Highlights from the Opening – Himalayan Consensus Summit 2017

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The Himalayan Consensus is a holistic development paradigm that emphasizes the integrity of planetary eco-systems as an indispensable basis for socio-economic development in the Himalayan region. The foremost agenda for the Himalayan Consensus Summit (HCS) is to design and create sustainable alternative solutions based on grass root and alternative efforts that are being developed around the region. HCS 2017 was organized in the Kathmandu Valley on the 24th and 25th of March at the Himalaya Hotel by the Himalayan Consensus Institute andNepal Economic Forum. The following are key pointers from the first day of the summit.

The opening plenary of the summit focused on how the Himalayan Consensus process applies Himalayan traditions towards contemporary challenges. The five principles of the Himalayan Consensus: identity, community, business, finance and environment; and how these can be implemented to prevent violence and conflict from occurring were discussed.

Laurence Brahm, Founder of Himalayan Consensus Institute: Conflict often arises from a chronic economic disempowerment of people and marginalization of their identity. With the current global climate being volatile and vulnerable, the importance of this has grown immensely. There is a need to promote economics with planet integrity and this could be done through financial instruments such as green bonds. The emergence of new paradigms have come into place with countries like China doing their “One Belt One Road” project and India’s “Look East” project. Meanwhile, the impending climate change should promote policies that cater to businesses focusing on climate and environmental integrity.

Ambica Shrestha, Chairperson of Dwarika’s Hotel: This summit is one where we find ideas, put it together and share the idea to resolve conflict. The Himalayan region to come together regardless of borders, and religion should not be a basis for conflict as no religion calls for violence.

H.E Dr. Jorg GIovanni Frieden, Swiss Ambassador to Nepal: Of the five key principles of HCS, two – community and environment – are well-anchored and set in Nepal. Pollution in the country however is due to bad governance and the solution for this is a more accountability and transparency in management of public finances.

Franz Josef Hahn, Co-founder and CEO of Peak Re: One can help communities during a fast economic development process, to ensure sustainable economic and social development of the community. Since catastrophes are a common occurrence in the Himalayan region, pre disaster funding is a key requirement.

Mahendra P. Lama, Senior Expert, The Institute of South Asian Studies, Sichuan University: Connectivity, mobility and new techniques are three key pointers to be considered in the Himalayan region. People are tired of expecting; because the state is not able to deliver, leading to an expectation fatigue. The region as a whole has moved from competitive rivalry framework to cooperative integrative framework. Borders used to be a geometric line but are now a field of cooperative integration and are also seen as opportunities rather than a national security threat. There is therefore a need for “globalizing the locals rather than localizing the globals”.

Chancellor to H.E Yu Hong, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal: There is a Chinese saying that, “better roads to better life”. Nepal and China need to have proper policy coordination, and there is a need for financial integration Nepal to develop. Emphasis must be placed on five key development concepts – innovation, organizational, eco-friendly, openness and sharing.

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