Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Martha T. Muse Prize

The “Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica” is a US$ 100,000 unrestricted award presented to an individual in the fields of Antarctic science or policy that has demonstrated potential for sustained and significant contributions that will enhance the understanding and/or preservation of Antarctica. The Tinker Foundation’s goal is to establish a prestigious award that recognizes excellence in Antarctic research by honoring someone in the early to mid-stages of their career. The Prize is inspired by Martha T. Muse’s passion for Antarctica and is intended to be a legacy of the International Polar Year 2007-2008.

The prize-winner can be from any country and work in ANY field of Antarctic science or policy, including Climate change, Life Sciences, Biodiversity and Ecology, Geo Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social sciences & Humanities, Antarctic Politics. The goal is to provide recognition of the important work being done by the individual and to call attention to the significance of understanding Antarctica in a time of change. The Prize is awarded by the Tinker Foundation and administered by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Please visit www.museprize.org for further details. Online nominations will close on the 12 April 2012.

PhD scholarship International Development Studies

PhD scholarship International Development Studies

The Research Unit, Property and Citizenship in Developing Societies, together with the Graduate School of International Development Studies, advertises a 3-year PhD scholarship on: Land Struggles at the Urban Fringe – Indonesia.

The Research Unit investigates the process of state formation and fragmentation in developing societies by focusing on local politics and the social production of property and citizenship. The advertised scholarship focuses on Indonesia. Decentralization and urbanization have in recent years transformed Indonesian society, and the confluence of these dynamics is most dramatic at the urban fringe where struggles for land present a particular set of problems. Land use changes, and land hitherto held under forms of informal tenure, becomes the object of institutional competition. Different groups often have competing and incompatible interests in the same space. A complicated mix of local internal legality, formal law, and efforts at formal land registration co-exist, overlap, and conflict.
The Research Unit invites original research proposals to explore this theme. The PhD project is expected to include a significant element of fieldwork-based data collection in Indonesia.

PhD candidates from a Developing country will be paid allowances in accordance with Guidelines for Danida Fellows in Denmark (www.dfcentre.com).

Other PhD candidates are paid a salary according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD candidate has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3-year period without additional pay.

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s Degree and excellent academic qualifications. Relevant work experience – especially from Indonesia - may constitute important additional qualifications. All qualified applicants – regardless of national, ethnic or religious background, gender, age or sexual orientation – are encouraged to apply.

The application should be in English and include:
• Research proposal developing the idea and sketching out methods (max 5 pages)
• CV
• Copies of exam certificates

We only accept applications through our electronic recruitment system. To apply for the position you must go to the job advertisement on our homepage: www.ruc.dk/job/phd/.

Click on the button Apply for vacancy here which appears immediately below the job advertisement.
Then you fill the application form and attach those in the job advertisement mentioned documents. Finish by clicking Send.

We must receive your application on or before 27th February 2012.

Material received after the deadline will not be considered.

For any further question about the PhD scholarship, and the Research Unit, please contact Professor Christian Lund (clund@ruc.dk) or consult:  www.christian-lund.dk  sub-page ProCit.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vacancy: Regional Communications Officer, Asia - IUCN

Regional Communications Officer, Asia

Open (currently receiving applications)
Vacancy #:
Asia - Regional Communications Unit
Asia Regional Office, Bangkok, Thailand
Reporting to:
Head, Asia Communications
Work percentage:
Function group:
Expected start date:
01 April 2012
Type of contract:
Fixed-term (until 28 February 2013)
Closing date:
17 February 2012


IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature seeks to recruit a motivated and energetic professional for the position of Regional Communications Officer, Asia based in IUCN Asia Regional Office, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Regional Communications Officer, Asia will directly report to the Head, Asia Communications on all communications and the administrative matters and functionally report to the Coordinator, Mangroves for the Future (MFF), on communications issues related to the Mangrove for the Futures initiative (www.magrovesforthefuture.org).

The position is for a period of one year with the possibility of extension. This position is classified as P1 in our classification system and the minimum basic monthly salary for this position is USD 1,844 with a comprehensive health and life insurance and other benefits.



1.1 Support strategic and yearly planning of communication for regional projects undertaken by IUCN Secretariat in Asia.

1.2 Act as the Communication Focal Point for the Mangroves for the Future initiative.


Provide communications and outreach support to the Mangroves for the Future Secretariat and other regional projects including:

2.1 Annual planning and implementation of knowledge and communication strategies for regional projects undertaken by IUCN Secretariat in Asia, including budgeting.

2.2 Ensure that IUCN project branding and other guidelines are strictly followed in all outputs.

2.3 Manage press and media relations.

2.4 Act as a spokesperson for project activities, including presentations to senior audiences and the media.

2.5 Lead the development of knowledge products and communications tools and activities.

2.6 Edit and synthesize documents, ensuring correct language use and final output is logical and easy to read.

2.7 Produce high quality communications products in a range of formats including reports, speeches, presentations, publications, brochures, policy briefs, web stories, press releases, short films, podcasts, etc.

2.8 Provide communications support for events, including documentation.

2.9 Oversee and manage production processes including sub-contracting.

2.10 Manage web and digital resources.

2.11 Monitor and evaluate all aspects of communications activities including financial targets, and communications impacts and provide reports on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.


• Bachelor's degree or higher in communications/journalism/PR or related field;

• At least 5 years of relevant professional experience;

• Ability to produce a range of documents types and strong to edit and synthesize complex documents into short and easy to read text;

• An understanding of current conservation issues;  
• Ability to work with multicultural diverse and multidisciplinary team;

• Excellent writing speaking, and presentation skills in English and knowledge of other Asian languages a distinct advantage; and

• Proficient in the use of MS Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and experienced with Adobe Creative Suite design tools. 
Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System by openinghttps://hrms.iucn.org/iresy/index.cfm?event=vac.show&vacId=332, and pressing the "Apply" button.
Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST).
Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: http://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, was founded in 1948 and brings together over 1,100 members (States, government agencies, NGOs and affiliates) and some 11,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. Within the framework of global conventions IUCN has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. IUCN has approximately 1,100 staff, most of whom are located in its regional and country offices while some 150 work at its Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. IUCN is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from qualified women and men. 

Announcement: 2012 Climate Advocacy Small Grants Fund

Drawing Linkages between Population, Reproductive Health, Gender and Climate Change Adaptation

Population Action International (PAI), a Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization that advocates for women and families to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment, is soliciting proposals for our 2012 Climate Advocacy Small Grants Program: Drawing Linkages between Population, Reproductive Health, Gender and Climate Change Adaptation. Only organizations based in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, the Philippines, and Tanzania are eligible to apply.

Several grants of up to $20,000 USD will assist civil society organizations in identifying opportunities to promote the integration of reproductive health and gender considerations into national strategies and plans to address climate change. These one-year grants will support organizations in their efforts to document entry points for advocacy at the national and regional levels; strengthen cross-sectoral research, communication and collaboration; and build national-level support for the integration of reproductive health, gender, and climate change in national policies.

The deadline for proposals is no later than Monday, February 6, 2012 at 6 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) For further information and to receive application materials, please contact Roger-Mark De Souza at rmdesouza@popact.org.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UNU-ISP announces Postgraduate level courses on ‘Building Resilience to Climate Change’ in Japan

United Nations University - Institute for Sustainability and Peace is pleased to announce postgraduate level courses on ‘Building Resilience to Climate Change’. The courses run for five weeks in Tokyo (Japan) from 20th February to 23rd March 2012.

Following two courses will be offered, each with duration of 2 weeks:
  • Course 1: Science, Impacts and Vulnerability
  • Course 2: Approaches to Adaptation

In addition, week-long hands on training in ‘Remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)’ will also be provided.

Priority will be given to students who are currently enrolled in a postgraduate programme. However, the courses are also open to young faculty members, researchers and practitioners who have completed master’s degree and are working in the relevant field.

The application deadline is 31st January, 2012 for applicants in Japan.

For more information:
Felino Lanuevo
Programme Associate
UNU - Institute of Sustainability and Peace
United Nations University
5-53-70 Jingumae,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
e-mail: lanuevo@unu.edu
CECAR: cecar.unu.edu

Monday, January 23, 2012

Become a youth speaker at TEDxBled

Challenge:Future in partnership with TEDxBled, is offering a chance for global youth aged 18-30 to become one of speakers at TEDxBled event under the theme Inspire.Change.Impact on 18 March 2012 in Slovenia. Costs covered.

10 exceptional, high potential young people from 10 different countries will inspire the audience to drive change and make an impact by sharing innovations, sustainable ideas, social projects and the personal impact they’ve made. 

Registration to become one of speakers is here: http://challengefuture. org/quick/32
Deadline for applications is 6 February 2012.

I would appreciate if you could forward the invitation to your friends and networks that may be interested in this speaking opportunity. 

Announcement: Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Programme, 23 April to 4 May 2012, Singapore

The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (LKY School) is delighted to invite you to apply for the Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Programme (TFWLP) to be held in Singapore from 23 April to 4 May 2012. This will be the second run of the programme developed in collaboration between the Temasek Foundation, LKY School and PUB, Singapore’s national water agency.

Programme Objectives
The TFWLP is a unique initiative which aims to meet the needs of water leaders operating in Asian emerging markets that are adapting to the increasing water and sanitation demands placed on them. This programme will expose participants to best practices in water utilities governance, practical guidance on managing water utilities effectively, and strategies to deal with existing and future challenges. Through this programme, participants will:

- Appreciate insights from water leaders on factors contributing to successful water utilities
- Learn key issues, options and best practices in water utilities management
- Increase their knowledge of good practices in the design and implementation of investment projects in the water sector
- Identify the various options of private sector participation through a public private partnership approach for ensuring improved and sustainable service delivery
- Understand the different types of regulation structures and approaches, and
- See how Singapore has adopted an innovative concept of multiplying water supply by leveraging on advanced technologies to reclaim treated used water.

The two-week programme will include a combination of lectures by experienced faculty and practitioners, site visits and case studies to enhance learning effectiveness. Participants will be expected to share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues when they return to their home countries, and also demonstrate how they can implement change in their respective institutions within a 12 month period.

Participant Profile
The programme is designed for middle and upper level managers in local regional or national water utility authorities. It is also highly relevant to policymakers, public utilities officials, consultants, researchers and representatives of civil society who are concerned with the governance of water utilities.

Cost and Scholarships
Information on scholarships offered to eligible applicants is contained in the programme brochure and application form. In summary:

(i)   Full tuition expenses and hotel accommodation will be offered for participants from eligible countries (see Table 1 in application form).
(ii)   Applicants from countries not listed in Table 1 and from private sector companies will not be eligible for training scholarship, but are welcome to apply with their own source of funding.
(iii)   All participants are expected to cover their own airfare and per-diem.
(iv)   Lunch, tea breaks and ground transportation will be provided for the programme.

The programme fee for each self-funding participant is SGD $10,000.00 (inc. GST) without accommodation or SGD $12,000.00 (inc. GST) with accommodation at a modest hotel in Singapore.

Further details and application form: http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/TFWLP_Programme.aspx

Please note that applications close on 15 February 2012. To apply for this programme, please complete the attached application form and submit together with your (i) CV/Resume and (ii) Passport-size photo before the application deadline, by one of the methods below. Applications are subject to review and acceptance by the TFWLP committee.

1.      Email: lkysppep@nus.edu.sg
2.      Post: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
             Executive Education
             National University of Singapore
             469C Bukit Timah Road
             Singapore 259772

Attention: Ms. Luana Chow, Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Programme

Panel 24 on Youth and Adaptation at the Adaptation Forum 2012 in Bangkok

Panel 24: Youth and adaptation, 13 March 2012, Tuesday, 13:30-15:00

Climate change has wide range of effects on environmental and socioeconomic sectors. From water to agriculture to food and human health to biodiversity almost every sector has witnessed negative consequences due to this process largely through the uncertainty it has created and increased climate extreme events. Changes in rainfall pattern has resulted to severe water shortage and flooding. Melting of glaciers has damaged and thus induced flooding has washed away many villages, large constructions, productive top soil and so on. While mitigation is expected to solve the problem in the long run adaptation seems urgent as we cannot run away from climate change affects that have already starting showing strong presence in our daily life.

Human beings have been adapting to the variable climate around them for centuries. Worldwide local climate variability can influence peoples’ decisions with consequences for their social, economic, political and personal conditions, and effects on their lives and livelihoods. The effects of climate change imply that the local climate variability that people have previously experienced and have adapted to is changing and changing at relatively great speed[1]. Need of present day is to develop case specific adaptation measures with a strong involvement of communities (CBA) and considering local environment (EBA). Effective adaptation measures will need easy interfacing between people and resources and established linkages among different stakeholders, environmental realities, social processes, development activities enabling timely response mechanism.

Youth, the most vibrant group in any community, share almost 30% of the world's population. The involvement of today's youth in adaptation decision-making and implementation practice is critical to future sustainability of the planet. The parallel session on ‘Youth and Adaptation’ is developed on this foundation.

To understand the situation, identify gaps and challenges, explore opportunities and develop way forward for engaging youth on climate change adaptation.

  • Mr. Mahesh Pradhan, Head, Environmental Education and Training Unit (EETU), Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), UNEP HQs, Nairobi
  • Mr. Saurav Dhakal, British Council’s International Climate Champion, Nepal
  • Mr. Tek Jung Mahat, APMN Node Manager, ICIMOD, Nepal
  • Mr. Wilson Ang, President, Eco-Singapore
  • Ms. Tanzima Shahreen, ICIMOD’s Asia Pacific Youth Forum Alumni

Guiding questions
Q1. What is the level of understanding among youth regarding climate change adaptation? (TANZIMA)
Q2. How have youth-led, -driven or –oriented activities contributed to adaptation actions? What are the gaps and challenges faced? (SAURAV)
Q3. What are the opportunities for and benefits with youth engagement in adaptation? What is the level of youth engagement in global/regional/national processes? UNFCCC COP to national policies and initiatives level (Wilson)
Q4. How can the education system better serve youth’s needs for climate change adaptation knowledge? (MAHESH)
Based on responses to above questions the panel will distill some recommendations and develop way forward.

Panel 24: Youth and Adaptation (13:30-15:00)
Activity (including discussion)
13:30 - 13:35
Mr. Tek Jung Mahat
Introductory presentation
13:35 – 13:45
Ms. Tanzima Shahreen
Youth and adaptation – Reflection from Bangladesh (presentation of a case study including status, challenges and opportunities)
13:45 – 13:55
Mr. Saurav Dhakal
Youth and adaptation – some pictures from Nepal
(presentation of a case study including status, challenges and opportunities)
13:55 – 14:05
Mr. Wilson Ang
Status of youth engagement in CCA – global to regional and national level, and options ahead
14:05 – 14:15
Mr. Mahesh Pradhan
Youth capacity building to enhance CCA process – status, challenges and opportunities
14:15 – 14:50

Floor discussion
14:50 – 15:00
Mr. Tek Jung Mahat
Key conclusions and way forward

Event coordinator
Tek Jung Mahat, ICIMOD, Nepal, tmahat@icimod.org

[1] UNFCCC (2007) Climate Change:  Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation in Developing Countries. Available at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/publications/impacts.pdf (accessed on 18 September 2011)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Call For Proposals: Disaster Risk Reduction in South Asia

START, with funding from CDKN, is pleased to announce a Call for Proposals (CFP) for research on integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for resilient development in South Asia. We expect to fund up to five research projects of a maximum $100,000 USD each for up to 19-months’ duration. The geographical scope of the CFP is Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The deadline for applications is 29 February 2012 at Midnight (2400 hours) US Eastern Standard Time. All applications have to be submitted electronically at the International START Secretariat office.

For more information on the CFP and application form, please visit:

For queries, please contact Sarah Schweizer, sschweizer@start.org.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Berlin Conference on “Evidence for Sustainable Development” – Call for Papers

The Berlin Conference Steering Committee and its partners invite papers for this year’s ‘Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change’. The 2012 conference will be the 11th event in the series of annual European Conferences. With this year’s conference theme “Evidence for Sustainable Development” we address the knowledge basis of political decisions required for sustainable development, the construction of evidence, and the ways evidence is used in decision-making.

The conference aims at bringing together scientists from different disciplines and strands of research that produce evidence to support decision-making for sustainable development, and those that study the use of such evidence. Furthermore, we invite policy-makers and practitioners working at the science-policy interface or dealing with issues of evidence use in policy making to share their experiences.

The conference will be held in Berlin from 5-6 October, 2012. Paper proposals are expected by 1 April, 2012. All paper submissions will be reviewed by an international review panel. Notification of the decision will be sent by email no later than 30 June, 2012. Full papers are expected by 15 September, 2012.

You will find the Call for Paper by following the link:

Further information about the conference will be posted at the conference website:

UNITAR e-Learning course on Negotiating Climate Change: from Durban and beyond

The Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP) at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is pleased to announce the new e-learning course on Negotiating Climate Change: from Durban and beyond which is scheduled to take place from 13 February - 6 April 2012.

The course is directed towards all government officials, and staff of both international and non-governmental organizations participating in conferences on climate change. 
This online course will develop participants’ understanding of the climate change policy framework, by building an appreciation of the science, causes and impacts of climate change, the history of the policy making process and the UNFCCC framework, and will also consider the pertinent challenges currently facing diplomats and international decision makers in making progress with what is currently on the negotiating table.

There are still a limited number of places available. We therefore invite you to register online at: http://www.unitar.org/event/negotiating-climate-change-durban-and-beyond

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us anytime at mdp-elearning@unitar.org.

Thank you for your attention and we hope to welcome at our e-learning programme.

With kind regards,
The MDP e-Learning Team

United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 8716 / Fax: +41 22 917 8993

Thursday, January 12, 2012

3rd International Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, 5-7 February, 2012 in India

IASCA and ITM University, Sithouli, Gwalior (MP) India is organizing 3rd International Conference on “Climate Change and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources” from 05-07 February, 2012.
The environmental, economical and political implications of the global warming are profound. Ecosystems from mountains to oceans, from poles to the tropics are undergoing rapid changes. Low-lying cities face inundation, fertile lands are turning to deserts, and weather patterns are becoming even more unpredictable.

Policymakers, Researchers, Academicians, and Students will be attending
this conference to discuss the present scenario and exchange views to mitigate the environmental problems to save our planet.

We Expect the outcome of this meeting to enhance the academic contribution to international climate finance policy and cooperation. You can find more about the conference at http://www.itmuniversity.ac.in/TIMS/
Details of conference available on website

Extended last date of submission of abstract - 20th January, 2012.

Dr. J.L. Bhat
E-mail: jawaharbhat@gmail.com

5th World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists, June/July 2012 in Italy

CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST: Local Organising Committee and Congress Venue

Deadline for submitting expressions of interest: 15 March 2012

The Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE – www.aere.org) and the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE – www.eaere.org), in cooperation with the East Asian Association of Environmental and Resource Economics (EAAERE - www.eaaere.org), solicit proposals for the Local Organising Committee and for the Venue for the 5th World Congress of

Environmental and Resource Economists, to be held in year 2014 tentatively between late June and early July.

Universities, research organisations, or groups of organisations, that intend to propose their candidature for the Local Organising Committee and Venue are kindly requested to send their expressions of interest to the Chair of the Selection Committee by 15 March 2012.

Expressions of interest
Expressions of interest consist of (1) a formal letter stating that the candidate will assume all of the administrative, organisational and financial responsibilities listed in the “Guidelines for Expressions of Interest” available in the AERE and EAERE websites (www.aere.org and www.eaere.org, respectively); (2) a presentation of the candidate including the candidate’s relevant experience in organising and hosting conferences; (3) a preliminary conference budget; and (4) a presentation of the conference venue. Expressions of interest may be accompanied by any other documentation that the candidates judge useful for the evaluation process. The Selection Committee may ask candidates to present additional documents at a later date.

Expressions of interest should be sent by e-mail to the Chair of the Selection Committee at the address below by 15 March 2012. Any material that cannot be sent electronically should reach the Chair of the Selection Committee by mail or fax by 15 March 2012.

Selection Committee
Carlo Carraro, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and University of Venice, Italy - Chair
Anna Alberini, University of Maryland, USA
Trudy Ann Cameron, University of Oregon, USA
Thomas Sterner, Göteborg University, Sweden
Anastasios Xepapadeas, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece

Selection criteria
Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria: (a) location (including consideration of travel cost and time for participants, amenities, on-site transportation, etc.); (b) accommodation (cost, quality, capacity); (c) session facilities (quality of plenary rooms, quality and number of meeting rooms, equipment, meals, social programme, etc.); (d) communications plan (evaluation of the plan for advertising the congress, registrations, availability of papers, etc.); (e) administration (budget, qualifications of Local Organising Committee and local supporting agencies); and (f) funding (grants for students, grants for participants from developing countries, other sponsorships).

A final decision is expected to be taken by June 2012.

Deadline for submitting expressions of interest: 15 March 2012
Expressions of interest should be sent to:

Prof. Carlo Carraro
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei - Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, 8 - I-30124 Venice, Italy
Phone: +39.041.2700437, Fax: +39.041.2700412
e-mail: carlo.carraro@feem.it

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mountains in the ‘Zero Draft of the outcome document of Rio+20’

in the
 ‘Zero Draft of the outcome document of Rio+20’

- Tek Jung Mahat

I have been closely observing preparations of one of the most awaited conference of this decade, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) also known as Rio 2012 or Rio+20 or Earth Summit 2012, hosted by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, as a 20-year follow-up to the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that was held in the same city. Organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), this conference is talk of the town ever since decision to hold the conference was made by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/64/236 on 24 December 2009. There are many high hopes associated with Rio 2012 as it is expected to redefine sustainable development options and strategies based on review of what has been achieved over last two decades, critical analysis of the new challenges evolved since then (including climate change, biodiversity crisis, social exclusion and disparity etc.) and consider also alternatives for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), that expire in 2015. In short, Rio 2012 is seen as a big thinking and a re-shaping of current processes.

Looking back and connecting the dots (Rio 1992 to Rio 2012):
There are some obvious expectations from Rio 2012 as Rio 1992 was a huge success with participation of 172 states, with 108 sending their heads of state or government; some 2,400 representatives of  NGOs and other 17,000 people at the parallel NGO Global Forum, that opened for signature three important legally binding agreements (UNFCCC and CBD in 1992 and UNCCD in 1994); issued Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Forest Principles; and adopted  Agenda 21 - a global plan of action, to ensure sustainable development through integration of environment and development issues and reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment cooperation. This important conference recognised for the first time significant place of mountains in environmental discourses (at the highest level) and that was formally included in the outcome document as a separate chapter ‘Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development - SMD’ (Chapter 13, Agenda 21). This had cascading effects in mountain development communities over next decade that led to birth of Sustainable Development of the Andean Ecoregion (InfoAndina) in 1992, Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) in 1995, Euromontana in 1995, Mountain Forum in 1996, European Mountain Forum in 1998, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) in 2001 among others, through several regional and global consultations. This also enhanced, increased values and made visible works of other existing organisations like International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), African Mountain Association (AMA), Andean Mountain Association (AMA), International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) and The Mountain Institute (TMI). Similarly UNCED follow-up discussions provided fertile ground to celebrate International Year of Mountains (2002) and Bishkek Global Mountain Summit (2002), and preparation of Bali Document (2002) that opened way to establish International Partnership For Sustainable Development In Mountain Regions, a.k.a. Mountain Partnership (MP) in 2002 as the Type 2, non-negotiated outcome of the WSSD. These arrangements and processes as well as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report ‘Ecosystems and Human Well-being’ and IPCC AR4 have taken mountains at next level of global debate, which will have to form concrete frame at Rio 2012 to maintain its legacy and tap new opportunities the year 2012 will start offering soon.

Preparing Mountains for Rio 2012 (April-October 2011):
There are several institutions around the globe who are found to be advocating Mountain Agenda in the context of Rio 2012 ranging from ‘States’ to ‘Intergovernmental Organisations’, ‘NGO/CBOs’ to ‘Major Groups’ like ‘Youth’, ‘Women’, ‘Farmers’, ‘Indigenous Peoples’ and ‘Scientific and Technical Community’. On the top of this list are the members and supporters of the Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC), that include countries in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, Andes and Alps, Carpathian, Caucasus, Balkan etc. and development agencies like Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA), Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecorregión Andina (CONDESAN), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), ICIMOD, International Mountain Society (IMS), Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS), MRI, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), University of Central Asia (UCA) and Zoï Environment Network (ZOI). Following are few important events/arrangements implemented prior to 1 November 2011 – official deadline to provide input to Zero Draft of Rio 2012.

Organised by
Key outputs
E-conference on SMD in HKH
Synthesis report and draft HKH Assessment Report
Virtual Consultation on SMD in South and Central Asia (Youth Perspective)
Synthesis report
June ‘11
E-conference on SMD in South East Asia and Pacific (SEA-P)
Synthesis report and draft SEA-P Assessment Report
Aug ‘11
Asia Pacific Youth Meeting on Rio+20 (AP Youth Forum) 2011
- Asia Pacific Youth Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development
- Asia Pacific Youth Position paper on Rio+20
Aug ‘11
Regional Sharing Workshop on Assessment of Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific region for Rio +20
Finalization of structure and contents of Regional Assessment Reports on Rio+20 in HKH and SEA-P.
International Conference on Green Economy and SMD
Green Economy and Sustainable Mountain Development: Kathmandu Declaration
Lucerne World Mountain Conference
- Mountains for the World: Call for Action
- Presentation and discussion on SMD Assessment Reports in Andes, Central Asia, Africa, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, HKH, Middle East and North Africa, Mesoamerica, SEAP and Alps
- Presentation and discussion on global SMD reports on Green Economy and Institutional Framework

As a result of above activities and number of others, mountains received enormous response when it comes to submissions made to the UNCSD Secretariat. Of total 677 submissions uploaded on UNCSD website 49 submissions were made in favour of Mountain Agenda. Submitters included countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Serbia, Spain-Terual and Switzerland; intergovernmental organisations like ICIMOD and FAO/MPS, youth groups, green coalitions, academia, and research institutions.

Establishing linkages between climate change (UNFCCC process) and Rio 2012 (November-December 2011):
Last two months of 2011 were particularly important in linking global climate change debate with Rio+20 process in every sector, and mountains were not an exception.

Bhutan Climate Summit for a Living Himalaya was successfully convened in Thimphu in November 2011 with the aim of promoting technical cooperation among four participating countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indian and Nepal. Apart from developing and agreeing a road map for adapting climate change in the Himalayas, the event was also useful in furthering debate on Green Economy in the region.

Organised by ICIMOD, World Bank, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and other MPC members, first ever Mountain Day at UNFCCC COP17 on 4 December 2011 didn’t only broke scientific understanding about climate change in the Himalayas but it also convened higher level policy debate on SMD in the context of climate change and Rio 2012 in presence of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair, Environment Ministers from Bhutan, Costa Rica and Nepal, and several other senior bureaucrats/policy makers, development agency representatives, scientists interested on mountain climate change. The event formally concluded adopting a ‘Call for Action to Protect Mountain Ecosystems and People’, that establishes strong connections between Climate change and Rio 2012 and urges global community to work together to ensure mountain sustainability and make best use of Rio 2012 process to benefit mountains and people.

Organised by FAO/MPS, UNEP and the Missions of Italy and Switzerland to the UN, the Mountain Focus Group convened in New York on 14 December 2011 sought to forge a common understanding on including mountain development in Rio 2012. The meeting focused on the outcomes from the Lucerne World Mountain Conference and its potential input to the UNCSD, the latest developments in the UNCSD preparatory process and ensuring the proper inclusion of mountain issues, and the role of the MPS leading up to the UNCSD in June 2012. Topics addressed included the need to communicate both the challenges and benefits of mountains, approaches for outreach on mountain issues, potential partnerships, and the sustainable development of mountains as a cross-cutting issue.

Rio+20 Zero Draft Agenda presented - MOUNTAINS find a separate paragraph in the main text (January 2012):
The much anticipated Rio+20 Zero Draft Agenda was made available to the public on 10 January 2012. Entitled as ‘The Future We Want’, the 19-pages long draft is broadly organised under five sections - Preamble/Stage setting; Renewing Political Commitment; Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development; and Framework for action and follow-up. The report is further organised with respect to different themes, issues, groups and approaches which are presented in total 128 paragraphs. Interestingly, MOUNTAINS find a separate paragraphs (94), which appears as below:

“We recognize that mountains are highly vulnerable to global changes such as climate change, and are often home to communities including of indigenous peoples, who have developed sustainable uses of their resources yet are often marginalized, sometimes with high poverty rates, exposure to natural risks and food insecurity. We recognize the benefits derived from mountains and their associated ecosystems. We also recognize the need to explore global, regional, national, and local mechanisms to compensate and reward mountain communities for the services they provide through ecosystem protection.”

However the most important thing to ponder at this point is - Is the statement above realistically presents beauty, richness, challenges and opportunities mountains truly deserve? Is it enough to renew political interest and commitment of mountainous (and non-mountainous) countries and other development communities? If not, what are the next steps?

Next steps...
It is quite clear that mountains will need much more attention going far beyond climate change and ecosystem services and that is possible only through making significant contributions in the upcoming meetings in the Rio 2012 process (Initial discussions on the zero draft of outcome document – finalisation of the ‘Zero draft of the outcome document’, 25-27 January; 3rd Intersessional Meeting of UNCSD, 26-27 Mar; First round of 'informal-informal' negotiations on the zero draft of outcome document, 19-23 March; 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting UNCSD, 13-15 June and the main UNCSD Conference, 20-22 June 2012), which again needs to be sought through partnerships among mountainous countries, think-tank institutions, relevant major groups and other stakeholders. For the success of securing better position of mountains it would be critical to influence countries and other stakeholders through various means, including development and dissemination of ‘Policy Briefs’, ‘Call for Actions’, ‘Appeals for Mountains’; meetings of knowledge providers and mountain advocacy groups with the countries; and sensitizing the Rio 2012 delegates and give agreed talking points to country, IGO and Major Group representatives through organisation Side events on ‘Highlighting the Critical Role of Mountain Ecosystems’ in the context of Rio 2012 at 3rd Intersessional Meeting in March in NY, 3rd PreCom meeting in June in Rio and at the main Rio 2012 Conference. In between these processes it might equally be useful to have a dedicated session to development on Rio+20 priorities at the Ministerial Meeting of Mountainous Countries planned by the Government of Nepal in April 2012.

Information provided in this article are taken from various websites and publications and wherever possible the source is quoted. These are personal views of the author and do not represent views of institutions he is affiliated to.

About the Author: Tek Jung Mahat is an Environmental Science graduate from the Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is working on issues related to environment, sustainability and climate change in Asia for many years. He was one of facilitators of Nepal’s Mountain Initiative, Bhutan Summit preparation, Mountain Day at COP17 and Rio+20 preparations in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas and South East Asia Region. In the capacity of APMN Manager, he managed MF activities and facilitated MP initiatives in the Asia Pacific region from 2007-2011. Currently he leads Asia Pacific Youth on Rio +20 (Earth Summit 2012); Youth for Sustainable Mountain Development (Y4SMD) and Media engagement in SMD (M4SMD) initiatives. He pioneered e-dialogues and e-networking among environment professionals in Nepal by establishing the Environment Professionals Group in 2005 and established Climate Himalaya Initiative - an independent, informal, and informative network of climate change professionals in the Himalayas in 2007. Furthermore he runs a blog Realising CHANGE aiming to inform and empower early and midcareer professionals working on sustainability issues.)

Citation: Mahat, T. J. (2012) Mountains in ‘Zero Draft of the outcome document of Rio+20’.  Blog entry on Realising CHANGE. Available at http://realisingchange.blogspot.com/2012/01/mountains-in-zero-draft-of-outcome.html