Engaging youth in mountain development


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) joined the Sustainable Development Forum of Nagaland (SDFN), YouthNet, and LEAD India to organize the Indian Himalayan Youth Summit 2013 in Kisama, Nagaland. 

Held on 22 and 23 September 2013, the Summit was attended by over 90 young people from the Indian states of Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, and West Bengal. Participants included young graduates, members of the Indian Administrative Service, representatives from NGOs, and resource persons from various organisations such as UNDP and Central Himalayan Environmental Association (CHEA).

Speaking at the Summit, the Sports & Youth Resources Minister of Nagaland, Mr Merentoshi R Jamir, highlighted the role of young people in solving the very many environmental, social, and climate-related challenges. Providing an overview of the resources the Himalayas offer and the challenges the present generation is facing, he emphasised the need to bring young and senior experts on the same platform to analyse the problems and draw suitable solutions. 

In his keynote address, Mr Mmhonlumo Kikon, MLA and Chairman, MARCOFED Nagaland, highlighted the need for developing better scientific understanding about the Himalayas in order to develop and implement appropriate actions across the Indian Himalayas. He urged all Himalayan states to come together to take collective actions. 

The Chief Secretary of Nagaland, Shri Alemtemshi Jamir, announced that the State of Nagaland would organize the Indian Himalayan Youth Summit every year in Kohima to promote collaboration among youth across the region. This is the second major ICIMOD activity in India dedicated to building capacity of youth from the Indian Himalayas. 

The Youth Summit prepared a set of recommendations in agriculture, forestry, and water sectors to be presented at the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) III 2013 planned in Kohima. Participants from Sikkim and Nagaland presented the recommendations in a special plenary attended by senior Indian government officials, and representatives of development organisations and the Hindu Kush Himalaya region on the second day of the Summit. Called Kohima Declaration, the recommendations received a very positive response from the panelists and participants. 

Speaking at the plenary, Dr BMS Rathore, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India, said youth must be seen as part of country’s development process. He urged development institutions and government departments to engage youth in their activities.