper and water; recycling consumed materials; and implementing a ‘no plastic’ policy during all events
  • communicating its commitment to environmental sustainability to employees, stakeholders and clients.

Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia also aim to create linkages and networks between alumni, not only within their countries, but across the region. Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia supports the  Champions for the Environment and Climate Action Community of Practice, which links alumni across the region working on environmental sustainability and climate change. These alumni use this forum to share ideas and seek advice on how to address transboundary and multi-country issues relating to environmental protection and climate action relevant to all countries of the region.

Image at top of page thanks to Unsplash