UCA News - Issue 105

Date: 30 November 2011
Other languages: Русский язык |

University of Central Asia presents a regional assessment of sustainable mountain development in Central Asia at Lucerne World Mountain Conference

Twenty years after the first UN Earth Summit in Rio, the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Centre (MSRC) is serving as the focal point for a Central Asian regional assessment of progress related to the 1992 Earth Summit goals specific to the sustainable development of mountain areas (Chapter 13 of Agenda 21).

Regional assessments will contribute to a global synthesis report, and the final product will be used to call attention to the unique and essential natural resources that benefit all of humanity, and the vulnerabilities, of mountain areas around the globe, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20 Summit) in Rio in June 2012.

Plenary session of the Lucerne World Mountain ConferencePlenary session of the Lucerne World Mountain ConferenceWith support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), MSRC and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat’s Central Asia Hub facilitated a process to identify trends, developments, lessons and opportunities for action in Central Asia. In addition, 15 case studies were compiled on activities from selected stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, government agencies and Mountain Partnership member organisations in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan.

Based on this process, MSRC Senior Research Scientist, Dr Chad Dear and Regional Programme Officer for the Central Asian Hub of Mountain Partnership, Elbegzaya Batjargal, along with consultants from the Zoi Environment Network, Switzerland, generated a draft report, Sustainable Mountain Development in Central Asia – An Assessment of Progress since the 1992 Earth Summit.

The report was presented at the Lucerne World Mountain Conference: Moving Mountains toward Global Sustainable Development in Lucerne, Switzerland, 11 – 12 October 2011 by the UCA Central Asia Regional Assessment Team, including Dr Nasreen Dhanani, UCA Deputy Director and Director of Research, Elbegzaya Batjargal, Regional Programme Officer for the Central Asian Hub of Mountain Partnership, and Victor Novikov of the Zoi Environment Network.

The conference was co-organized by SDC and the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development. The draft report, along with those from other regions, can be viewed online at: http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/content/documents/630Central_Asia_mountains_1nov2011.pdf

Attended by about 200 participants from around the world, the conference aimed to take stock of achievements and short-falls in sustainable mountain development (SMD) since 1992 in mountain regions around the world and generate a global synthesis report on the state of SMD.

Participants produced a seven-point Call for Action to secure renewed commitment for SMD, particularly within the global sustainable development agenda to be submitted to the Rio+20 Conference Secretariat. The Call for Action aims to protect future water supplies, reduce poverty among mountain populations and unlock the economic potential of mountains.  

To read the Call, please see: http://mountainslucerne2011.mtnforum.org/content/lucerne-world-mountain-conference-closing-and-call-action

As one of several institutional partners, UCA was recognized in the Global Synthesis Report for Rio+20 as a good example of regional institutional development to support the sustainable mountain development agenda in the region through training and research. “As a regional university with a commitment to the development of the mountain communities of Central Asia, UCA is pleased to be a partner in this conference, and call attention to the considerable resources and challenges that the region brings to the table. We look forward to continuing in the preparation for the Rio+20 Summit,” said Dr Dhanani.

The draft reports will be finalized by the end of November 2011 and are to be used, along with outcomes from the Conference, to feed into upcoming events in addition to the Rio+20 Summit, including the United Nations Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability and the Conference on Sustainable Development biennial cycle 20/21 in 2013 and 2014, where mountains will be one of five priority themes.

University of Central Asia’s Mountain Societies Research Centre (MSRC) is a university-wide, interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities within Central Asian mountain communities and environments. The MSRC’s goal is to support and enhance the resilience and quality of life of mountain societies through sound research on the sustainable development and management of their physical, social, economic and cultural assets.For more information: http://msrc.ucentralasia.org/