Collaborative efforts on mountains


The Utah Valley University (UVU) delegation discussed the collaborative efforts with the Mountain Partnership at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development, July 19 2018 in New York, USA. As a Mountain Partnership member, Utah Valley University (UVU) and its Utah-Russia Institute in the USA promote educational, cultural and technological projects for further understanding and cooperation between the mountainous state of Utah and the countries of Central Asia. The University encourages faculty and students to advocate and promote the further understanding of environmental and social issues. UVU and the Institute are also working with the Kyrgyz National Centre for Development of Mountain Regions to organize the international conference, entitled ‘Women of the Mountains’.

The UVU delegation made an oral statement, during the ministerial meeting of the forum. This statement was in partnership with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), an NGO in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The RANS was selected among eight non-governmental organizations from around the world to be heard by ECOSOC during HLPF and it provided UVU students an opportunity to speak about their contributions to the agenda of the forum.

The UVU Utah International Mountain Forum involves students through an engaged learning model that advocates for the sustainability of mountain women and communities and sustainable mountain development. Students are able to gain professional skills, experiences and proper recognition by addressing real-world sustainability problems of mountain communities at the local, regional, and global levels with an instructor serving as a mentor. This model demonstrates that students play an active role in the implementation of the 2030 UN development agenda.
In the statement, delegation members spoke about the importance of the implementation of the three mountain targets, which are part of the two SDGs included in the agenda of the HLPF: SDG6 and SDG15. UVU students advocate the sustainable mountain development agenda of the United Nations in the State of Utah, North America and globally through student engaged learning model since 2007. Since 2015, they have focused on advocating the mountain targets as part of the 2030 Development Agenda of the United Nations.

At the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) a written statement was submitted by the Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Cooperation, another NGO with ECOSOC special consultative status that places similar emphasis on the importance of the implementation of mountain targets and how the UVU learning model contributes to that goal. Overall, this learning initiative, if used by interested universities in rural and mountainous states worldwide, could provide similar benefits both to students and in particular non-traditional in addressing sustainable and environmentally conscious community strategies for rural and mountain areas and transforming them towards sustainable and resilient societies. Non-traditional students are described as individuals who have delayed enrollment into postsecondary education, attended university part-time, work full time, are financially independent, have children or dependents other than a spouse, or are single parents.

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Photo by Baktybek Abdrisaev/UVU

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