Themes

Global Assessment of Climate Change

Highlands are the sources of water for drinking, crops, energy and more. They are, however, susceptible to climate change: glaciers and permafrost are melting, plants and animals are shifting, treelines and ecosystems are changing and natural resources are being exploited for local economies and industries. Natural disasters are increasing and intensifying. A global assessment of how climate change has impacted and will impact mountains in the future needs to be explored by collecting cases of positive adaptations to the Anthropocene from across the mountainous regions in Asia and rest of the world. The human face behind these practices needs to be revealed. Future scenario planning may help spread these good practices.

Dynamic Sustainability

Whether positive or negative, anthropogenic drivers dominate today’s mountain regions. But how do culturally diverse mountain people adapt? What are the important natural and social patterns for climate, water, goods, energy, settlement, livelihoods and land use? Defeatist visions about the future of mountains forecast increasing risks, poverty and degradation. But they shroud the opportunities and inspiration that compel people to take adaptive action. We want to explore alternatives that will make a positive difference in local livelihoods. Combining scientific research and civic knowledge to develop a hybrid and dynamic methodology can ensure long-term sustainability.

Mainstreaming the Marginalized

Mountains are home to a tremendous variety: in knowledge, language, belief systems, settlement patterns, livelihoods and land use practices. Yet, people’s traditional ways of coping with environmental conditions are proving inadequate in the face of intensifying environmental and social change. In the Anthropocene, intercultural communication will become more important with people playing key roles in environmental protection and social and economic development. How can we reduce barriers for the disadvantaged: women (and men), ethnic minorities, the elderly, children?

Water Governance

Climate change is destabilizing upstream water supplies and increasing downstream water demands are causing conflicts. Water is increasingly becoming a political resource triggering transboundary conflicts and governance issues. Instead of sharing water, sharing benefits from socioeconomic development alongside efficient and effective participation and access to open information need to build a foundation for good water governance.

Impact

The Conference aims to explore and assess the role of mountains in the Anthropocene, and to develop plausible visions for mountains in a future where unintended or unforeseen consequences of human activities may dominate natural processes. We want to solicit, explore and develop visions of mountain futures that are socially and ecologically desirable, just, and sustainable in a human-dominated Anthropocene.

We want to build awareness of impacts of global change on mountains. By collecting seeds of “Good Anthropocene” practices from montane communities, assessing policy and institutional barriers, and considering the anthropogenic impacts of global change on local communities, we want to share knowledge that leads to future solutions. We want to facilitate dialogue on adaptation to global change among multiple montane stakeholders. Disasters are on the rise and the livelihoods of the people living with them are at risk. We intend to bridge the gap between scientific research and development on ground. In the post MDGs scenario and the recent progress on the SDGs we want to stress on the importance of mountains and the people living in them. Finally, we want to establish partnerships for regional cooperation in adaptation, water governance, and risk management in mountain regions.