Asia-Pacific Youth Forum and Training Workshop on Mountain Adaptation

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A total of 47 participants from 17 countries in the Asia Pacific region, including government representatives, media personnel, researchers, academics, and members of civil society, convened at ICIMOD’s headquarters in Kathmandu to learn about adaptation issues and gaps in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. Participants included high-level bureaucrats, youth leaders, researchers, and tech innovators from the region. They engaged in capacity building, knowledge exchange and leadership exercises, and visited environmental projects to observe adaptation practices on the ground. 

The training helped the participants understand how to quantify the risks posed by climate change, and how to use technology to decide which adaptation measures to adopt. They learned about participatory approaches for measuring adaptation, collective learning and flexible planning, mobile applications for communication, development and disaster management, open data, knowledge sharing techniques, and networking, among others. They also observed technologies housed at the ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari, and visited stations in Kavre Palanchowk district to observe local adaptation measures for water conservation in the middle hills, where ICIMOD is conducting action research in collaboration with the Nepal Water Conservation Foundation (NWCF) under its Koshi Basin Programme

During the four-day event, the keynote speakers briefed the participants about the role of international community, civil society, youth and government in adaptation. Participants gained a general understanding of tools for operationalizing adaptation in their work. Young professionals were encouraged to share their knowledge of adaptation issues and build networks. Innovative adaptation initiatives were demonstrated during the knowledge session, such as the Community-based Flood Early Warning System, geo fencing, story maps, and the use of ICT in agriculture.

Gagan Thapa, Youth Leader and Member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal, talked about climate-related problems in Kathmandu. He discussed the impacts of climate change at the national and local levels, and elaborated on the theme ‘Livable Kathmandu’. Prof. Dr Govind Raj Pokharel, Vice-Chair of the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal, shared his vision of “mainstreaming climate change concerns and infrastructure, capacity building and education for tourism, energy and agriculture (ICE-TEA) into development planning” to achieve national prosperity.

At the closing ceremony, Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, said, “By sharing knowledge from ICIMOD, we hope to strengthen a network of climate- and adaptation-aware young ambassadors from across South Asia as they network, collaborate, and advocate for solutions to challenges facing mountain communities and environments.” He also encouraged the participants to make representatives in their respective countries accountable for their climate-related decisions, as the impacts of climate change will increasingly exacerbate living conditions.

In her concluding remarks, Anja Moller Rasmussen, Senior Manager of the Knowledge Management and Communication Unit at ICIMOD, said, “This forum provided young professionals from the Asia-Pacific region a platform to network, collaborate, and communicate. Over the past four days, they have observed first-hand what we do at ICIMOD through innovative knowledge sharing techniques.” 

The Asia Pacific Youth Forum was organized by ICIMOD through its Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN), in partnership with the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN). The event was made possible through generous support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under its Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Collaboration (SMD4GC). Initiated in 2010, ICIMOD’s youth forums bring youth from mountainous countries together to discuss policy needs and, thus, influence the Mountain Agenda at the global level.