Asia-Pacific Youth Forum 2013 Declaration on Mountain Issues and Post-2015 Development Agenda

Introduction

Forty-five young representatives from 15 countries of the Asia-Pacific region assembled at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal, to participate in the Asia-Pacific Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Post-2015 Development Agenda from 30 September to 4 October 2013. 

Declaration

We realize that the challenges of climate change, sustainable economic development, and effective ecosystem management in mountainous areas have not been addressed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We acknowledge that there is a limited interest from governments and the private sector in achieving the sustainable development agenda in the region. Because of this, the implementation of MDGs has become a challenge to the bodies concerned, which will possibly hinder the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well. Thus, we adopt this Declaration with the aim to ensure sustainable development in the mountain areas of Asia and the Pacific in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and urge international governing bodies, national governments, private sector, and civil society to accelerate the progress toward the achievement of SDGs. Thus, the participants of the Asia-Pacific Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Post-2015 Development Agenda formulate the following recommendations:

Environmental Issues

  • The Post-2015 Development Agenda must encourage research and long-term monitoring regarding environmental issues such as climate change, disaster resilience, biodiversity conservation, water and energy demands.
  • The Post-2015 Development Agenda must focus on mitigation and adaptation through knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and financial investment.

Social Issues

  • The development model for mountain communities must consider culturally sensitive and inclusive human development with zero tolerance for identity-based inequality at all levels; must include provisions for capacity enhancement, and must ensure sustainable livelihood options for mountain people in their own localities.
  • Governments and international funding bodies must address social issues, including a lack of access to quality education and healthcare, unemployment and migration, and cultural degradation, in order to ensure a better quality of life.

Issues Relevant to Mountain Economy

  • It is crucial to have a holistic, integrated approach for efficient natural resource management and infrastructure development in mountainous areas, and there should be equitable profit-sharing between the government, the people living upstream, and the people living downstream.
  • Governments should cultivate better relationships with development partners to utilize their support more effectively and to create self-sustainability of the mountain economy focusing mainly on agricultural production, ecotourism, etc.

Issues Relevant to Governance 

  • Assurance of the Post-2015 Development Agenda should be legally binding with consideration of environmental aspects for all development plans and projects.
  • Civil society must ensure proper monitoring of the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda with zero corruption through an independent civil society observing body.
  • Youth call on international governing bodies to minimize military aid and utilize aid for implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
  • Youth encourage the use of ICT for development including an international protocol that includes intergovernmental data sharing.

Conclusion

We call on international governing bodies, national governments, private sector, and civil society to consider this declaration as a strong voice of the youth from the Asia-Pacific region. We propose to establish an Asia-Pacific Mountain Youth Task Force with support from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Asian Youth for Climate Change. This will provide a platform for the youth of the region to voice concerns to policymakers, exchange ideas, and support youth projects in raising awareness and promoting mountain entrepreneurship and academic research.