Mountains Connect Interregional Workshop: Take-aways for interregional exchange, regional collaboration and advocacy for mountain areas

Multiple Authors
This report captures take-aways for interregional exchange, regional collaboration and advocacy for mountain areas from the Mountains Connect Interregional Workshop held in Vienna in June 2022.

Summary

The Mountains Connect Interregional Workshop saw 62 participants from 6 mountain ranges (Alps, Andes, Carpathians, South Caucasus, East Africa, Hindu Kush Himalaya) and 26 different countries meet between 20-22 June 2022 in and around Vienna for interregional exchange and action learning. The workshop was undertaken as part of the SDC-funded Adaptation at Altitude programme.

These take-aways for interregional exchange, regional collaboration and advocacy for mountain areas document the final discussions and contain a “backpack” of lessons, inspiration and ideas for:

  • Regional collaboration for climate change adaptation and sustainable climate-resilient development in mountain areas,
  • Future interregional exchange and learning, and
  • Global advocacy for adaptation in mountain areas.

The summary of the Mountains Connect workshop (aims, agenda, activities) can be found here.

Lessons Learnt

Regional collaboration for climate change adaptation and sustainable climate-resilient development in mountain areas

  • Regional cooperation enables improved resilience across a mountain region and many risks of climate change are best addressed by a regional approach.
  • Regional instruments for mountain regions benefit from formalisation and institutionalisation, with different models in place or developing.
  • Regional governance structures in mountains and subsequent agreements should centrally include climate change and environmental considerations.
  • Mountain region-wide assessments of, e.g., climate risks, vulnerabilities, economic valuation and other themes are required for better understanding and decision-making.
  • The Tamlar mountain range simulation has helped to:
    • provide insights to find appropriate institutional formality and legal frameworks for regional mountain range governance,
    • identify actors involved for regional governance: civil society, economic stakeholders and political decision makers,
    • better understand climate risks and socio-economic challenges in mountain areas in the non-fictive world (policy dialogue requires preparation and common understanding),
    • inspire action towards strengthening existing transdisciplinary and science-policy exchange and creating new formats, and
    • overcome political barriers and to extend the local community level with cross-border considerations.
  • A diversity of participants constitutes a strength for co-creating multidisciplinary approaches.

Workshop participants highlighted several take-aways, including the need to:

  • Repeat and adjust the simulation game across mountain regions and adjust it with specific themes.
  • Further strengthen the approach of a simulation game and use it for engaging leaders and politicians of a mountain range.
  • Better understand and explain the role of mountain ecosystems for well-being and economies: develop a target system that is practical and realistic, acknowledging the linkages between climate crisis and biodiversity.
  • Develop policy documents and legislations explicitly on mountain ecosystems and communities at (sub)national and (sub)regional level.
  • Integrate regional networks more with respective policy landscapes.
  • Increase resource mobilization for mountain areas at regional and international level.
  • Foster knowledge exchange and capacity building on sustainable mountain development.
  • Improve coordination mechanisms at the national level with relevant ministries pulling on the same rope before proposing cooperation mechanisms at the regional level.
  • Plan for more intra-regional exchange, to then feed into interregional exchange.

Future interregional exchange and learning

Workshop participants shared various ideas for activities to support future interregional exchange and learning:

  • Continue interregional exchange of experiences, best practices and learning between regional bodies supporting mountain areas.
  • Organize secondments between regional mountain frameworks for in-depth learning and transfer, e.g. CONDESAN x PSAC x ICIMOD x UNEP/SCC x EAC etc.
  • Hold study visits on different levels and with differing stakeholders, incl. local communities.
  • Further involve other mountain regions.
  • Identify similarities between one’s own and other mountain regions to work on synergies and benefit more from each other in-depth.
  • Foster in-depth learning and knowledge exchange for climate adaptation (e.g. ACB).
  • Build training on climate change negotiations for mountain country representatives.
  • Share content and experiences of and between existing networks such as Science for the Carpathians, Bosques Andinos, Himalayan University Consortium etc.
  • Build on and develop further existing online platforms to strengthen a digital community for sustainable mountain development.
  • Target especially local level, where there are capacity constraints, to learn from each other across mountain ranges, building on existing partnerships and creating new ones.
  • More intra-regional exchange, e.g. between certain economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism etc.
  • Learn from other mountain countries and regions and international frameworks. E.g., the UNFCCC, Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) on the global, and EU on the regional level, have obliged national governments towards implementation of commonly agreed goals and objectives
  • Take stock of existing global Mountain events and formats, strengthen them and consider revitalization of format of World Mountain Forum – including learning from World Water Week.
  • Draft and implement relevant Memoranda of Cooperation (e.g., Alpine Convention x Carpathian Convention x Convention on Biodiversity).

Global advocacy for adaptation in mountain areas

Workshop participants shared various ideas for progressing global advocacy for adaptation in mountain areas:

  • Raise mountains` profiles on global stage and use large untapped potential of pooled mountain resources in the international arena
  • Identify meaningful opportunities to highlight mountains, and information needs for decision-making
  • Promote mountain countries` proactive role for climate change adaptation in mountains at dedicated global, international and regional fora including the IPCC, the UNFCCC and others
    • Collaborate and prepare on joint submission documents to UNFCCC, CBD, IPCC, WMO etc.
  • Strengthen existing and develop new networks of mountain countries.
  • Foster strong alliances between mountain developing countries for investments in the regions.
  • Integrate indigenous knowledge and best practices.
  • Coordinate and ‘socialize’ mountain interventions at global fora and documents (e.g. 5 Year action plan 2023-2027).
  • Strengthen the voice of local mountain stakeholders and bottom- up approaches that involve local mountain communities.
  • Promote collaborations with good will ambassadors and social media influencers.
  • Promote political champions.
  • Include mountain-related issues in financing mechanisms, including National Adaptation Plans.
  • Consider possibilities of a World Mountain Council (such as World Water Council) and a UN Convention for Mountain Development (UNCMD).

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