In the fourth global meeting of ‘Mountain Partnership’ 17-20 September, at Erzurum in Turkey, over 100 members from around the globe endorsed a new improved sustainable mountain development strategy for 2014-2017.
During 1992, at Rio Earth most of the world’s nations at the UN Conference on Environment and Development signed a plan for action, ‘Agenda 21’ in which chapter 13 is entitled ‘Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development’. The most recent global meeting was held on the sidelines of Rio+20 summit in 2012, following two previous global meetings of in Cusco, Peru, in 2004 and in Merano, Italy, in 2003.
“I am delighted that members have agreed on a strategy that will strengthen the potential of the Mountain Partnership, and members can formulate a comprehensive work plan for next two years during the meeting” said Thomas Hofer, interim coordinator of the Mountain Partnership (MP) Secretariat from Rome, Italy.
In his key note speech, Prof. Bruno Messerli of Bern University in Switzerland mentioned that “..with the four fold increase in human population in the 20th century urban population has increased by thirteen fold and industrial production 40 fold leading to increase in demand for fresh water and irrigated land among others leading to food, water and energy shortage, public unrest and international conflicts over resources.
The Mountain Partnership alliance
At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in Johannesburg, the ‘Mountain Partnership’ was established, for which FAO works as a lead agency. The Mountain Partnership (MP), is a voluntary trans-national umbrella alliance of mountain actors in governments, inter-governmental organizations, civil society and private organizations. The alliance is committed to working together with the common goal of achieving sustainable mountain development around the world with its members.
The major focus area of Mountain Partnership alliance for sustainable mountain development is related to knowledge sharing & networking and advocacy actions towards mountain development related policies and ground actions. It will have a selected 16 member representatives from government, civil society groups, inter-governmental organization and donors in future.
In last 10 years
The Mountain partnership that was launched in 2002, has been mandated with mountain related advocacy, trainings, communications and resource mobilization related actions through a regional setups of its 200 members.
In a global meeting in 2004 at Cusco, Peru, a framework for the mountain partnership’s work was developed for strengthening policies, institutional capacity-building, financial resource mobilization and developing accountability frame around the mountain regions of the world. Therefore, it would be important to review the outputs and outcome from agreed work during this 3rd global meeting of mountains.
During Erzurum meeting various achievements of Mountain Partnership as an ecosystem partnership were cited as; local lessons learned, increased attention of mountains at national level, strengthening regional cooperation and recognition of mountains in international negotiations like Rio+20 .
For future actions, it aims to improve natural resources management and livelihood opportunities in the mountain areas. It talks about a regional institutional setup, impact monitoring system in place, a clear communication strategy, resource mobilization strategy, etc. to achieve SMD (sustainable mountain development) goals.
Expectations from various mountain regions
In last few decades, towards mountain development work various actions, initiatives and institutions were organized like African Mountain Association (1991-2005), Mountain And Biodiversity programme-MAB (1971), Andian Mountain Association (1986-2002), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (1983), etc.
It is evident that lot of work still need to be done in the mountains of the world in terms of scientific research and ground action in thematic areas like water resources, glaciers, forest, disaster, climate change and mountain farming. In the world’s mountains the areas of concern are also related to recognition of mountains as important ecosystems, ongoing development, migration due to diminishing livelihood opportunities and impact of climatic variability in the form of increasing disasters and loss of biodiversity.
“The Mountain Partnership should make efforts to involve country governments in South Asia like India as its partner member” says a civil society member of MP from South Asia.
A group discussing about areas of future action in Asia, Pacific and Middle East mountain region finds that the focus work should be related to developing community resilience towards climatic variability through adaptation and mitigation measures and working on various disaster linked issues.
A delegate from Asia expresses that, “To advocate mountain issues with the country governments, we need strong leadership and advocacy efforts by international agencies at regional level, which is lacking now in Asia and Pacific region”
“To institutionalize its regional work, the mountain partnership must review the role of its members in past 10 years to assign them any new role in future” says another MP member about regional representation and work of Mountain partnership in future.
It’s important that initiatives and alliances like Mountain Partnership work upon involving country governments, research & scientific institutions, civil society groups and inter-governmental organizations in future through active involvement of its member partners to work closely with the mountain communities.
A clear understanding about the work and impact of its partners members will be important to the MP to understand in terms of community outreach actions of its partnership members in coming years.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>