Integrated Mountain Initiative & Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative
18th – 20th November, 2021
The wellbeing of mountain people is inextricably linked to biodiversity. Biodiversity is known to be the foundation of human health. With the COVID 19 pandemic, interlinkages between biodiversity, ecosystem, and human health have become starkly apparent. COVID 19 showed that outbreaks and spread of diseases are not just ahealth risk, but regress human civilization by disrupting social life, economy, education, livelihoods, and rob people of basic dignity and wellbeing. The pandemic also highlighted the existing social inequities and further deepened this. Mountain communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change, which impacts vulnerable populations dependent on natural resources and services like water, energy, food and associated livelihoods. The far-flung mountain populations are underserved with low access to health and social facilities, and thus more vulnerable to the impacts of pandemics brought about by loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services and aggravated by climate change.
With this backdrop, the concept of One Health, that binds together the health of humans, animals, and the environment has gained greater relevance particularly with the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. One Health is an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to recognize the interconnectedness of the components, interactions and relationships, both tangible and intangible, within landscapes for optimal health and environmental outcomes.
The Integrated Mountain Initiative’s Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) X is being organized in the Darjeeling - Kalimpong Hills for 2021 and will be hosted by the Darjeeling chapter - Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative (DHI) and Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI). The theme of SMDSX is “Towards One Health: Making our mountains resilient”
The summit brings together mountain people of the Indian Himalaya Region (IHR). SMDS is hosted in a different mountain state each year with the first one being held in Nainital, Uttarakhand in 2011. SMDS brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss relevant themes warranting immediate attention of the mountains. Recommendations emerging from these summits are pursued by IMI subsequently for actionable outputs that include the Meet of the Mountain States with key policy makers. The Mountain Legislators’ Meet and the Indian Himalayan Youth Summit are two events which are integral components of SMDS.
Under the broad theme of One Health, the main event of SMDSX shall discuss around these 4 sub themes that are highly relevant for the mountains.
Mountain Legislators’ Meet
A highlight of the Mountain Summits is the Mountain Legislators’ Meet that brings together elected representatives of the IHR states to discuss on relevant issues. This SMDSX too shall bring together legislators from the IHR states to discuss on One Health with a key focus around plastic pollution and its impacts thereof to lead to a policy recommendation on plastic waste specifically for the mountains.
Indian Himalayan Youth Summit
One of the Mountain Summit’s annual feature has been the Youth Summit as a side event. This provides a platform every year to the youths of the IHR to converge and share their perspectives on various issues. DHI has already hosted on International Youth Day an interactive webinar on transforming food systems which has been a good stepping stone to this year’s Youth Summit.