Pakistani youths deliberate mountain agenda


Thirty young individuals from different provinces of Pakistan attended the Pakistan National Youth Forum on mountain issues and Post-2015 Development Agenda held in Islamabad from 25 to 27 October 2013. 

The Forum was organized jointly by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Mountain & Glacier Protection Organization (MGPO). It provided the participants an opportunity to network, highlight environmental issues, and promote best practices in mountain regions of Pakistan.  

The main objectives of the Forum were to advocate sustainable mountain development, build leadership capacity for youths, and provide a networking and knowledge sharing platform. 

The vice president of World Meteorological Organization and Senior Advisor (Climate Change) LEADs Pakistan, Dr Qamar Uz Zaman Choudhary, graced the occasion as chief guest. Speaking at the Forum, he said mountain youth are the most isolated segment of the society, and “they need to be streamlined in the national and international decision making, because policies and decisions taken today will have a direct impact on them”.

ICIMOD’s Senior Manager of Knowledge Management and Communication, Anja Møller Rasmussen, highlighted the Centre’s efforts towards mountain youth empowerment, capacity building, and the critical need to involve them in international negotiations or decision making.

The participants drafted a declaration to be presented at the UNFCCC COP19 in November 2013 in Poland. Intergenerational panel discussion on renewable energy was held and a green excursion undertaken to National Cleaner Production Centre to see the biodiversity park, biogas plants, and solar power technology. 

Among others, the Draft Declaration states that Pakistan faces major environmental issues and needs better infrastructure for water management, and calls for improved wellbeing of the people of Pakistan. The government’s development agenda must place enough importance to the mountains both in North and North-Western parts of the country.

“Young people are quite unaware of the mountains and their importance with respect to biodiversity and tourism, therefore, concrete measures should be taken to bring such information/knowledge in high school curricula,” states the Draft Declaration. “Virtual forums must be developed for the young people of Pakistan to learn and research more about mountains, sustainability, and biodiversity in Pakistan.”

At the grassroots, the Declaration states, the Union and District Councils must provide support to foster community-based interaction between young people and stakeholders on climate-related issues, including flood, earthquake, mitigation, and green economy.

The president of National Youth Assembly of Pakistan, Hanan Abbasi, attended the closing session of the Forum.