Sustainable Mountain Development Summit to begin 18 Nov

DARJEELING, 17 Nov: The Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS), the annual flagship event of the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), the tenth in the series, hosted this year by the Darjeeling-Kalimpong Chapter of IMI, the Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative, is set to commence from 18 to 20 November.

The Integrated Mountain Initiative is a civil society-led network platform with the mission to mainstream concerns of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) and its people in the development dialogue of India. It functions as a platform to integrate the knowledge and experiences of multiple stakeholders working across the IHR and uses this to inform and influence policy at the national and state level.

The annual SMDSs identify specific themes engaging the immediate attention of and relevant to the mountains and hills for discussion and debate by a diverse group of stakeholders and subject experts. Recommendations emerging from these summits are pursued by IMI subsequently for actionable outputs that include the Meet of the Mountain States with key policymakers. The Mountain Legislators’ Meet and the Indian Himalayan Youth Summit are two events that are integral components of SMDS.

The theme for this year’s SMDS is ‘One Health Making our Mountains Resilient’. The well-being of mountain people is inextricably linked to biodiversity. With the Covid-19 pandemic, inter-linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem, and human health have become starkly apparent.

A highlight of the Sustainable Mountain summits is the Mountain Legislators’ Meet that brings together elected representatives of the IHR states to discuss relevant issues. This SMDSX too shall bring together legislators from the IHR states to discuss on ‘One Health’ with key focus around plastic pollution and its impacts thereof to lead to a policy recommendation on plastic waste specifically for the mountains.

The keynote address for the inaugural day will be delivered by Dr Soumya Swaminathan (Chief Scientist, WHO, Geneva) with a special address by BV Umadevi (IFS, Addl Secy, MoEFCC).

The inaugural session will also have a panel discussion, to set the context for the theme of this summit, by a panel consisting of Dr VB Mathur (Chairperson National Biodiversity Authority), Ravi Singh (CEO and Secretary-General, WWF- India), Dr Vandana Shiva (Founder, Navdanya, Uttarakhand), Dr Sandeep Chaudhuri (Asst Prof Veterinary College Nagpur, One Health Mission, Maharashtra).