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Shillong to Host Mountain Development Summit from November 4

Shillong
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Articulating mountain-specific development model to ensure ecological, social and economic wellbeing of the Himalayan region is the prime objective

A Reporter

SHILLONG: Shillong will be hosting the eighth edition of Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS-VIII) from November 4- to deliberate on the current issues and concerns of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma will inaugurate the two-day summit at the NEC Auditorium here on Monday. Prof  BK Dutta, NEC member will be the guest of honour.

Around 100 delegates, including key speakers, State ministers, MPs and MLAs from the mountain States and over 100 local participants are expected to attend the summit.

One of the special features of the SMDS is that the open, civil society deliberations in the summit will be followed by a legislative conclave of the mountain States where the key outcomes of the summit will be discussed by the lawmakers representing the Himalayan region, thereby providing vital linkages between the peoples’ aspirations and legislative processes for policy-making for the upland regions.

This Legislators Meet will be chaired by Vincent Pala, MP (Shillong) and convened by Agatha Sangma, MP (Tura). It will also include Ferlin Sangma, MLA and Chairperson, Meghalaya State Council for Climate Change and Sustainable Development (MSCCC&SD) and HM Shangpliang as member of the organizing committee.

The SMDS has been mooted under the aegis of the Integrated Mountain Initiative, a civil society movement and policy think tank that works across the Himalayan region for recognising the value of mountain regions and their special development needs.

Mountains, hills and uplands of the Indian Himalayan region are sites of extreme vulnerability on the one hand and unique opportunities on the other, and hence, require special approaches in policy formulation and appropriate action plans to address their development challenges. Since its inception in 2011, the IMI through its annual SMDS, has been articulating a mountain-specific development model to ensure the region’s ecological, social and economic well being.

This year’s summit (SMDS VIII) will take up the pressing issues of sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurship for the youth in the upland region. The deliberations will follow four interconnected sub-themes – Sustainable Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and Tourism.

There will be, in all, four thematic sessions during the two-day meet. Each thematic session will have key presentations from resource persons followed by an expert panel discussion.

Meghalaya Integrated Mountain Development Initiative (MIMDI), currently anchored at Martin Luther Christian University, Shillong, is the Meghalaya chapter of the IMI, which is jointly hosting the SMDS VIII with the Northeastern Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP)

The IHR comprises of 10 mountain States across the Himalayan region, namely, the erstwhile State of J&K (now two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh), Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, and the hill districts of Assam (Dima Hasao), East and West Karbi Anglong) and West Bengal (Darjeeling and Kalimpong).

Dr Eklabya Sharma, Deputy Director General of the Kathmandu-based International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) will deliver the keynote address on the central theme of the summit: SMILEY (Sustainable Mountain Initiatives for Livelihood and Entrepreneurship for Youth).

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