UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY STUDENTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE REPORT ON SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT FOR UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT â€œRIO+20â€?
Marking the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Education and Development and the tenth anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June 20-22, 2012 in Brazil will secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development while addressing new and emerging challenges. Students from Utah Valley University (UVU) recently had the opportunity to contribute to a report focused on sustainable mountain development in North America as a part of a larger document, covering the issue globally from the Mountain Partnership under the United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy, that will be presented at the Rio+20 conference. Two institutions from the Rocky Mountains, Aspen International Mountain Forum, Aspen, CO and the Telluride Institute, CO, members of the Mountain Partnership and good partners of UVU, led efforts of North American mountain communities in writing that document. Taking into account active involvement of UVU students in promoting the mountain agenda in the state of Utah and in the general region during last couple of years, they kindly suggested to the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU to help with research and contribute certain data and information about seven specific mountainous regions within
the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Under the supervision of Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, History and Political Science department of UVU and input from Professor Asylbek Aidaraliev, President of International University of Kyrgyzstan, twenty students, the majority of whom are members of UIMF divided the work by ranges. Research focused on three main areas: the physical characteristics, the biological/ecological characteristics, and human interaction. The third area looked specifically at how indigenous and transplanted people interact with the mountains in which they live, especially in the realms of mining, renewable energy, and tourism. Millions of people live in the mountains throughout the world. Most are plagued by poor living conditions, conflict, and water rights issues. The United States is a bit of an anomaly in this regard; most mountainous regions have not progressed to the stage the United States experiences. At the same time, the global agenda of promoting sustainability for mountain communities was not on the radar of the U.S. Administration. By contributing to the report, UVU students assist the promotion of that agenda not only through the United Nations, but also in the North American region. Since five of the seven mountain regions discussed are located in the US, the report as a whole, hopes to portray both how other nations seeking greater development can benefit from what the United States has done in regards to their mountainous regions and what kind of challenges mountain communities still experience in this part of the world; the report will show what best practices they could share between each other and with other parts of the mountainous world as well. By bringing together the global community, the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, and the policies that come out of it, hope to find a common
solution to the difficulties faced by many parts of the developing world, which includes many mountain nations. Students from UVU have the unique opportunity to contribute to world changing policy. Kate Woolfe, student of UVU, majoring in Integrated Studies: Ballroom Dance, Political Science and Philosophy and coordinator of the project Â