ISLAMABAD           -        The mountain ambassadors here on Saturday pledged to take up mountains hardcore issues to work jointly at the launching of first batch of 11 young and dynamic professionals and activists from the up and downstream.

The launching of the Mountain Ambassadors was the kick-off event of the 9th edition of the Pakistan Mountain Festival, the annual flagship event of the Devcom-Pakistan (Development Communications Network), to mark the International Mountains Day that falls on December 11.

The first of 11 mountain ambassadors include a well-known playwright and poet Irfan Ahmed Urfi, PT award winning actress and model Sadia Amman Rathore, actress and model Nosheen Agha, policy advocacy and Human Development Specialist Afshan Tahseen Bajwa, Educationist and Environmentalist Dr Anjum Rasheed from Comsats University, Governance and Policy Specialist Ujala Sadiq from National Defense University, Visual and Performing Artist Ahmed Habib, well-known singer and song producer Daulat Wali Baig, Product and Community Development Expert Wazir Amaan, cultural performer from Kalash Shakira Bibi, sportswoman and trainer Misbah Hina Ali.

Speaking about the concept behind the mountain ambassadors’ initiative, the Executive Director Devcom-Pakistan and founder of Pakistan Mountain Festival Munir Ahmed said, “Our mountains are the frontlines of the climate change impact. The challenge is to reduce the pace of degradation happening on the mountains and affecting the glaciers, biological diversity, ecosystems, life and livelihood of communities. The loss is hampering the GDP of the resources for the people living downstream.

That is why we need to bridge the knowledge and action gap between the up and downstream communities and stakeholders, and to create different mechanisms to educate and inform each other.”

He said the mountain ambassadors would bridge the information and action gap between the up and downstream stakeholders. Devcom-Pakistan has thought of a network of the mountain ambassadors to consistently talk about the challenges confronting the mountains, and the need of environment and sustainable development; plan and manage some voluntary on ground action activities by engaging peer groups, citizens and students.

The first batch, he said, would go through orientation training on climate change impact on mountains and the new phenomenon is hampering the sustainable development and environment.

They are supposed to organise some awareness sessions around their home and workplace or in the university.   Iftikharuddin, a politician from Chital, while appreciating the concept said reducing the communication gap between the stakeholders would help improve the conditions in the highlands, which is the hub of resources. It would also help in harnessing the resources for a better economy on the both ends. 

 Irfan Ahmed Urfi said the high mountains are less explored for drama serials and films because no one is optimally aware of the folklore stories, traditional myths and music of the mountains. This could be an exciting venture for the collaboration.

Sadia Amman Rathore suggested having the documentaries produced on the products and tourist destinations for the mountains with paid-resource persons from the local areas.

Afshan Taheen Bajwa urged for an integrated awareness campaign on the impact of climate change on mountain communities, and how the people downstream are suffering with the depleting resources up on the mountains.