Prioritizing the Sustainable Development Goals
E 2018 SDG Poster without UN emblem Letter USWhich of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal targets are most relevant to mountains in the context of global change? As part of an MRI collaborative project, several workshops are currently being held in the world’s mountain regions to find out.

To achieve sustainable development, mountain communities and ecosystems must overcome challenges and make the most of opportunities that are specific to the mountain context. Monitoring the progress of mountain regions as they work towards sustainable mountain development therefore needs to be contextualized to effectively guide, coordinate, and assess development efforts.

To support this process, the MRI is collaborating with the University of Bern’s Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) to develop an approach for assessing sustainable mountain development using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. It is expected that this approach will help contextualize and highlight the specific needs and challenges faced in mountain areas, and inform policy and decision-making at all levels. This work is being undertaken as part of the Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change (SMD4GC) programme, financed by the Swiss Development Cooperation.

In April this year, an online survey was conducted with experts from five of the world’s mountain regions in order to identify the most critical regional development issues, and which SDG targets are of highest priority to address them. In cooperation with local partners, regional workshops with development experts and scientists were subsequently organized in Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, and Uganda. A workshop in Nepal will follow in July. The aim of these workshops was to discuss and come to agreement on which of the SDG targets identified in the survey have the highest priority for sustainable development in the mountain areas of the respective countries.

Building on this, the interactions of the selected SDG targets with those SDG targets that explicitly refer to resilience were assessed by the workshop participants. The aim was to identify subsets of SDG targets that are particularly relevant for improving the climate resilience of mountain communities and ecosystems. The SDG target subsets identified during these regional workshops will then be applied in case studies using commonly accessible data and geographic information systems.

The results of this project will be published as an issue brief in the fourth quarter of 2018. A session dedicated to the presentation of this issue brief will take place at the upcoming World Mountains Forum 2018, to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in October.

More information about the Global Assessment of Sustainable Mountain Development project can be found here.

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Workshop participants in Kyrgyzstan (left) and Ecuador (right).