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27 Sep 2014 | Press releases

Young professionals learn new ideas on enhancing adaptation in the mountains

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Forty-seven young professionals convened at the headquarters of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal for the ‘Asia-Pacific Youth Forum and Training Workshop 2014: Adaptation in the Mountains: Issues and Gaps beyond Boundaries’. Young professionals came from 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region and represented diverse sectors, including government, media, research, academia, and civil society.

During the four-day event, participants interacted with high-level bureaucrats, youth leaders, researchers, thought process leaders, and tech innovators from the region. They discussed climate change from multiple perspectives, relating it to government policy, civil society, and international instruments such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They gained first-hand knowledge about ICIMOD’s current research on climate change adaptation and observed green technologies housed at the ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari. In addition, they visited the nearby Kavre 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.

At the opening session, Mr Gagan Thapa, a prominent youth leader and a member of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, talked about climate-related problems in Kathmandu. He urged the participants to spread awareness about the effects of climate change and to make efforts to enhance climate change adaptation in the mountains. “As youth, you have the power to influence communities and groups,” he said.

Prof. Dr Govind Raj Pokharel, Vice Chair of Nepal’s National Planning Commission, talked about green solutions to address development challenges in least developed countries. Underlining his vision for the year 2025, he said, “By mainstreaming climate change concerns and infrastructure, capacity building and education for tourism, and energy and agriculture into development planning, we can strive for prosperity in our countries.”

Various participants expressed their appreciation for the workshop. Mr Amol Acharya, who works with communities in the eastern region of Nepal, thanked ICIMOD for the opportunity and said he would share his learning with his community stakeholders in Illam. Ms Shumaila Mansoor from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan requested ICIMOD to help transfer the water management and alternative energy technologies showcased during the forum to her native province in Pakistan. Ms Sonam Lhaden Khandu of the National Environmental Commission in Bhutan mentioned that she would use her learning about participatory approaches and toolkits to measure adaptation in Bhutan. Similarly, Ms Nguyen Le van Phuong, a sustainability campaigner from Vietnam, expressed hope that the workshop would be instrumental in mobilizing joint youth initiatives on adaptation in the future.

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, Ms 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.

For more information please contact: 

Ms Nira Gurung, Senior Communications Officer
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Tel +977-1-5003222 Fax +977-1-5003277

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