Integrated Mountain Initiative’s flagship event ‘Meet of the Mountain States’ (MoMS) kicked off at the Ganga Auditorium at the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change on 23 March.
The event was organized this year in collaboration with the Divecha Center from Climate Change and the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, a press release received here said.
MOMs is an annual event organised by Integrated Mountain Initiative where outcomes of Sustainable Mountain Development Summit outcomes and key mountain issues are placed before policy makers and elected in Delhi.
The Chief Guests for the first day were Minister for State, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ashiwni K Choubey, and Minister of State, Tourism, Ajay Bhatt. The special guest was Tashi Gyalson, Chief Executive Councilor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. The event had participation of delegates from all the mountain states of India and members of various organizations and institutions.
In his opening remarks, PD Rai, President of IMI, highlighted the importance of the mountains and how IMI has been working for more than a decade for furthering the agenda for sustainable development in the mountains.
The outcomes from Sustainable Mountain Development Summit-XI (SMDSXI) were shared by Jigmet Takpa PCCF – Ladakh and President, Sustainable Development Forum of Ladakh which highlighted the need to mainstream the theme of sustainable tourism across the IHR.
Minister of State for MoEFCC , Ashwini Chaubey commended the work of IMI in bringing the stakeholders from across the mountain states together. He highlighted the fragility of the Himalaya narrating the account of his own experience of having lived through the 2013 tragedy of Kedarnath. Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State for tourism mentioned that disasters were a common thread that ran across the mountain states, with every state having experienced their share. Tourism was an important economic activity and a cautionary approach had to be adopted, he said.
Tashi Gyalson highlighted the need for taking forward the conversation on extended producer responsibility for managing plastic waste in the mountains. He mentioned that companies were taking the mountains for granted, and they would have to do more on EPR for the mountains, he added. Prof. Satheesh, Chair of DCCC gave an overview of Divecha Center for Climate Change, highlighting how mountains would have a higher degree of warming than other parts.
Two technical sessions discussed plastic management with special focus on extended producer responsibility and resurgence of millets in the mountains. Representatives from the mountain states spoke about the various issues and challenges on both the themes.
On the second day, Minister for MoEFCC Bhupendra Yadav joined the meeting virtually as the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honor was Dr Rajkumar Ranjan, Minister of State for External Affairs and Education.
The outcomes from the thematic sessions on millets and plastic waste were presented by the session leads, Dr GS Rawat and Roshan Rai in the presence of other legislators from the mountain states of Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal and Uttarakhand.
The need for mountain sensitivity as well as special focus in extended producer responsibility guidelines was stressed upon by the speakers, and was deemed essential to redress the Himalayan plastic pollution crisis by the panel of Legislators. The need for legislative action to end plastic pollution in the mountains was acknowledged by all. Legislators shared their childhood connections with millets and the need to revive and promote it for the wellbeing of people and the planet, and the year of the millets provided a great opportunity.
In his address, Bhupendra Yadav welcomed the outcomes of SMDSXI and the need for sustainable tourism in the IHR. The Minister acknowledged the Darjeeling and Leh Declarations that stressed on plastic pollution in the Himalaya as well as extended producer responsibility implementation in the IHR.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Rajkumar Ranjan commended IMI for its work and also proposed the introduction of interdisciplinary mountain science studies in mountain universities that would cater to the knowledge needs of the mountains.
The meet ended with the vote of thanks being proposed by Priya Shrestha, Secretary IMI.