Mountain agenda gets a boost at Rio+20
The recently concluded UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly called Rio+20, might have come as a dampener for many. But the summit brought good news for people from mountain regions, especially in developing countries.
The summit declaration ‘Our Common Vision’ adopted by heads of states and senior representatives of many world bodies at Rio de Janeiro gave recognition to benefits of mountain ecosystems and also acknowledged the role of mountain people in sustainable development.
Besides calling for sustainable mountain development in developing countries, the declaration also urged nations to adopt mountain specific policies—developments that could prove beneficial in improving lives of those living in mountains in harsh conditions.
The declaration that had three paragraphs on mountains recognized the role played by mountains “in providing water resources to a large portion of the world’s population” and noted how important the mountainous regions are for sustainable development worldwide.
The threats posed to mountain ecosystems and those living there due to climate change, natural disasters, deforestation, land use change, forest and land degradation and rapid melting of glaciers were also highlighted in the Rio+20 declaration.
It was acknowledged that the disadvantaged and poor communities living in the mountains play crucial roles in maintaining the environment and ecosystems in the mountains.
Member countries were asked to “incorporate mountain specific policies into national sustainable development strategies which could include, inter alia, poverty reduction plans and programmes in mountain areas in developing countries”.
These developments are positive as they put a seal of acknowledgement to demand by mountain countries, disproportionately affected by climate change, that mountain regions need support to adapt to the changes and mitigate the impacts.
Nepal government and the agencies based here like International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development who had played an important role in highlighting the plight of mountain regions due to global warming see the declaration as a big boost in promoting the mountain agenda.
“Human beings and mountains are inextricably linked and therefore they need to be looked at in an integrated manner, which requires coordinated efforts from all sides,” Nepal’s environment minister Keshav Man Shakya mentioned in a statement.
Earlier this year Nepal had hosted the International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change where ‘mountain countries’ (those with peaks above 4,000 metres) agreed to mobilize support to highlight specific concerns of mountain ecosystems and related livelihood issues within UNFCCC and Rio+20 negotiations.
Besides being home to Mount Everest, Nepal houses eight of the 14 tallest peaks with heights over 8,000 metres. The region has 34 biodiversity hotspots and rivers that originate from them benefit 1.3 billion people living in the sub-continent.
Despite not being a major contributor to carbon emission, the threat of climate change is very real for Nepal.
Studies show due to change in weather patterns and rainfall, 28% of the total land area under cultivation is facing desertification and by 2080, the country could witness 40% loss in crop production.
Comments2 Responses to “Mountain agenda gets a boost at Rio+20”
Speak Your Mind
Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!