Sustainability reaches for the hills
Remote mountainous areas in Asia can benefit significantly from European expertise in promoting sustainable development. The EU-funded project 'Natural resource management in the mountain regions of Asia: Community-led research requirements' (NORMA) helped the Karakoram-Hindu Kush-Himalayan (KHKH) region outline its research priorities to promote sustainability. The project identified requirements that would assist in natural resource management and help shape policies to further sustainability. One of the most important aspects of the project was to consider the needs and hopes of communities living in the region. This was achieved through a series of inspirational films that opened dialogue with local governments, researchers, citizens and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Moreover, the project evaluated valuable local knowledge on sustainable development which would render any strategy more attractive and more applicable to local populations. To achieve its aims the project organised a research workshop in order to outline priorities related to natural resource management, as well as other workshops to bring stakeholders closer together. It formulated a research proposal for a subsequent EU project on sustainability in the region and disseminated results to key stakeholders, including government authorities, donors and development organisations. The project's results were communicated through workshops, videos, publications and press releases, while the completed films were screened in film festivals to gain a larger audience. The recommendations and policy suggestions emerging from the project could be important in bringing about enhanced sustainability not only in the KHKH region but eventually in other mountain regions of the world as well. This represents another yet important avenue for the EU to play an increasingly constructive role in order to create permanent positive change within developing regions.