Regional Sharing Workshop on Assessment of Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific region for Rio +20


Vision for Rio+20: Revisiting the Sustainable Mountain Development Agenda from Asia Pacific Mountain Perspectives

Bringing local, national, and regional perspectives to the table


Twenty years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, also popularly known as the Rio Conference or Earth Summit, the world community is convening another important meeting, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also to be held in Rio, from 4-6 June 2012. The conference, dubbed ‘Rio+20’, is expected to do serious stocktaking of the progress made, experiences gained, and unfulfilled commitments in implementing various programmes and initiatives since the 1992 conference. It will focus on lessons learned and emerging opportunities, which will help in developing a roadmap for the future to ensure that human civilisation is preserved and human beings learn to live in harmony with nature and with each other.

Although the earlier Rio meeting formally recognised the significance of sustainable mountain development (SMD) in the environment and sustainability debate, through the inclusion of Chapter 13 in its Agenda 21, it is increasingly realised that little has been achieved in this area. Accordingly the members of the Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) are together developing a state-of-art review report on SMD challenges and opportunities in mountains and global policy briefs which will be shared with the participants at Rio+20. Selected MPC members working in different regions are tasked with developing regional assessment reports as the basis for developing these global reports and briefs; these regional reports will be presented at the Global Conference on Sustainable Mountain Development: Challenges and Opportunities for Rio+20, to be held in Lucerne, Switzerland in October 2011.

Rio+20 preparations in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas and the Asia Pacific region

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), as a member of the Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC), has been assigned the task of preparing a regional assessment report on SMD in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas (HKH) and the Asia Pacific region, with the following objectives:

  • to take stock of what has, and what has not, been achieved in promoting sustainable mountain development since 1992 in different parts of the region;
  • to learn what has worked and what has not – and why;
  • to identify current and future challenges in the HKH mountain context and to explore pathways and opportunities for addressing these; and
  • to identify the role of different stakeholders and propose a plan of work for preparing a draft regional report by September 2011.

Process and progress

Started in early 2011 in the Asia Pacific region, this preparatory process is managed by ICIMOD together with partner organisations and individual experts contributing to SMD process in the region. An MPC meeting in February 2011 outlined the structure of the global as well as regional assessment reports, identified lead partners, and defined the process. Following guiding documents and inputs received from MPC, ICIMOD together with the partners organised three virtual debates (email and web based), focused on the HKH (April 2011, 200 contributions, 296 participants), on South and Central Asia (May 2011, 550 participants, 400 contributions), and on Southeast Asia (June 2011, more than 160 participants), which were warmly welcomed by SMD communities across the region with an exceptionally high number of participants and extremely valuable contributions. 

In addition, a few experts from HKH countries and Southeast Asia have been identified to prepare case studies on relevant themes (such as governance for natural resource management, forestry, biodiversity conservation, biogas, and watershed management), showing the progress made in the past couple of decades and developing the way forward. 

Purpose of the workshop

The information collected through the above process will be further discussed, critically assessed, and refined during the Regional Sharing Workshop on Assessment of Potentials and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific Region for Rio+20, to be held at ICIMOD from 23 to 25 August 2011. The workshop will bring together around 40 experts from the Asia Pacific region, including the case study developers, active contributors to the virtual debates, government authorities, and representatives of major groups, international and UN agencies, and donor communities, to:

  • discuss and refine the case studies, virtual debate syntheses, and draft regional report prepared for the workshop;
  • identify good practices and missing links;
  • prioritise environmental issues in the region, and collect and consolidate issue-specific suggestions;
  • finalise the content and shape of the regional assessment report; and 
  • facilitate sharing of SMD-relevant information and knowledge in the region and promote regional cooperation.

Expected Outputs of the Workshop

  • Wide sharing, extensive discussion and rigorous validation of information and knowledge on SMD in the context of Rio+20, including validation of facts and figures
  • Regional priorities and recommendations to include in the final regional assessment report;
  • Formation of a responsive subgroup of people with good awareness of SMD, Chapter 13, and Rio +20 who are committed to contribute to the process

For further information

Dr Madhav Karki
Deputy Director General
Team Leader, Regional Assessment for Rio+20 in HKH and Asia Pacific Mountain region (a Mountain Partnership Consortium global initiative)

Mr Tek Jung Mahat
APMN Node Manager

Note: Participation in this workshop is by invitation only.