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The 9th edition of SMDS will focus on the overall objective of building pathways toward a resilient and sustainable mountain economy in the IHR in the context of a post COVID-19 scenario and Climate Change.

Mountain communities are equally impacted by this global pandemic of COVID-19. Mountain economies are largely dependent on factors like inflow of tourists, remittances from migrants, subsistence mode of farming, external food and general supplies which have all been severely impacted due to COVID-19. Moreover, due to the financial burdens of being low revenue states, mountain states in IHR are also duly disadvantaged in their efforts to tackle COVID-19 and taking measures beyond relief and healthcare becomes an uphill task. With the existing financial burdens of these states, COVID-19 has further exacerbated their developmental challenges. COVID-19 induced reverse migration is set to have a huge impact in the local economy. The mountain states will require a series of initiatives to ensure that job opportunities in the local economies are created and sustained. Focusing on local resources and capitalizing on community networks would hold key. Simultaneously, the challenges of climate change loom large over these fragile ecosystems. Water security is one of the most pressing challenges for mountain communities.

It is in this backdrop that SMDS IX seeks to be a meaningful platform to discuss some of the emerging pathways for building a resilient economy in IHR through the combined approaches of adaptation, innovation and acceleration. The deliberations during the Summit will delve into the corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for mountain development. SMDS IX will also build on the post SMDS VIII work of developing a sustainable ecosystem for young entrepreneurs in IHR and leveraging the enhanced need for more youth engagement in the current scenario.

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