What do mountains have to do with business?
The mountain ecosystems of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region have a pivotal role in protecting the environment and providing ecosystem goods and services essential for human wellbeing and prosperity. These ecosystems, comprising natural forests, rangelands, agricultural systems, wetlands, glaciers, and water systems, make important contributions to ecological resilience and sustainable economic development, in both mountain and downstream areas.
Mountain natural resources form the basis for many economic sectors – food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics; agriculture, forestry, and rangeland production; and hydropower and tourism. These resources must therefore be managed and used sustainably for the sustainability of business and livelihoods of mountain people.
Objective of the event
To convene representatives from the business sector, scientists, economists, and policy makers for dialogue on the role and responsibility of businesses and emerging opportunities for investing in mountain ecosystem management.
- Better understanding of the linkages between mountain ecosystems and business
- New partnerships between mountain development institutions, mountain communities, and the private sector
The concepts of bio-trade, green economy, fair trade, and inclusive business are gaining momentum. Many high-value natural resources in the HKH have enormous potential to cater to expanding markets for natural products at global, regional, and national levels. The value chain concept promotes production, processing, and marketing processes in a holistic way to foster accountability, transparency, and good governance for optimum benefit of stakeholders at different stages.
Managing natural and agricultural ecosystems
Maintaining the health of natural assets in the mountains is in the interest of businesses that depend on them. Amongst numerous approaches, incentive
mechanisms, also called payment for ecosystem services (PES), can provide benefits to both mountain communities and businesses. Himalayan agricultural
systems are important gene banks of traditional crop varieties. The region’s forests and meadows are often unique sources of plant species used in traditional medicines. These ecosystems are responsibly nurtured by the local communities. Hence, models of business in the Himalayas require a strong focus on sustainability and community livelihoods.
The Himalayas are important sources of hydropower and other forms of clean energy. Rapidly growing energy needs, particularly in countries with developing
economies such as China and India, open new opportunities for private-sector investment in the region – for the economic development of downstream
communities as well as the mountain people.
17:00 - 17:50 Registration with Pre-session High Tea
18:00 - 18:10 Welcome and Opening Remarks
18:10 - 19:15 Presentations
- High Value Products and Value Chains
- Mountain Ecosystem Services and Incentive Mechanisms
- Himalayan Ecosystems for Livelihood Development
- Clean Energy
19:15 - 19:55 Private Sector Panel on Business and Mountain
Ecosystem Linkages followed by Open Discussion
19:55 - 20:00 Closing Remarks