Mountain states of India hold fifth meeting


The fifth edition of the Meet of the Mountain States, organized by the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) in New Delhi, India on 10 February 2017, focused on water security, skill development and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the mountain states of the Indian Himalayan Region. The Meet was inaugurated by Honourable Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju. Members of Parliament Thokchom Meinya (Manipur), Shri Vincent Pala (Meghalaya), Shri Jitendra Chaudhury (Tripura), Shri. P.D. Rai (Sikkim) and former Member of Parliament Shri Tarun Vijay were also in attendance.

Shri Rijiju stressed the need to work together to ensure the sustainable development of mountain regions of India. He also highlighted the dilemmas of livelihoods in the development context and the environmental consequences of unsustainable development facing mountain cities, which has led to severe damage in the valleys of Kullu and Manali in Himachal Pradesh as well as the hill cities of Mussoorie and Nainital in Uttarakhand, among others.

As a part of the Meet, a Legislators’ Dialogue was held, during which all Members of Parliament insisted on the need to focus on research in mountain subjects such as glaciology, hydrology, renewable energy, human-wildlife conflict and biodiversity.

Shri P.D. Rai described the path followed by the northeast state of Sikkim towards sustainable development. He mentioned that Sikkim is moving towards creating legislation to mainstream the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in all departments and among citizens. This initiative is the first of its kind being carried out in India.

The Meet was convened by Shri Alemtemshi Jamir, President of IMI and former Chief Secretary of Nagaland. Representatives from several eminent leaders of the development sector were in attendance, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, World Wildlife Fund – India, the North East Centre for Technology Application and Research, the National Skill Development Council, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and senior officials from ministries and government departments. They emphasized the need for stronger mountain partnerships and integrating the SDGs into mountain development. It was pointed out that skill-building needs to factor into the socio-cultural and geographical features of mountains, along with a focus on self-employment and entrepreneurship. Discussions of disasters highlighted that DRR measures for mountain communities need to be community-based and managed.

During the Meet, the proceedings of the fifth Sustainable Mountain Development Summit, held in Leh, Ladakh on 20-23 September 2016, were officially released.

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Photo: IMI/John Paulraj

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