An introduction to IMI-SMD Summit III
Come September, Kohima will be host to the third Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS-III), an annual key activity of the Indian Mountain Initiative (IMI) that aims to provide a platform for the mountain states of the Indian Himalayan Region to come together, share experiences, discuss issues of concern and evolve consensus on how to address them.
The first two summits were held in Nainital and Gangtok respectively, looking at themes such as the hydropower projects in mountain regions, adaptation measures for climate change scenario, rural tourism, and community forestry in the first summit, and water, mountain livelihoods, communities and forests, and innovations as key themes in the second summit.
SDFN: The host and organizers of the Kohima Summit (SMDS-III) is the Sustainable Development Forum Nagaland (SDFN). The SDFN is a conglomeration of representatives from the Naga civil society, academia, entrepreneurs, government, the media and NGOs and strives to facilitate dialogue, research, and sustainable policy-making keeping in mind the state’s economy, environment and development.
The SDFN is one of the key members of the IMI network, which covers 11 Indian mountain states and the Darjeeling Hills district of West Bengal.
Amongst others, the key aims and objectives of the SDFN are also:
- To enhance public awareness and consciousness of the necessity of the application of the principles of sustainable consumption and development, so as to ensure the realisation of an equitable, environmentally oriented, self-sustaining development and to ensure its continued sustainability in the future;
- To promote the development of knowledge, theory and practice of sustainable development in its various aspects and to improve the level of skills and capabilities for its realization;
- To promote the development of human resources with the perspective of sustainable development and also enhancement of the knowledge and capabilities which would help in participation at the level of state, national, regional and international leadership for the realisation of sustainable development;
- To promote values which are conducive to institutional development for the realisation of sustainable development in state, national, regional and international spheres;
- To conduct seminars, scientific meetings, discussions and promote writing of the national, regional and international dimensions so as to broaden the dissemination and communication of knowledge on sustainable development;
- To promote policies that seeks to protect the environment and promote development in a sustainable manner;
- To work, promote and network with individuals, communities and organisations that strive towards attaining a society that is sustainable, fair and just.
The Kohima Summit: The Summit (SMDS-III) is scheduled to be held from 25 – 27 September 2013 at the NBCC Convention Hall, Kohima and will focus on three main themes of Water, Forests and Agriculture. While there are so many pertinent issues, these themes have been shortlisted based on the general feedback and need to bring about a focus during the deliberations.
Water (Expert Members- India Water Portal): Water resources in the Indian Himalayan region are under stress due to increasing population, erratic rainfall and winter aridity due to climate change. The mountain states of India face common issues and challenges. Similarly, mountain peoples across the Himalayan region have realized that the solutions to meet these challenges are also similar.
Implementing them will become easier if the states work together and a common front will make it easier for the Himalayan States to present their strategies for development to the Centre.
Papers discussing the main issues concerning water in the mountain regions are invited on the basis of:
- Water conflicts
- Water rights and access (including governance and gender issues)
- Innovations and technologies for mountain water management/conservation
- Policy gaps and opportunities in water conservation and management
Forests (Expert Members- Prof. S.P. Singh, Prof. S.K. Barik and Dr. Rajesh Thadani):
Thematic parameters for paper writers in respect of Forests are indicated below:-
- Forest degradation
- Human dependence on forests
- Ecosystem Services
- Governance and development
- Climate change
Agriculture (Expert Members): Dr. Sonali Bisht and Dr. Dhrupad Choudhury): Papers for Agriculture are invited for discussion of broad issues such as the gradual ‘adulteration’ of mountain agriculture with the conventional ‘green revolution’ approach, causing irreversible damage to the sustainability of traditional mountain agriculture (and the resultant loss of agro-biodiversity), The stagnant/rapidly declining productivity and declining returns, resulting in out-migration and the growing shift of management responsibilities on women, The rapid shift from food crops to cash crops – and the resultant ‘elite capture’ of resources, The importance of mountain agro-diversity in CCA, Foresight on mountain agriculture, Alienation of mountain youth from agriculture because of educational system, policy neglect, aspirations and perceptions and what needs to be done, Food and nutrition security for mountain regions, Community based and local innovation in agriculture, Policy gaps, opportunities and challenges.
(One may check the SDFN website- www.sdfnagaland.org. for more details on the parameters for all the themes.)
Pre-Summit Events/ Side Events: Pre-summit events and meetings are being planned and held across the Himalayas in each of the mountain states in preparation for the Kohima Summit.
These meetings are not just to reach out to different sections of stakeholders who may not be attending the Summit but also facilitates the identification of research papers, case studies participants and further strengthening the activities of the network in each state.
The State Level Meeting for Nagaland will be held on 2nd August 2013 at Kohima from 8.30am at the Circuit House, Kohima and those interested can check www.sdfnagaland.org.
Amongst the side events, there will be special parallel sessions like the Policy Makers Dialogue, the Indian Himalayan Legislators Meeting, the State Action Plan – Himalayan Caucus and one on Himalayan Disasters.
For those into photography, the Summit is also hosting the 3rd Indian Himalayan Photography Competition which is an open event with even a special category for students. There also is the Indian Himalayan Youth Summit as a precursor to the main Kohima Summit.
Besides, the Sustainable Development Forum Nagaland is also organizing a Grassroots Comic making Workshop for NGO workers and others in the development field to engage in, learn about and use the medium of comics as a strong and effective communication.
The Sustainable Mountain Development Summit, which is to be held in Kohima, Nagaland, not only provides a wonderful opportunity for the state and its people to showcase its issues, experiences and hospitality but to also engage with and network across the Indian Himalayas in our roadmap towards a sustainable Nagaland. Media Cell, SDFN.