SPG Net Zero Fellowship 2023 to enlighten emerging leaders about climate change

Net Zero Fellowship
Last year around 100 participants from across the country attended the event. Photo: Special arrangement

A group of political activists and influencers of the country are set to come together and discuss the increasing challenge of climate change as the 2023 edition of the Net Zero Fellowship will begin in Goa on March 31.

The annual event is organised by Bengaluru-based School of Policy and Governance (SPG). The exclusive ‘by invitation only’ programme for emerging political and public leaders will facilitate a deeper understanding of India's Net Zero position and plans for tackling climate change.

The two-day in-person Southern Region Workshop in Goa will introduce participants to the issues and pathways to a low carbon or Net Zero economy. SPG is convening four separate regional workshops, covering the southern, northeastern, northern, and western regions of the country.

The current southern cohort for the fellowship, scheduled to be held from March 31 to April 2, has some of India’s emerging and enterprising leaders, including active political representatives of various parties, bureaucrats, journalists, and public leaders from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

The fellowship programme will cover climate change topics that affect the livelihood of rural folks, forest dwellers and fisherfolks at grassroots.

“SPG is a not-for-profit graduate institution started in 2017. We focus on education and research on public policy issues in the global south. We tend to focus more on contemporary issues and climate change is one of them. The idea of Net Zero Fellowship came from a conversation with some young politicians where they asked us about climate change. The issue is evolving faster than politicians can catch up and they wanted a safe space to learn about it. What we believe an SPG is that unless these politicians have the tools and the framework to understand the issue they won’t be able to make good decisions,” Ruchir Punjabi, chairman of SPG, said.

Last year around 100 participants from across the country attended the event which was held mostly online due to pandemic-related constraints.

Ruchir Punjabi
Ruchir Punjabi, chairman of SPG, says the objective of Net Zero Fellowship is to give politicians a safe space to discuss and learn about climate change without being judged. Photo: Special arrangement

On the experience of engaging with politicians for an academic exercise, Punjabi said “Most of them want to learn. Most politicians agree on more things than they disagree when it comes to the realm of learning. Our objective is to give them a safe space to discuss and learn about climate change without being judged.”

He said SPG could help the fellows in drafting laws and policies and in understanding the root causes of the problems they have to deal with.

As a follow-up of the fellowship programme, SPG conducts a series of alumni events. The institute also takes ideas from the fellows and helps to implement them.

“SPG is committed to driving global action on climate change and placing it at the forefront of the agenda as India assumes the G20 Presidency. Through convening dialogues and teaching/mentorship by subject matter experts, the participants will attain greater clarity about India’s transition and become part of a community of fellows who are champions for climate change in India,” a statement by SPG said.

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