Leh hosting development summit for Himalayan states

Leh, Sep 20 (IANS) Leh is hosting the fifth Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) to discuss a wide range of issues related to Himalayan states, including water security and entrepreneurial ventures like crafts, eco-tourism.

The three-day summit is being inaugurated by Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.

A statement said the summit will focus on entrepreneurial ventures such as crafts, eco-tourism, agriculture and allied skills which are appropriate for sustainable development of the mountain communities.

The summit will be attended by parliamentarians, legislators from various states, members of Leh Autonomous Council, central and state government officials, civil society participants and delegates from multilateral organisations such as United Nations Development Programme.

“Having a vision based in holistic and sustainable development, the effort would be to draw upon scholarly inputs, meaningful experiences with the involvement of leaders so that the summit will add actionable value to mountain states in their development efforts,” the release said.

The summit is in its fifth edition and such events in the past have deliberated on various thematic areas relevant to the mountain ecosystems, the statement said.

“Delegates will be discussing the issue of water security and skills for development,” the release said.

The summit is being organised by Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), a civil society organisation of 11 Himalayan States, including Darjeeling in West Bengal and two hill districts of Assam in association with Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council and Snow Leopard Conservancy.

IMI has been constituted as a platform to allow stakeholders from the Indian Himalayan region to develop a common understanding on issues of mountain regions and lead to action plans. These actions plans are then recommended to states and the central government for making it part of their planning processes.

–IANS

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