About Us

We are dynamic, dedicative, energetic, enthusiastic and laborious young people (aged 16-29 years) who are solely concerned about the future, coming generations and sustainability of Planet Earth.

Since April 2011, we have been mobilizing Asia Pacific Youth focusing on different Issues on The Himalayas (Mountains, The Water Tower), Inputs on Zero Draft and Status of Nepal in Rio+20. We have also drafted Asia Pacific Youth Position Paper towards Rio+20 and Asia Pacific Youth Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development which are also published in the website of UNCSD. We have been raising our voice for "MOUNTAINS" extending our network from Asia Pacific Region at global level.


Global Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Sustainable Actions 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

-By Kabita Gautam and Shreejana Bhattarai
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) along with Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Mountain Partnership organized "Global Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Sustainable Actions" on 15 June 2012 at Mountain Pavilion, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Asia Pacific Youth Task Force on Rio+20, Activating Talent in Sustainability (ACTIS)/Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES), Earth Charter International (ECI), Peace Child International (PCI)/Road to Rio+20 and UNCSD Major Group on Children and Youth (MGCY) were the co-organizers of this event.

The forum was facilitated by Mr. Tek Jung Mahat, the focal person for the Rio+20 from ICIMOD. More than 25 young people from different parts of the world participated in the event. The program started with a documentary show that carried the messages such as mountains are facing many environmental problems including climate change; mountain people are coping with these problems with their own traditional ways; but it is not sufficient; global problems need global solutions; mountain countries should work together to address the problems.

Following the documentary, Mr. Tek Jung Mahat described the objectives of the forum as to bring together youth delegates from mountainous countries to discuss global issues and priorities as reflected in the Rio+20 submissions; to identify and relay mountain youth’s priorities for green economy and sustainable development; to improve networking among participating youth for future actions; to develop and issue an appeal to the Rio+20 delegates to give greater attention to mountains and to recognize youth as important stakeholders in the outcome document.

After introduction of Global Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Sustainable Actions each of the speaker was invited to share the actions they have taken so far and the challenges faced in the context of youth involvement in Rio+20.

Ms. Ivana Savic, Organizing Partner for Major Group on Children and Youth, was the first speaker and she underscored the importance of youth involvement on sustainable mountain development. She highlighted that youth participation will need time, energy and knowledge. Young people will face the consequences of the decisions that will be made in Rio+20 conferences. She also emphasized that it is necessary to mainstream youths in decision making process.

Ms. Sameera Zaib, member of Asia Pacific Youth Task Force on Rio+20, highlighted the involvement of Asia Pacific youth Task Force on various level sustainable mountain development and challenges and expectations from Rio+20. She said that Rio+20 is a milestone and governments to take initiative to engage youths in decision making process, at all levels i.e. national and international levels. She further highlighted the major challenges faced by Mountain people like climate change and its un-predictable impacts. She stressed that although mountains are rich in resources but its people are poor and this is the best time to consider and address mountain youth concerns in post Rio+20 agenda.

Ms. Nora Mahmoud from Earth Charter International stressed that mountain regions are generally ignored. She explained that there is not only the lack of funding but the lack of awareness and capacity building measures. She emphasized on actions from local, regional and global level to institutionalize sustainable mountain development.

Mr. Juan Carlos Soriano, representing South America, from 350.org, said that we need to figure out ways; invest in new solutions; improve and share local knowledge collectively for sustainable mountain development. He described that annually, world spends 1 trillion dollar for fossil fuel subsidy but if we could spend that money for sustainable development, we can make the future we want.

Ms. Kabita Gautam, Social Media Focal Point-UNCSD MGCY, shared the key messages and experiences from the MGCY Youth Blast, Conference of Youth for international young people held from 10th to 12th June. More than 2000 youths participated in the conference where the event became one of the biggest platforms where youth from different countries could share their activities globally. She said that youth engagement in negotiation like Rio+20 is very sensitive for policy as well decision making which can be enhanced by the capacity building programs during the preparation processes. According to her experiences, the youth are still searching for the definition of green jobs and it’s important that UNEP needs to define it. She urged to provide more spaces for journalists and Medias in such negotiations for the dissemination of information and mobilize youth towards sustainable development. She further expressed the need of upgrading the level of advocacy for Mountain Agenda. As mountains are not just an issue of mountain countries and the consequences affects from low lands to high lands and in between, she added the necessity of one person from the Asia Pacific region in the major groups as well, for the mountain issues to be addressed.

Ms. Kehkashan Basu, a 14 year child from UAE shared her experiences and said that government of UAE is very supportive in conducting different environmental activities. She also explained her experiences like she has been involved in beach clean-up, and motivating children from slum in sustainable development activities. She said that people are not aware about sustainable development. It is necessary to engage more children and youth so that our future generations should not face problems.

Mr. Jaya Jung Mahat, one of the 350 participants of the 6th World Youth Congress 2012 and also one of the 10 Youth Mobilizers for the Brazilian Government and United Nation Development Programme initiative Rio+20 Dialogues, shared the general outcomes of both the events and incorporation of earlier neglected voices of the mountain people from Asia and the Asia Pacific region. He mentioned that both occasions had provided enough opportunities for the stakeholders from South Asia and the Pacific to make heard their regional contemporary issues to the world leaders who will be gathering in Rio de Janeiro during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development through participatory and open debates.

Mr. Jean Paul shared his works on African Youth Initiative on Climate Change. He said that there is a strong link between mountains and agriculture in Africa. Mr. Paul explained the importance of mountains in Africa as the main resources and breadbaskets for the farmers. He further alerted that if the ice caps on top of the Kilimanjaro melted completely, the farmers who live there and their fields would have no water in the dry season.

Ms. Shreejana Bhattarai, representing Nepali Youth Task Force on Rio+20 shared her experiences, problems and challenges faced by Nepali youth. She explained that while working she has realized that many young people are not aware about sustainable development and Rio+20. Youths are the future leaders and it is necessary that they should be made aware on these issues. There should be collective effort for sustainable mountain development. Mountains are the water towers, sources of natural resources and biodiversity hotspots. However, they are the most hard by environmental impacts including climate change. So a common effort is needed for sustainable mountain development.

Mr. Avisekh Shrestha, (APYTF), presented a draft on “Mountain Youth’s Appeal to Rio+20 delegates” and the inputs from youth and speakers were incorporated. Based on key messages resulting from the major youth workshops and meetings held in the past years, among its main deliverables were: recognition of the importance of mountain goods and services; compensation and reward mountain communities for their stewardship in managing mountain goods and services; equitably share benefits; ensure maximum involvement of groups such as youth, children, women and elderly population; develop and run mechanisms offering education opportunities to youth; develop Youth Council at Global/UN as well as regional levels, promote youth knowledge network and parliament to significantly improve youth engagement; develop provision of Green Youth Fund at UN, regional and national level to promote environmental entrepreneurship promoting green economy for SD and poverty eradication.

Suggestions included asking for incentives for green jobs, youth-led entrepreneurial activities, especially as related to eco-tourism and organic agriculture; engaging youth in mountain conservation training and jobs; use specific key words that would attract the negotiators’ attention prompting them to act.

In his concluding remarks, Mountain Partnership Secretariat Coordinator Mr. Olman Serrano thanked the youth for their overview and engagement. “Unlike my generation,” he observed, “you have powerful communication tools such as social media – not only to get your message across but also to share it with a larger, global youth community.” Youth are the future, Mr Serrano concluded, “Hence your involvement is key for the future we want.”

Mr. Daniel Maselli from the Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation (SDC) acknowledge the youth’s efforts and said it was important to invest in youth as “youth are our asset”. Mr Maselli went on to encourage them: “Keep your sharp thinking. Do not let yourselves be blurred. Do not abandon your direction. Only thus will you achieve the future you want.”

Finally, ICIMOD Deputy Director General Mr. Madhav Karki noted how economic development has moved from North to South, so the youth form the South have much to contribute. “Youth have lots of hope in the future we all want,” Mr Karki stressed. “There are challenges, however. In 1992, global leaders committed to sustainable development. But when they returned home, they did not practice what they had preached. Now, 20 years on, the world has become much more unsustainable. We have biodiversity loss and increasing natural disasters. Youth as future leaders need to take the opportunities and take on the responsibilities.”

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