International conference on poverty and vulnerability

   TwitCount

Seen as the major highlight of 2013, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal, organized a four-day international conference on ‘Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas: Forging Regional Partnerships to Enable Transformative Change’ from 1 to 4 December 2013 at the ICIMOD premise in Khumaltar, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Photo credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Inaugurating the conference, the president of Nepal, Rt. Honorable Dr Ram Baran Yadav, said mountain environmental and developmental issues are transboundary in nature that call for both regional and international cooperation. “The research studies and knowledge generated by ICIMOD gives the Government of Nepal and other Himalayan countries evidence-based knowledge to initiate correct action and also to pursue the agenda of sustainable mountain development at the global forum,” President Yadav said.

Welcoming more than 200 international and regional scientists, policymakers, researchers, practioners, representatives of governments, international development agencies, and non-government organizations, ICIMOD’s Director General Dr David Molden said time has now come to develop practical solutions to the issues facing the Hindu Kush Himalayas

Photo credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

“We recognize that there are many challenges ahead, including extreme poverty and vulnerability in the mountains,” he said. “We also recognize that the situation has changed over 30 years with out-migration, urbanization, globalization, and climate change, and the situation is even more complex.”

Dr Molden said the participants of the Conference must therefore put their minds and hearts together to address the issues of poverty and vulnerability. He said the Conference must develop practical solutions and help define the post-2015 development agenda so that it is relevant for mountains and people.

The keynote speaker, Phrang Roy, Chair of North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society, said one daunting poverty and vulnerability challenge for the Himalayan region is the unequal access to resources between communities and within communities. Citing the renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz, he said inequality fuels exclusion mechanisms that the powerful manipulate to the detriment of the marginalized. “We need to find ways to overcome inequality so that people can improve their livelihoods and enhance their wellbeing and happiness,” he said.

Photo credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

The conference featured three high level policy panels, three plenary sessions, six parallel sessions, and a dialogue forum on inclusive business. Deliberations focused on various dimensions of poverty in the Hindu Kush Himalayas. The conference emphasized the centrality of inclusive economic growth for mountain development. A strong platform for mountain women was suggested. 

Some participants said there is a ‘disconnect’ in knowledge of mountain issues between people living in the plains and those in the mountains. To bridge the gap, it was suggested to bring mountain people, especially women, together and give them a platform to voice their issues. It was recommended that indigenous people should be engaged in social development to gain from their accumulated knowledge. 

Photo credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

The conference strongly endorsed that partnership and regional cooperation are crucial and must be strengthened. The participants unanimously agreed that engaging private sector as responsible partner in inclusive development in HKH region would create meaningful impact on poverty eradication. Outlining the contours of Post-2015 Development Agenda in the mountain context, the panelists highlighted the need for capability enhancement of the mountain people to transform their own future.

It was suggested that ICIMOD should continue its role as a ‘peace broker’ through knowledge sharing in the region to achieve sustainable mountain development.  

For more information, please visit the conference website http://www.icimod.org/?q=11269. You may also watch the live streamed sessions @ http://www.icimod.org/?q=icpv_prog