Feb 03, 2012
A workshop at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) 2012 focused on the need for more mountain friendly eco services for sustained development of the mountain ecosystem.
New Delhi: A workshop on sustainable mountain development in context of the upcoming Rio+20 summit was held on Thursday on the sidelines of the 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.
Organised by Kathmandu based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), India and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the workshop focused on mainstreaming sustainable mountain development into Rio+20.
The Himalayas, among mountain ranges, are the most important global commons. They support nearly half the global population by providing fresh water, food, life-saving medicinal plants, energy and a rich biodiversity.
While they support economies and serve invaluable protection, their roles in the lives of nations are often ignored; and so are the people living in these parts.
"Mountains provide all necessary ecosystem services, they are the water towers, but are these services really valued?" argued David Molden, Director-General of ICIMOD.
Referring to the goal that chapter 13 (Managing fragile ecosystems: Sustainable mountain development) of Agenda 21 of Rio Summit, Molden stated that the intend was to bring the issue of sustainability of mountains to the forefront but the agenda fell short of meeting today’s challenges faced by the mountain ecosystems.
Molden presented his new five key point mountain agenda i.e., adaptation and resilience building for livelihood, filling knowledge gaps, fostering collaboration across borders, building capacity, getting mountains on the global agenda – which he believes are essential to meeting the challenges related to Agenda 21.
Dr. J.V. Joshi, Senior Fellow at TERI highlighted the necessity of valuating mountain ecosystem services in Hindu Kush-Himalayan region for sustainable development and poverty reduction. "The ecosystem provides us with some non-marketable products that may not fall in the ambits of economics but their transformative potential is huge in the long run," he said.
The native role
Migration of mountain people in search of livelihoods and due to lack of basic amenities is the biggest driver facing mountain ecosystems today. Participants emphasised the need to make available basic services to local inhabitants as they play a critical role in providing sustainable solutions for adapting to changes in their ecosystem.
"It is really difficult to evaluate and tag nature. We cannot take nature in whatever way we can, but must use it in a sustainable way to conserve them for our future generations," said RS Rawal, a scientist from GB Pant University, Uttarakhand.
Indeed mountains are the valued gift of nature that must be preserved. The last word goes to Dr Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan, as he urged the gathering to try and seek answers to sustainable mountain development not in Rio but back in their homes.