Mountain development and prioritizing the SDGs


The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) conducted an expert survey on prioritizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets for sustainable mountain development. Recognizing the importance of pursuing sustainable mountain development as part of transforming our world into one free of poverty, the United Nations adopted three mountain-related targets under two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat, alongside numerous Mountain Partnership members, called for the inclusion of mountains in the international plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. 

On 25 May 2018, UCA’s MSRI in collaboration with the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, organized a workshop to identify the most critical development issues in the mountain areas of Kyrgyzstan and to prioritize SDG targets in view of these issues. The workshop gathered participants of the pre-workshop online survey, including development experts, scientists, and non-government representatives with long-standing experience in mountain development.

Chris Hergarten, the Senior Research Fellow of MSRI, presented outputs of the survey, emphasizing that Kyrgyzstan was the first out of five selected countries to participate in an international effort to identify those targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have high leverage for fostering sustainable development in mountain areas and are particularly relevant to enhancing mountain communities’ and mountain ecosystems’ climate resilience.

This initiative is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) within its programme on “Promoting Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change” (SMD4GC) and is being implemented in Uganda, Ecuador, Nepal and Switzerland. As a partner in this programme, the UCA’s MSRI has facilitated the survey and the workshop in Kyrgyzstan, in coordination with the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland, jointly with the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), Swiss Academies of Sciences, Switzerland.

Mountain communities face specific challenges in creating conditions for sustainable and inclusive economic development, building just societies and conserving natural resources. Monitoring the progress towards the SDGs needs to be contextualized to effectively guide and coordinate development efforts in mountains. The contribution of country experts, who were engaged in the survey and workshop were instrumental in defining an approach to assess and monitor progress towards the SDGs in mountain areas around the world.

The results of the global assessment will be published in an issue brief aimed at informing policy and decision-makers about the relevance of the SDG framework for mountains, as well as the benefits and challenges of monitoring progress on framework of SDGs in mountains. The publication will be presented at the upcoming World Mountain Forum 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

News by University of Central Asia/Alma Uzbekova

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