School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences

PhD Student Appointed to KZN Climate Change and Sustainable Development Council

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PhD student in Geography and Environmental Management and Hindu youth leader, Ms Tashmica Sharma has been appointed by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs to represent the South African Hindu Maha Sabha on the KZN Climate Change and Sustainable Development Council chaired by the Honourable Premier of the province, Mr Sihle Zikalala, for the period February 2021 to March 2024.

Welcoming Sharma, Zikalala said: ‘I take this opportunity to welcome you to the Council and look forward to your contribution and oversight role. I trust that you will greatly assist the KwaZulu-Natal government in managing the impacts of climate change and promoting sustainable development in partnership with its communities.’

Sharma’s role in the Council will include implementing, monitoring and evaluating response options defined in provincial and district climate change action plans/strategies with a focus on prioritising the most vulnerable sectors; research on sustainable development for appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies; and capacity building to empower communities to respond to ecological challenges. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on 19 March.

Sharma is an environmental scientist with an active interest in the fields of climate change, sustainable development and urban political ecology. Her PhD research, which focuses on environmental justice and disaster management in Durban South, is supervised by Professor Brij Maharaj. She served the South African Hindu Maha Sabha (SAHMS) as a youth leader from 2015 to 2018 and thereafter became a member of the Women’s Forum of the Sabha. She is also the current secretary of the Shree Sanathan Dharma Sabha of South Africa.

‘This appointment is a very relevant forum to apply all the academic knowledge from the various degrees that I obtained at UKZN as well my experience gained from civic organizations to create a better environment and save all the endangered species of the various life forms for a peaceful co-existence,’ said Sharma.

Words: Brij Maharaj

Photograph: Supplied