Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was honoured for his pioneering work in the field of organic farming during a ceremony at Germany’s Lagau on the occasion of the One World Festival. Chamling was conferred the Grand Prix Award during the One World Award ceremony on September 8 at a mega event attended by nearly 700 guests who had arrived from different countries, said a statement.
The award was jointly handed over by Gerd Muller, the Federal Minister of Bavaria, and Joseph Wilhelm, German Organic Pioneer and Managing Director of Rupenzel.
In his acceptance speech, Chamling said: “Fourteen years ago, when we began the organic campaign in our Himalayan province of Sikkim in India, little did I know that years down the line, people and communities would be driving an organic revolution, in different parts of the globe. Today, I feel immensely honoured to be in your company, and to be in solidarity with you, in striving to make the world a better place through organic agriculture.”
He said that in 2003 they made a declaration in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly to turn Sikkim into a completely organic state. “After 12 years of consistent work, we were declared the first organic state of the country by the Prime Minister of India on January 18, 2016.”
“Our initiatives in Sikkim are led by the belief that clean air, water and appropriate climate are fundamental human rights, and ensuring these for the people is not a question of politics; it is a moral obligation. I also realize that governments alone cannot address this universal crisis. People, communities and governments must work together to overcome the dangers of a fast developing world,” he said.
Chamling said that it is a matter of great pride for the people of Sikkim and India that their humble endeavour from a Himalayan state has been recognized by the famed International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement.
He also thanked the people of Sikkim “for taking on the challenge completely, and working tirelessly towards transforming our state into the first organic state in the world. This recognition is for you!”
Noted environmentalist Vandana Shiva, a member of the selection jury, said Chamling was the only politician to have obtained the love and support of the people for five consecutive terms with his hard work. She went on to praise the culture and people of Sikkim where nature and humans co-exist with mother nature.
Besides Chamling, the OWA Grand Prix was conferred on representatives of the United World Colleges (UWC) from Freiburg (Germany) and Pune (India). Each of the two winners received a prize money of 15,000 Euro and an OWA statue created by Vietnamese-German artist Dao Droste.
The award is presented every three years by Rapunzel and IFOAM – Organics International to people and initiatives that have an outstanding impact on the international organic movement and its ideas. This year the winners were from India, Palestine, Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Germany.