International ‘Living Water for All’ Conference Marking UN World Water Day Held in Amritsar

Religious leaders, academics and industry professionals gathered at the Nishkam International Centre, Amritsar to discuss how to accelerate change in overcoming water problems in Punjab and globally.

“Accelerating change” was the theme of 2023 UN World Water Day being marked by the United Nations today. Punjab, like other parts of India and the world, is facing a great environmental crisis involving depleting ground water levels, pollution, and climate change amongst other issues.

The Living Water for All conference brings together religious leaders, academics, industry professionals and community leaders from around the world. The topics of discussions include highlights from the 1st All India Annual State Ministers’ Conference on Water; Insights into the UN perspective on Water; first-hand accounts of the local challenges facing Punjab; and the proposals for pathways to water education and water harvesting. The primary aim of the Living Peace Projects initiative is to preserve and protect sacred water sources while ensuring that clean water is provided for all, leaving nobody behind.

Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, gave his thoughts from the UN, “the sacred insight given by different religious scriptures, concerning oneness of humanity, has now become a practical necessity to be adopted for meeting global climate and water challenges.”

“We need to nurture good human beings, through inculcating virtues and values in them. Virtues such as compassion, accountability, contentment, humility, optimism, and an abundance of love. We need both scientific knowledge and religious wisdom to accelerate change and make a difference,” said Bhai Sahib, Bhai Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, OBE, KSG, co-chair of the conference.

“I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, every one of us will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility to ensure that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy clean water. Each of us must learn to work for the benefit of all humankind. Without that, there can be no real survival, or peace,” said H.H. The Dalai Lama via remote message.

“We need to bridge the gap between our heads and our hearts. Our heads think in a logical pragmatic way, and our hearts feel in a more holistic way. We need to bridge this gap so we can accelerate change,” said Brigitte van Baren, co-chair of the conference.

“I congratulate the organiser Bhai Sahib for imbuing the messages from our eternal sacred scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, throughout this conference at their Nishkam International Centre, here in the holy city of Amritsar. Thank you for bringing together different religious leaders and professional specialists to work together on water literacy and needed water action here in Punjab and globally,” said Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami, President of SGPC, the organisation responsible for the management of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar as well as all other historical gurdwaras in Punjab.

H.H. Pujya Swami Aveshanand Giri Maharaj offered a message, “the fundamental requirement of life is water. Saving water is just as vital as protecting life, as water is the primary medium through which life originates, develops, and is sustained. The Sanatan Hindu Vedic traditions urges safeguarding water by honouring it like a deity.”

H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji added, “conserving mother nature and conserving our culture will conserve our future!” While Chief Arvol Looking Horse commented, “mother nature is our source of life, not a resource.”

Dr. Sharad Jain and Dr. Bhupinder Singh, both professors from IIT Roorkee, were amongst those that provided comprehensive technical presentations and proposed courses of action. Hydrology experts from the National Institute of Hydrology, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology and Punjab Agricultural University also joined them.

The conference was organized by Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, and Brigitte van Baren, Chair Living Peace Projects Foundation a non-profit initiative founded in 2018 in the Netherlands by Brigitte van Baren and the late former Dutch Minister and IMF leader Prof. Dr. Johannes Witteveen.

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