Youth group UIMF puts mountains on the map at UNCSC


Youth from the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), contributed to highlighting mountains for the first time in a United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) Outcome Document.

Since 2016, UIMF has campaigned - without success - to include language about mountains, women and girls in the final documents of the 62nd and 63rd sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, as well as in the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. UIMF advocacy is implemented through the student engaged learning model, whereby students have the primary responsibility of solving problems collectively, with faculty guiding them as mentors.

For the first time, the preamble of the Outcome Document of the 68th UNCSC acknowledged mountain communities. The document states, “We recognize the interdependence of rural and urban prosperity, as well as the need to address the specific conditions of mountainous areas and small island developing States.”

The 68th UNCSC took place from 26 to 28 August, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. More than 5 000 participants, representing over 700 civil society groups from around the world, focused their efforts on implementating Sustainable Development Goal 11: “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

The UIMF participated in the conference by hosting a workshop and poster session on the topic, “Student Engaged Learning (SEL) to Advocate for Mountain Women and Targets at UN ECOSOC forums.” UIMF youth advocated for the implementation of three mountain-specific targets in the conference’s Outcome Document.

The UNCSC final document emphasized the importance of engaging youth by stating, “We affirm … the significance and potential of youth. More broadly, we affirm the need to empower all generations with education, skills, and opportunities.”

UIMF’s efforts were successful thanks to support from Baldomero Lago, Vice President for Global Engagement at UVU; Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kyrgyz President to the Parliament; Richard Jordan, Dean of UN Non-Governmental Representatives; and Julie Kofoed, Senior Manager for Social Sustainability with UN Global Compact, who advised UIMF on how to include  targeted language in the final document of the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2020.  

Read more

News from Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

Photo from Abdulrahman Alghanmi, UIMF member

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