Table of Contents
The Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) is an icebreaker annual event of Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), a civil society-led forum working across the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) that comprises 10 mountain states, two union territories and four hill districts. The inaugural session of Sustainable Mountain Development Summit 2022 (SMDS) has been addressed by the honorable Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav which being held at Leh, Ladakh UT from 10-12th of October, 2022.
In addition to the central event, two integral components of the SMDS include the Mountain Legislators’ Meet (MLM) and the Indian Himalayan Youth Summit.
Sustainable Mountain Development Summit 2022 (SMDS) – Theme
The theme for SMDS-XI is “Harnessing tourism for sustainable mountain development”. The main focus of the summit is to reduce the negative impacts of tourism while harnessing its positive contributions to building climate and socio-ecological resilience and sustainability.
Sustainable Mountain Development Summit 2022
The Minister during the session expressed his vision about the summit that visiting Ladakh is always refreshing due to its fabulous landscape and awesome mountains. The main prioritized activity of IMI is to be the integration of science and policy, in light of this, he suggested integration of uniqueness of cultures and environments to become essential part of such summits. The minister also highlighted the establishment of G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment (GBPNIHE) and its one Regional Centre at Leh, under MOEFCC which is particularly mandated on research and development activities for sustainability of the Himalayan environment. He emphasized that various unique landscapes of the country like the Himalayas, Western Ghats and Thar desert need special attention of the scientific community. The Minister Shri Yadav also stressed that Ease of living is as important as Ease of doing business and MoEF&CC is working on this. During COP-26 at Glasgow, Prime Minister highlighted that world should go towards Mission Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE).
The another important aspect that was mentioned during this event was capacity building of youth so that it does not focus only on literacy for employment but also on preservation of local culture, protection of environment and developing scientific integrity among youth. The Minister suggested that the youth should follow the formula of LiFE in true spirit to ensure sustainable future for our country.
The Minister also highlighted that “Tourism should be expanded for various aspects by keeping in mind environmental fragility, sports, mountaineering, cycling, peace etc. The recent world conference in US passed a declaration that forests are not only for enjoyment but also an important source of peace. As the Himalayan forests are promoting peace for many years”.
The Minister also stated that Tourism in the Himalayas should be promoted for nature seekers, pilgrims, and spiritual seekers. Like Ladakh, other states of the Himalayas such as Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya etc. have unique aspects which should be integrated into tourism. Not only environment friendly but responsible tourism is also an absolute necessity. Involvement of local communities in the tourism is most important for integrating such initiatives. All our activities should be round the year and our educational institutions should have formats aligned with it. The involvement of local communities in the tourism is most important for such initiatives.
To protect and conserve the Ladakh’s resources for the cultural and local heritage, it is very important to identify and resolve all the remaining issues. Responsibility of local tourist guides if deliberated in the summits will have have long lasting impact. the minister announced that MoEF&CC has inclined all Wildlife related proposals and applications submitted on Parivesh portal to promote the development journey of Ladakh. The Parivesh portal is further being renovate to integrate all environmental clearances in a centralized manner. He assured that MoEF&CC will extend all support to the Ladakh administration for awareness and training of local stakeholder on Forest Rights and other related issues.
The Minister said that the work on connecting remote landscapes by building tunnels like Atal Tunnel and ongoing Zoji La Tunnel will reduce carbon emission in the mountain environment.
Our Prime Minister has intended across the world to promote solar energy. India has started International Solar Alliance which now has 106 members world wide. In Glasgow, Prime Minister highlighted the concept of “One sun, One world, One grid” which was praised by international community. India with United Kingdom had collaborated for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) on climate change to focus the issue of loss and damages due to climate change.
Sustainable Mountain Development – Previous Summits
|SMDS-I (2011), Nainital||Hydropower, Adaptation measures under Climate Change, Rural Tourism, Community forestry|
|SMDS-II (2012), Gangtok||Water, Forests & Communities, Mountain Livelihoods|
|SMDS-III (2013), Kohima||Forests, Water: Rivers, streams & springs, Mountain agriculture|
|SMDS-IV (2015) , Itanagar||Disaster Risk Reduction, Mountain Agriculture, Forests|
|SMDS-V (2016), Leh||Water Security, Skills for development in the mountains|
|SMDS-VI (2017), Aizawl||Climate Change & Sustainable Mountain Cities
|SMDS-VII (2018), Solan||Well-being of Next Generation of Farmers in the Indian Himalayan Region|
|SMDS-VIII (2019), Shillong||Livelihood & Entrepreneurship for Youth|
The Minster concluded the session remarks by quoting PM’s vision for “Carbon Neutral Ladakh” , “When every individual thinks of national good, when every nation thinks of global good, that is when sustainable development will become a reality”.