Monday, May 30, 2011

e-Conference on Sustainable Mountain Development in the Southeast Asia, June 1-30, 2011

We invite participants to take part in the preliminary brainstorming session for preparing the Southeast Asian status report on mountain development challenges and opportunities faced by the region. Join from .

Date: June 1-30, 2011
Venue: Virtual Conference/Online
Contact Persons: Madhav Karki, Benedicto Q. Sánchez, Ramón Razal, Earl Díaz and Tek Jung Mahat

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, 1992 put mountains on the global environment and development map by introducing a specific chapter of the Agenda 21 on mountains as fragile ecosystems (Chapter 13). Twenty years later, Rio+20 provides an excellent opportunity to present a global status report on achievements, challenges, and future opportunities in sustainable mountain development (SMD) that can show where we stand today and indicate where we need to move forward in future.

The Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND), the Non-Timber Forest Product-Exchange Programme, as a member of the global Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC), has together with ICIMOD been assigned the task of preparing a Regional Assessment Report on SMD in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region with the following objectives:
  • To take stock of what has, and what has not, been achieved in promoting sustainable mountain development since 1992 in different parts of the region
  • To learn what has worked and what has not—and why
  • To identify current and future challenges and to explore pathways and opportunities on how these can be addressed in the context of the SEA Mountains
  • To identify the role of different stakeholders and to propose a “plan of work” toward the preparation of a draft regional report by September 2011

The status report will be ready for global presentation and distribution on the occasion of the Rio 2012 conference. Prior to this key event, an International Conference will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 10-12 October 2011. The conference will provide a platform to present and discuss preliminary findings and to extract the key messages for policy makers involved in the Rio+20 negotiations.

“Given the very different characteristics of the world’s diverse mountain regions, even on one continent, it is probably best not to propose a precise definition of sustainable mountain development, but to recognize that it is a regionally-specific process of sustainable development that concerns both mountain regions and populations living downstream or otherwise dependent on these regions in various ways” (Price and Kim 1999).

Target audience of the Report
The central target audience for the SEA region Rio 20 Assessment report are policy and decision makers at the international and national level, including multilateral and bilateral development agencies, national governments, private sector, and local and regional administrations. The report is further meant to address least developed mountain countries, regions and their civil society organizations including international and national NGOs and foundations; private as well as public sector enterprises, including transnational corporations; academic institutions; scientists; and researcher, scholars and academia.

NTFP-EP’s Commitment
The key motivation for NTFP-EP working closely with other members of the MPC, especially with fellow members BIND, ICIMOD, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is to contribute to a global status report for Rio 20 and share the findings at an international conference to be organized by SDC in 2011 in collaboration with partners worldwide.

The NTFP-EP as collaborative network of non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations in South and Southeast Asia has been providing support and has gained enormous experiences in various tasks related to sustainable mountain development in South and Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Some of its partners took part in the promotion of SMD since way back the 2002 global celebration of the International Year of the Mountains.

It is working with forest-based communities to strengthen their capacity in sustainable management of natural resources and interfaces with government institutions on policy issues on natural resource use and land management. For centuries, forest-based communities in the region have harvested a wide range of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) on the region’s tropical rainforests both for subsistence use and as a source of income, and for the sustainable conservation and promotion of mountain ecological and socio-cultural systems that are the basis for important landscapes that benefit the entire region and beyond.

Discussion Questions
Pre-discussion: A short overview (with spatial/quantitative/trend data where possible)

Session 1: Understanding different mountain systems and their contribution to providing goods and services
  • What are the key mountain systems in the SEA region? What are the key characteristics and ecological/environmental status of the mountain systems of the SEA region?
  • What are the roles and contributions of mountains in providing goods and (especially ecosystem) services to the wider surrounding region of the SEA?

Session 2: Issues, challenges and opportunities
  • What are the key issues/opportunities/challenges in SMD, and how do these derive from these driving forces?
  • What have been/are the major internal and external driving forces of change in the mountain environment, economy, and social systems?
  • What impacts are the changes making on the ecological status of the mountain systems (indigenous communities, mountain settlers and the natural resources within)?

Session 3: How Mountain systems can provide strategic way forward for the Rio+20 Agenda?’
  • What factors are currently impeding/promoting the shift toward a green economy, climate resilient development, and/or sustainable development in the mountain region?
  • How do the factors identified contribute/impede sustainable mountain development? How can the positive contributions be enhanced/ and the negative effects mitigated or totally avoided?

The NTFP-EP would like to kick-start the preparation of the regional assessment by first identifying the key gaps, issues, opportunities, and challenges, and key mandated, qualified, committed, interested, and potentially interested people from government organizations (GOs), non-government organizations (NGOs), academia, foundations, development partners, nature trusts, and the private sector through this electronic discussion.

e-Conference team
Overall Coordinator: Dr Madhav Karki, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD Email:
Lead Coordinator: Mr. Benedicto Q. Sánchez, BIND Program Coordinator, Board of Trustees, Secretary, NTFP-EP Email:
Moderator: Dr Ramón Razal, College of Forestry, University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Board of Trustees, NTFP-EP Email:
e-Conference Administrators: Mr. Earl Díaz, IT Specialist, NTFP-EP Email: and Mr. Tek Jung Mahat, APMN Node Manager, ICIMOD Email:

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