Prioritising the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for Sustainable Mountain Development

Date: 29 May 2018

The University of Central Asia’s Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) conducted an expert survey on prioritising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets for sustainable mountain development. On May 25th, UCA’s MSRI, in collaboration with the University of Bern in Switzerland, organised a workshop to identify the most critical development issues in the mountain areas of Kyrgyzstan, and to prioritise SDG targets in view of these issues. Chris Hergarten, the Senior Research Fellow of MSRI, presented outputs of the survey. The results emphasised that Kyrgyzstan was the first out of five selected countries to participate in an international effort to identify SDG targets that have high leverage for fostering sustainable development in mountain areas.

The workshop gathered participants of the pre-workshop online survey, including development experts, scientists, and non-government representatives with long-standing experience in mountain development. This initiative is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation within its programme on Promoting Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change. MSRI, as a partner in this programme, has facilitated the survey and the workshop in Kyrgyzstan, in coordination with the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern, jointly with the Mountain Research Initiative, Swiss Academies of Sciences, Switzerland.

Mountain communities face specific challenges in creating conditions for sustainable and inclusive economic development, building just societies, and conserving natural resources. The SDGs, as well as monitoring of progress towards them, need to be contextualised to account for these specific challenges and to effectively guide and coordinate development efforts in mountains. The contribution of country experts, who were engaged in the survey and workshop, were instrumental in defining an approach to assessing and monitoring progress towards the SDGs in mountain areas in different parts of the world.

The results of the global assessment will be published in an Issue Brief. It is aimed at informing policy and decision makers about the relevance of the SDG framework for mountains. It will also cover the challenges of monitoring its progress and benefits. The publication will be presented at the upcoming World Mountain Forum 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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