“The future of mountains is in the hands of mountain youths,” said Dr. Pradeep Mehta, Honorary Chairman, CHINAR in the web dialogue on Mountain Diversity through Youth organized by Mountain Partnership of the United Nations FAO, Rome.
The web dialogue was organized on the eve of Monday, Oct. 19th. Dr. Mehta was invited as a keynote speaker to address the mountain youths who joined from different countries around the world. The title of his address was Voice from the Himalaya. In his address, he briefed the participants about the importance of mountain ecosystems and shared that biodiversity is the foundation of all ecosystem services. Giving the example of Indian Himalayas, he briefed the importance of Himalayan biodiversity. He emphasized on the endemic species of the Himalaya which are not found anywhere in world. He also shared examples how mountain farm diversity is being replaced by mono cropping and how this is impacting the indigenous bee population. He also briefed about the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the Indian Himalaya, like apples cannot be grown in lower Kullu and Ramgarh valley, species like pine, apple and butterflies are moving upwards. He also mentioned the initiatives being taken by CHINAR to conserve biodiversity like documentation of biodiversity, citizen science forum, nature connect programmes, eco-tourism, environmental education, etc.
At the end of his deliberation, he inspired the youth by telling them that the future is in their hands and suggested different career options they could work for the conservation of mountains biodiversity.
More than 100 participants from different parts of the world joined the web dialogue. Seven youth leaders from different countries also expressed their views in the youth led panel on Biodiversity Across Sectors.
Manjiri Gaikwad from Global Himalayan Expedition represented India and spoke about Sustainable Tourism in the mountains. The web dialogue was moderated by Lindsey Hook, Outreach Expert, FAO Mountain Partnership. The other key speakers were Davnah Payne and Yuka Makino (Coordinator FAO Mountain Partnership).