Sustainable Mountain Development in South East Asia and Pacific. From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond
Mountains of Southeast Asia and the Pacific (SEAP) region spread across two geographic regions – mainland Asia and island/archipelagic states in the Pacific Ocean – and constitute one of the world’s highest and also most severely threatened biodiversity pools. A number of indigenous peoples who are marginalised, poor, and underserved by their respective states live in the structurally weak and fragile mountains. They are made even more vulnerable by increased frequency and intensity of rainfall, extreme temperatures and severe tropical storms. Increasing population and economic pressures are driving migrant lowland settlers towards the SEAP Mountains while extractive companies harness timber, minerals and water resources without giving local communities their due share. In general, the mountains have not been mainstreamed in governance in most Southeast Asian countries. This highlights the immediate need for policy reforms to protect social and ecological systems in the mountains for strengthening sustainable development, preventing environmental damage, and improving national and regional food security.