My Attempts to Change the World - I: YOUTH

Dear Friends,

I envisioned, conceptualised and implemented first Youth Programme in the 'mountain development' sector through my association with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). I implemented these activities in the capacity of the Project Manager of the Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) - a network established by ICIMOD to implement Asia Pacific regional activities of two global networks, namely Mountain Forum (MF) and Mountain Partnership (MP) as their Asia Pacific Coordination Office. Started in early 2009, ICIMOD's Youth Programme now has a network of more than 2500 youth from the Asia Pacific region and few more from other regions. A dedicated discussion list is joined by over 1500 enthusiasts(mostly youth) and few selected activities are listed below. With these attempts we were able to establish the 'youth' dedicated project in the mountain development world which itself recognises the value of our work. There were more than 30 major partnerships developed in this process including with UNEP, NASA, USAID, SDC,, ACTIS-YES, APAN, AKP, University of California/Berkeley, University of Colorado/Boulder, Schumacher College/UK, Small Earth Nepal, NYCA/Nepal etc. to name a few. Likewise the activities ranged from national to regional and global and on diverse themes - climate change to sustainability leadership and earth observation technologies to green economy. Currently ICIMOD's Mountain Youth Programme is one of largest in Asia and the largest on mountain theme globally.

I got the motivation and inspiration to work on ‘youth Issues’ after attending the Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES) 2009 - a two week intensive course operated by the ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland) in cooperation with the Hosei University Tokyo and the Alliance for Global Sustainability (AGS) – an environmental research partnership between the ETH Zürich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Tokyo (UT) and the Chalmers Technical University in Göteborg/Sweden, held in March-April 2009 in Tokyo, JAPAN. Currently this programme is managed by the Activating Talent in Sustainability (ACTIS), under the same leadership of – ‘YES Father’ Dr. Roger Baud. Thank you Dr. Baud for all your inspiration. I am very much indebted to Mr. Daan Boom, former Programme Manager at ICIMOD, who supported my team in every possible ways to move this idea further. His networks/connections, ideas, and initiatives were central to success of this programme. My team members Mr. Utsav Maden,  Mr. Sanam AkshaMr. Basudev Upadhyay and Ms. Leena Bajracharya played crucial role to implement this project along with several ICIMOD colleagues helping us in every steps.

Tek Jung Mahat, 28 August 2012, Kathmandu, Nepal
YES Japan 2009

ICIMOD’s Youth Forum timeline:
2010: SERVIR-Himalaya Youth Forum on Empowering Youth with Earth Observation Information for Climate Actions 1-6 October 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2011A: Asia Pacific Youth Forum on Climate Actions and Mountain Issues, 8-12 August 2011 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2011B: SERVIR-Himalaya Sub-regional Youth Forum (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) on Climate Actions in the Himalaya at Bhutan Climate Summit, 14 – 19 November 2011 in Thimpu, Bhutan (managed by SERVIR-Himalaya Project at ICIMOD)
2011C: SERVIR-Himalaya National Youth Forum on Climate Change, 5-8 December 2011 in Islamabad, Pakistan (managed by SERVIR-Himalaya Project at ICIMOD)
2012A: SERVIR-Himalaya National Youth Forum on Climate Change, 23-26 January 2012, Dhaka, Bangladesh (managed by SERVIR-Himalaya Project at ICIMOD)
2012B: Global Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Sustainable Actions at Rio+20, 15 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2012C: Asia Pacific Graduates' Youth Forum on Green Economy, 25-29 September 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2012D: South Asian Youth Forum on Mountain Issues and Sustainable Actions in Islamabad, Pakistan (planned)

Other Major Youth Activities:
2009A: E-discussion on The Young Can Do! Let's Protect Forests with Our Hands, 29 April to 27 May 2009, Kathmandu, Nepal
2009B: Beginning of the youth for Sustainable Mountain Development (Y4SMD) initiative at ICIMOD, with launch of the special report ‘The Young Can Do!’, 12 August 2009, Kathmandu, Nepal
2009C: Cosponsored First South Asian Youth Summit on Climate Change, 3-6 September 2009, Dhulikhel, Nepal
2010A: ICIMOD-British Council First Café Scientifique in Asia on Climate Change Adaptation, 25 February 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2010B: ICIMOD-British Council Workshop on Creating a Sustainable Network of Climate Change Champions from Bangladesh, Nepal and Uzbekistan, 19-24 September 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2010C: Cosponsored International Graduate Conference on Climate Change and People, 15-19 November 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2011A: Youth and Climate Change Poster Competition, January-February 2011, Kathmandu, Nepal
2011B: ICIMOD-British Council Youth Corner on Climate Change Adaptation, 12 March 2011 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2011C: ICIMOD-British Council Café Scientifique on 'Climate Change and Water' with Dr Garrett Kilroy, 25 March 2011, Kathmandu, Nepal
2011E: Asia Pacific Youth on Green Economy-Special Side Event at the UNEP-TUNZA Conference, 27 September 2011 in Bandung, Indonesia
2011F: Contributed to Panel Discussion on Youth Engagement on Climate Change & Rio+20 Processes at UNFCCC COP17, 8 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa
2011G: ICIMOD-CONDESAN-SDC and VerbierGPS: Engaging Children and Youth in Mountain Development (Asia, Europe and South America) – Test launch of the World Mountain Forum, 11 December 2011 in Kathmandu, Nepal
2012C: Youth Perspectives on Promoting Green Economy in South and Central Asia at Planet Under Pressure 2012, 26 March 2012, in London, UK
2012D: Formation of ‘Asia Pacific’ and ‘Nepal’ task Forces on Rio+20 and advocacy in Nepal, HKH and globally, January-August 2012 (, and
2012E: ICIMOD Funded Youth Alumni organised ‘Youth and Green Economy’ and ‘My sustainable dream and practice’ side events at the UNCSD MGCY Youth Blast Conference, 8-12 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

ICIMOD Publications on Youth:

ICIMOD Multimedia Products aimed at Youth:
For more information:
Tek Jung Mahat, Team Leader and Utsav Maden, Events Manager at


Sameera Zaib said...

And you forget to mention "You are also an inspiration for (not only Asia Pacific but) Global youth". Keep going.

Sameera Zaib

Tek Jung Mahat said...

Thank you so much Sameera. Indeed, I was getting (and still I am) getting inspiration from people like you. It was always in my favour to work with youth, in different respects. I may have to discontinue this function in near future as I feel next generation leadership is already developed to take over this task from me, and I should now explore something that I have not done before :-)