This video was presented to the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021

The Sustainable Summits conference was to be held in Nepal 1-5 June 2020 to showcase the country’s mountain environment, highlight climate change issues and bring international attention to Nepal’s mountain tourism. Sustainable Summits Conference was supported by the Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 initiative and high media interest was expected. Veteran mountaineers Sir Chris Bonington and Reinhold Messner, and UK broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle had agreed to be keynote speakers.

However, due to the pandemic, the conference had to be cancelled. Instead, the organizers created this film, which was presented to the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021.

The information below was intended for the conference to be held in Kathmandu. We are keeping this here to honor the spirit and the work that went into planning this conference.

The purpose of hosting Sustainable Summits 2020 was:

➢ To honour mountain voices and to promote increased understanding of the Himalaya as an “abode of the gods”
➢ To provide a platform for issues from the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region to be discussed, debated and consolidated in order to influence policy and to have a unified voice in other global arenas
➢ To strengthen tourism to the Hindu Kush Himalaya region
➢ To learn and share global best practices in the four themes of the conference
➢ To explore opportunities for national and regional cooperation
➢ To synergize national, regional and global networks for strengthening mountain solutions in the region

The event was to be hosted by the Nepal Tourism Board under the Ministry of Culture Tourism & Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), as the lead organisation and as a key Visit Nepal Year 2020 activity, closely supported by the Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities, ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development), Himalayan Climate Initiative and the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WWF Nepal, Petzl Foundation France, and Mountain Research Institute Bern have agreed their active participation.

Other supporters would have included Adventure Consultants New Zealand, American Alpine Club, Asian Trekking Nepal, Expedition Operators Association of Nepal, Himalayan Rescue Association, New Zealand Alpine Club, TRC Tourism Australia & New Zealand, UIAA Mountain Protection Commission and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Others might include GoN Department of National Parks & Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), IUCN Nepal (World Conservation Union), Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), The North Face, Black Diamond, Top Out Nepal and the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA), Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF) and other NGOs and private sector organisations with coinciding agendas.

The organising committee consisted of Ang Tshering Sherpa, Dr Ganesh Gurung, Dawa Steven Sherpa, Prashant Singh and Lisa Choegyal. Binit Shrestha was the event coordinator.

Conference themes:
The conference themes are directly relevant to the HKH region and are:

➢ Mountains nurturing communities
➢ Sustainable mountaineering – the Everest factor
➢ Development pressures – balancing local priorities, conservation and tourism
➢ Tourism, trade and regional cooperation – promoting economic, ecological, and geographical connectivity

A range of relevant speakers were invited, particularly focusing on international presenters, and Hindu Kush Himalayan speakers with experience from Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and stakeholders from the Great Himalaya Trail.

The goals:
• Share lessons learnt globally in the management of mountain areas regarding natural hazards, environmental impacts, climate change, social impacts and cultural awareness
• Raise awareness and achieve policy change about the ecologically sensitive mountain environment, potential effects on water resources for downstream uses (e.g. waste), significant natural hazards (e.g. severe weather, avalanches, volcanic eruptions), and the cultural significance of mountain environments
• Share solutions for managing visitors in a changing mountain environment – environmentally, culturally and socially
• Create national and international profile on mountain sustainability issues and solutions
• Strengthen regional cooperation in tackling relevant cross-border problems.
• Develop closer relationships amongst mountain resource managers, tourism entrepreneurs and local communities in Nepal
• As a focus for Visit Nepal Year 2020, showcase the Nepal Himalaya and lessons learned during nearly 70 years of trekking and mountaineering
• Continue the event as a bi-annual international meeting led by the American Alpine Club, New Zealand Alpine Club, Petzl Foundation and Nepal Tourism Board.

Contact Information:

Binit Shrestha Conference Coordinator Sustainable Summits 2020 Nepal +977 9851008310