9th sustainable mountain development summit concludes

DEHRADUN, 14 Dec: The 9th sustainable mountain development summit (SMDS) concluded in the capital city of Uttarakhand here on Monday with the presentation of the RS Tolia Memorial Award 2020, recommendations from the summit, and a presentation by the state chapter’s actions post-summit.

The SMDS is an annual event of the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), which brings together legislators, bureaucrats, academicians, NGOs and members of the civil society.

This year, the RS Tolia Memorial Award was presented to Dr Ajay Rawat, an eminent scholar and environmental activist whose legal actions prevented environmental destruction of lakes and forests in the Indian Himalayan region (IHR).

Instituted in the name of Dr Raghunandan Singh Tolia, the award carries a citation, a shawl and a cash award of Rs 1 lakh.

Tolia conceptualized the idea of the IMI to carry forward the mountain agendas and improve the lives of people living in the IHR. His deep understanding of the links among people, cultures, livelihoods and mountain environment influenced a generation of researchers, organizations and policymakers.

A panel discussion was also held on the concluding day on the concerns of the IHR, such as land and habitat degradation, climate change, decrease in crop genetic research, illegal trade, human-wildlife conflicts and lack of investment in the biodiversity sector.

Hosted by the Sustainable Development Forum of Uttarakhand, the summit was held through virtual mode this year.