The city of Agra in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has a rich heritage and culture. It is the next big city on the banks of river Yamuna after the capital Delhi. The city also has a series of forts, monuments and structures of historical importance that invite travelers and tourists from all over the world. However and unarguably, it is the Taj Mahal – one of the seven wonders of the world, that not only puts Agra on the world map, but also makes it one of the three tourist destinations that form the Golden Triangle (Delhi – Jaipur – Agra).
The city of Agra has stood the test of time as conquering forces have passed through the subcontinent and taken hold of this jewel. But now that the hitherto unknown force of climate change looms large, citizen groups and the Indian Youth Climate Network have called for a city wide Youth Summit on Environment and Climate Change.
While the world awakens to this global threat, Agra and its youth sleep—unaware of the challenges that lie ahead for a city already beleaguered by the current sad state. Who will arise to this challenge of global proportions? Will Agra lie sleeping until it is too late? The city of the Taj which opens itself to millions from across the world annually deserves better.
As the number of tourists continue to soar, the city which lays in shambles must have its conscience awaken to ensure that the citizens arise to greater civic duty so that the image of not only our city, but of the nation is not tarnished in the eyes of the world. One of the seven wonders of the world resides here, let that be an inspiration to make Agra drive the winds of change towards a new vision of a better world, a more sustainable world.
This above is the vision for the day long Agra Calling Summit on the 2nd of August 2008, which aims to bring together three key stakeholders - the Government, the NGOs and the youth. The challenges the ’wonder’ful city of Agra faces today are not just the global ones. A toxic drain, the Yamuna, flows through the city. Traffic is becoming harder to manage. Monuments of Agra’s resplendent past crumble with neglect, and the populace has no direction how or where to begin to address these problems.
The summit will serve as a network wherein, the flow of information and action is from the experts to the masses through the channel of the students and the youth who have the energy and the vision to bring about change.
With inputs from Neha Chaturvedi, Coordinator: Agra Calling. The Summit is part of the Indian Youth Climate Network’s dedicated attempt to bring together the youth of India for a clean, bright future.