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Sikkim set to host 2nd Sustainable Mountain Development Summit
Sikkim is set to host the 2nd Sustainable Mountain Development Summit of the Indian Mountain..

SIKKIM IS set to host the 2nd Sustainable Mountain Development Summit of the Indian Mountain Initiative (IMI) where over 250 delegates from eleven mountain and hill States including Darjeeling hills would be deliberating over two days on key issues of the Indian Himalayan region including the North East. The summit is organized by the Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS) and co-organised by Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA) on May 25 and May 26 here at Chintan Bhavan in Gangtok, PD Rai, informs a press comminique by PD Rai, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Sikkim who is also the Convener of the Indian Mountain Initiative-Sustainable Mountain Development Summit 2 (IMI-SMDS2).

The release futhter informs that Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Union DoNER Minister Paban Ghatowar will inaugurate the Summit. Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand and Sikkim will also attend the summit.

The press communique elaborates that IMI is a civil society movement that aims to bring stakeholders of the mountain and hill States on a common platform to come together to discuss issues related to the development of the mountains and hill regions and communities, evolve consensus on priorities and action plan. The summit, an annual event of the IMI, brings them together to discuss a few pre-decided themes that are vital to the development and well being of the region.

The 2nd Sustainable Mountain Development Summit would focus on water, mountain livelihoods and communities and forests. The summit aims to discuss the policy framework around these three themes and to suggest interventions to make them more relevant. It will be concluding with the ‘Sikkim Declaration’ that will highlight key concerns of the on the discussed themes, policy prescription, and recommendations on Plan of Action.

The Summit recommendations would be taken up with relevant authorities at the State and Union level. A number of side events are also being organized alongside the summit at Chintan Bhavan. These include the 2nd Himalayan Photography competition and calculation of carbon footprint of the summit and tree saplings plantation and other measures for offsetting the carbon footprint.

The Legislators and Parliamentarians would be holding a meet to discuss climate change legislation. It is likely that one of the outcomes is going to be Global Legislators Organisation for Balanced Environment (GLOBE) opening a State Chapter in Sikkim.

A meeting on mountain cities is being organised to review the existing policy framework for the planning and development of mountain cities, its adequacy vis-à-vis challenges faced by mountain cities and their unique needs. The meet will also explore remedial measures and changes to existing policies for better planning and development of mountain cities.

Hydroger, a small and low cost hydropower generator developed by NEPeD (Nagaland Empowerment of People through Energy Development) would be demonstrated during the summit in association with the Lower Martam Village GPU, East Sikkim. An electric utility vehicle by Tata Motors would be displayed at the venue to raise awareness on alternative sources of energy.

The inaugural Sustainable Mountain Development Summit of the IMI was held at Nainital, Uttarakhand on May 21 and 22 last year. As per its recommendations, a Working Group was constituted by the Planning Commission of India on 'Mountain eco-systems and challenges faced by the people living in the hilly areas' for formulation of the 12th Five Year Plan.

The Working Group has 17 members and is chaired by Mr. B. K. Chaturvedi, Member Planning Commission. Its members include the Chief Secretaries of 8 mountain states, Secretaries of the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Development of NE Region plus five other eminent members.

The 2nd Sustainable Mountain Development Summit has received wide institutional support from both within and outside India. The Summit is being organised in association and financial contribution by Ministry for the Development of the North-East Region (DoNER), Government of Sikkim and Government of Nagaland. It is also being supported by Department for International Development (DFID) UK, Deutsche
Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

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