WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit Adopts Eco-Friendly Methods

Summit prioritizes sustainability with biodegradable badges, eco-friendly cutlery, digital signage, and wooden exhibition spaces with real plants

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The Ministry of Ayush has been adopting and propagating eco-friendly methods to reduce carbon emissions and environmental pollution, aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The recently concluded WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat hosted by WHO and co-hosted by Ministry of Ayush clearly demonstrated it. This effort led to reduction of approximately 72,960 Kg of CO2 equivalent emission. It is estimated that more than 50 thousand plastic bottles & 30,000 single use plastic cutleries were avoided. Summit was completely paperless and had strong online presence, thereby reducing transport emission as much as possible. Instead of plastic; badges were made of biodegradable material and in exhibition zone only reusable materials were used.

The summit witnessed a unique initiative, where delegates and participants’ badges were biodegradable and ready to be planted – seed papers (marigolds). Bio-degradable cutlery, glass bottles were used over the entire duration, signages at the airport were mostly digital and some of the large outdoor hoardings were on fabric and not on flex as is common practice, 90% of the exhibition space was constructed using wood with extensive use of real plants and reusable materials. The summit was paperless, and all media event and related documents were made available through the online platforms and App (e.g., brochures/flyers, information booklets, conference programme updates etc.). Ministry feels that such initiatives will have a large impact in the long run and initiatives taken for reduction of carbon emissions can be precedence for other such large scale events.

One of the major thrusts of the summit was to have online presence, thereby reducing the need to travel. In total, there have been 6,046 streams of the Summit online, both live and Video/recordings, significantly reducing the number of participants/travels onsite. This effort paid off, as significant amount of carbon emission was avoided.

The Ministry of Ayush and WHO efforts are aligned to the G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration, which reiterates commitment to achieve global net zero GHG emissions/carbon neutrality by or around midcentury.

In March 2019, 4th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), adopted a resolution on “Addressing Single-use plastic products pollution” (UNEP/EA.4/R.9), which “encourages Member States to take actions, as appropriate, to promote the identification and development of environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastic products, taking into account the full life cycle implications of those alternatives”.

Not only during recently concluded first WHO traditional Medicine Global Summit but other two global event held in April 2022, i.e. ground breaking ceremony of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) and the 3-day Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit (GAIIS) also saw same commitment of the Ministry.

During those twin events, use of more than 1 lakh plastic bottles, 15000 plastic tags and 50 thousand plastic cutleries was avoided. Furthermore, it was estimated that if the carbon emission scenario is taken into account, it turned out that it succeeded in reducing 1,19,437.5 kg Co2 equivalent emission.

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