KATHMANDU, Nepal-In a bid to raise a strong voice for mountain issues in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, youths from the Asia-pacific region gathered at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu.
The five-day event, held from 30 September to 4 October 2013, culminated with the Asia Pacific Youth Declaration on Mountain Issues and post-2015 Development Agenda, urging the global community, and national governments to adopt development approaches that consider the vulnerability, and increased threats mountain people are facing due to various forms of social, environmental, and economic changes.
The Declaration emphasizes the need for more careful management of mountain environments to ensure the long-term sustainability of natural resources that benefit billions of people living both in the mountains and downstream.
The participants noted that to solve issues that cross borders, regional collaboration among mountain countries at all levels is necessary.
They also stressed the need to involve local communities, who are the traditional stewards of mountain resources and also highly dependent on them, to enhance the management and conservation of natural resources.
Purushottam Ghimire, Joint-secretary of Nepal’s National Planning Commission, shared the progress that developing and mountainous countries have made over the last three decades.
He noted that the outcome document of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference reflects the global significance of mountain issues and has given a strong foundation to take future action at the national and international level.
Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the young delegates and reiterated ICIMOD’s commitment to working with them and other young professionals. “By providing youth with a wealth of knowledge on sustainable development, we want to ensure they are prepared and capable to deal with emerging global issues when they become leaders”, Molden said.
The Asia-Pacific Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Post-2015 Development Agenda was attended by 45 participants from 15 countries from Asia and the Pacific, including Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
Thematic presentations were made at the forum on water, information and communication technology (ICT), climate change, biodiversity, and other international processes, and a select group of Nepal-based initiatives, including Siksha Nepal, Asian Youth Climate Movement, and Global Nepal 2012, were invited to talk to the participants.