Increased visibility and effective advocacy of the Mountain Agenda at Rio+20

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Contributions to boosting the Mountain Agenda at Rio+20

After a year of planning and numerous preliminary events leading up to the Rio+20 Conference 20–22 June, the success of several side events and a high-level meeting at the summit has demonstrated ICIMOD’s capacity to network and successfully convene individuals of influence from a variety of perspectives to further the Mountain Agenda. Through these important events, ICIMOD made significant contributions to influence the Rio+20 Outcome Document, ‘The Future We Want’. The document included a specific chapter on mountains with three prominent paragraphs (210, 211, and 212) which spelled out the global benefits of mountain ecosystems, the vital role mountain people have in ensuring sustainable development, and a call for international support for mountain development in developing countries. ICIMOD’s team at Rio+20 was led by Director General David Molden and included Madhav Karki, Golam Rasul, Ritu Verma, and Tek Mahat. 

High-level meeting and side events attended by global leaders

At the summit, ICIMOD organized an official UNCSD side event on Mountain Knowledge Solutions for Sustainable Green Economy and Improved Water, Food, Energy, and Environment Nexus to highlight the need for better management of mountain natural resources as global public goods supplying water for life, food for health, and clean energy for livelihoods. ICIMOD also participated in the organization of the Mountain Pavilion – the only pavilion at the summit devoted to a global ecosystem – which showcased mountains as vital global commons that don’t recognize political boundaries. ICIMOD organized three side events at the Mountain Pavilion: 

  • Global Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Sustainable Actions; 
  • Role of Mountains in Promoting Green Growth and Making Development Sustainable; and 
  • Women at the Frontline of Sustainable Mountain Development with a panel discussion. 

All of the side events were well attended and resulted in messages that were well-received by the Rio+20 delegation and mountain stakeholders. 

ICIMOD also facilitated a high-level meeting on the Mountain Agenda, jointly organized by the governments of Nepal, Peru, and Switzerland. The event welcomed Chief Guest Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Nepal, as well as ministers and high-level representatives from important mountain countries, including Peru, Switzerland, and Austria, and development agencies, including the World Bank and UNEP. In his address Dr Bhattarai said “Research, learning, and the exchange of information and the best practices for promoting the interface among traditional knowledge, science, policy, capacity building, technical expertise, and innovation are critical for sustainable mountain development”. He also called for an enhanced level of collaboration and networking among specialized regional and international institutions. 

Other prominent personalities addressing ICIMOD events included Nobel Laureate Dr R.K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC; Ministers of Environment from Bhutan, Nepal, and Peru; and the Assistant Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). ICIMOD also organized a mountain biodiversity and ecosystems-themed information marketplace, which was visited by a large number of conference attendees including the President of Peru, the Prime Minister of Nepal, and various ministers and head of delegations. ICIMOD staff and youth volunteers from ICIMOD’s member countries greeted visitors and shared ICIMOD knowledge products, which were popular and greatly appreciated. 

Details on ICIMOD side events at Rio+20 are available here.

Multimedia events showcasing initiatives to highlight the plight of mountains and mountain people

ICIMOD showcased two informative multimedia events at the Mountain Pavilion: a video presentation on the 1,700 km Great Himalayan Trail: Climate Smart Trek by 21-time Everest summiter Apa Sherpa; and a video on People’s Initiative for Biodiversity Conservation led by Mr Ananda Pokharel (NRM People’s Parliament, Nepal). These two events demonstrated how individuals who have excelled in their own fields, like mountaineering or politics, are also championing the interests of mountain communities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region through individual and collective efforts to raise awareness and find solutions. 

Collaboration and knowledge partnership at other Rio+20 events 

Members of the ICIMOD team were also prominent speakers, panellists, and co-organizers of a number of other events. In these events, representatives from ICIMOD shared the latest knowledge and experiences from the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, which helped elevate the Mountain Agenda by developing global solidarity and key partnerships.

These events included:

  • Managing Water Resources in Global Hotspots, UNESCO; 
  • Linking Space to Village through SERVIR networks, NASA/USAID; 
  • Monitoring of change in mountains – How can research feed policy for sustainable development, Mountain Research Initiative–CONDESAN;
  • Mountain Connectivity Conservation Across Large-scale Landscapes, Tropical Science Center; 
  • Scaling up Investments in Watershed Services for Sustainable Mountain Development, Forest Trends; 
  • 3rd Global Meeting: The future we want – Mountains as living solutions for development, Mountain Partnership Secretariat; 
  • Regional Cooperation in Mountains – From Rio to Rio and beyond, UNEP; 
  • World’s Agricultural Heritage: Our common heritage for a food secured planet, GIAHS; and 
  • Video Forum: Major River Basins Have Enough Water to Sustainably Double Food Production in the Coming, CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF).