Punjab-based NGO shares initiatives on road safety, environment conservation at annual UN ECOSOC partnership forum


United Nations, February 3

An India-based NGO shared initiatives undertaken by it like reflective stickers for bicycles, a ‘Helmet Bank’ and a ‘Children Challan Book’ for road safety and environment conservation at an annual forum of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) here.

The ECOSOC meeting highlighted the need for “revitalised partnerships” to recover stronger from the pandemic and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Patiala Foundation CEO Ravee Singh Ahluwalia participated in the Economic and Social Council Annual Partnership Forum 2023 this week where NGOs accredited with the UN body, agencies and stakeholders gathered at the UN headquarters here and highlighted the need for concerted efforts to combat challenges arising from the pandemic, Ukraine conflict and other crises.

Honoured to be participating in #2023ECOSOCPartnershipForum United Nations representating PATIALA FOUNDATION #INDIA https://t.co/PBKxmPf91O

— Ravee S Ahluwalia (@Ravee1313) January 31, 2023

Punjab-based Patiala Foundation was accorded ECOSOC Special Consultative Status in 2018 and works in the field of protection and regeneration of livelihood, heritage conservation, road safety and environment conservation, issues that are the focus of various Sustainable Development Goals.

The organisation works mainly in the state of Punjab but has projects operational in other cities of India as well.

Ahluwalia told PTI that the forum provided a platform for NGOs, agencies and stakeholders to share best practices and efforts undertaken at local levels across the globe towards achieving the SDGs and tackling various challenges.

The forum “opens up new opportunities and ideas to work towards our principles of achieving a better social environment for our people and bringing a positive change in society,” he said.

Outlining various initiatives undertaken by the foundation, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ahluwalia said that with a view to enhance road safety, the organisation provided reflective stickers for bicycles, initiated the concept of a ‘Helmet Bank’, designed a ‘Children Challan Book’ to promote awareness of traffic rules among young kids and established a ‘Road Victims Memorial’ in memory of those who lost their lives in road accidents.

Ahluwalia said Patiala Foundation has collaborated with the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh and Smart City Chandigarh for exploring next-generation road safety mechanisms using Artificial Intelligence and drafting the Non-Motorised Transport Bill for the Union Territory to safeguard the rights of pedestrians and non-motorised transport.

Under this initiative, Ahluwalia said around 25,000 people have been sensitised towards road safety directly through 137 talks at schools, colleges, universities, associations and organisations. Nearly 100 reflective sticker camps have been held in Punjab and Chandigarh, more than 2,000 Children Challan books have been distributed among school children, 500 helmets have been distributed in Patiala and Chandigarh and 500 people have been given training about basic road safety measures and support.

The foundation also doubled its focus on creating digital platforms for essential service providers under the livelihood project ‘iSEWA’. Through this initiative, the Patiala Foundation mapped all essential service providers in the cities of Punjab as well as surrounding states and provided their information on one digital platform for community use.

Under the iHERITAGE project, Patiala Foundation conducts events and heritage walks among school children and local population as well as visitors to create awareness about the local heritage and culture.

Under the environment conservation project ‘Prithvi’, Patiala Foundation distributes dry leaf composters to citizens for managing and recycling garden waste.

“The project takes care not only of the environment but also allows people to sell the compost. It allows us to maintain soil nourishment, preserve resources, control burning of plant waste, and make economical benefits too,” he said.

The UN said that speakers at the ECOSOC forum highlighted the need for renewed broad-based engagement, reinvigorated political commitment and revitalised partnerships across all sectors of society to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and realise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ECOSOC President Lachezara Stoeva underlined that the lingering effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, conflicts and humanitarian challenges “are re-opening deep-seated scars and fragilities and compounding the inequalities between and within countries.” She said there must be unprecedented, bold global partnership for reversing extreme poverty, easing debt burdens and mobilising finance, and called for the international community to radically raise its ambitions to provide more targeted and harmonised multilateral support for communities and people at risk of being left behind.

While national governments bear the primary responsibility for making this happen, they cannot do so without the active participation of stakeholders across all sectors of society, Stoeva said in a UN press release, adding that they must leverage the knowledge and resources of all actors and foster truly transformative and game-changing partnerships.

“My earnest hope is to open the doors of all ECOSOC meetings to welcome and engage all institutions and peoples from all walks of life — including not only the most prominent but also the least visible,” she said, emphasising the important role of all in realising the sustainable future.