ICIMOD addresses ‘Way Forward after Rio +20’ at World Conservation Congress


ICIMOD held a side event at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea, to discuss ‘greening’ the economy after Rio +20. The objective of the side event was to provide a platform for participants to discuss the linked challenges of environmental protection, ecological sustainability, and poverty reduction, specifically in mountains and at the regional level.

After the presentation of a case study on the Korean experience in the shift from a brown to a green economy, which set an inspiring but challenging framework, panellists were asked to consider three broad questions: how do we add value to nature-based products; what policies and governance mechanisms are needed; and how should we identify and engage the full range of stakeholders.

A lively discussion, with examples from around the world, unfolded around questions of whether the language of the 'green economy' exploits the gap between developed and developing countries, whether there should be global mechanisms to support mountain states and the transition to green economies, what leadership role various states might play, and what the real goal of a green economy might be.

The meeting arrived at the following key message, built around the three pillars of Rio +20 – economic development, social inclusion, and environmental protection:

We cannot make sense of the notion of 'green economy' in mountain regions without beginning from the strengths and challenges that mountain peoples and landscapes embody. These can be summarized as:

  • culture;
  • collective wisdom;
  • community-based natural resource management;
  • commitment to implement;
  • clean energy;
  • clear and comprehensible message; and
  • cut the consumption. 

The event, which was held on 9 September, was well attended with over 100 participants from Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe. The session was chaired by Krishna Gyanwali, Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Nepal. A keynote speech was delivered by BMS Rathore, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Dong- Man Han, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in South Korea, presented the case study. Distinguished panellists included: Dr Arzu Rana Deuba, Regional Councillor for IUCN Asia Region and former Member of Parliament, Federal Republic of Nepal; Dr RBS Rawat, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand, India; Dr Zhigang Jiang, executive director of the CITES Scientific Authority, China; and Hasna Jasimuddin Moudud, UNEP Global Laurate and former Member of Parliament, Bangladesh. The event was facilitated by Dr Krishna Prasad Oli and Professor Will Tuladhar-Douglas of ICIMOD.