The Best New Initiative is one of three prizes offered as part of the annual award. The Runner-Up will be announced on Friday 14 October and the Overall Winner during the UIAA General Assembly on Saturday 29 October. The UIAA Mountain Protection Award is partnered by the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation.
A total of 16 projects operational in more than 15 countries and on four continents were showcased as part of 2022 MPA, a truly international platform. This year’s nominated projects focus on a number of sustainability topics including climate change, water pollution, waste management, education and youth, and closer engagement with decision makers and local authorities.
This year’s Award is particularly significant as it coincides with the United Nations designating 2022 as the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. Throughout this year, governments, international organisations and stakeholders have been invited to raise awareness of the importance of conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems.
“Rinjani is a beautiful 3,726m high volcano on Lombok island that is starting to come under pressure from increasing use. The project has clear objectives with measurable outputs and timelines. I really liked the commitment to engage with the local villages as well as visiting hikers and climbers. This isn’t a one-off project but the start of a long-term initiative to make sustainability a focus for both locals and visitors to Rinjani. I wish the team at Federasi Panjat Tebing Indonesia every success and look forward to hearing about progress.” – Stuart Gray, MPA assessor and UIAA Management Committee member
ABOUT SAVE RINJANI
This sustainability-led project aims to maintain Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani National Park as an arena for climbing, mountaineering and outdoor sports. Mount Rinjani (3726m) is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. The Federasi Panjat Tebing Indonesia (FPTI) / Federation of Indonesian Climbing Activity, a UIAA full member since 2016, is taking a proactive stance in ensuring concrete steps are taken to ensure environmental cleanliness from the waste of hikers, climbers and general tourists. The project seeks to reduce the burden on the environment in the Mount Rinjani area, raise community awareness, as well as increase the availability of services, facilities and infrastructure.
Following the announcement of the project’s nomination as Best New Initiative, the UIAA spoke to Florenciano Hendricus, Head of Project for Save Rinjani.
UIAA: How do you feel about winning best new initiative as part of UIAA Mountain Protection Award?
Save Rinjani: We are very happy. This shows that our initiative is working well on Mount Rinjani and resonates with the wider climbing community.
What do you hope recognition from the UIAA Mountain Protection Award brings to the project?
Mountain and national park authorities as well as local communities will be very proud that their efforts have been recognised by a world body like the UIAA.
What are the long-term goals of your project, ie. plans beyond 2022-2023?
Our next step is to directly invite local groups of climbers and runners to continue and develop this initiative further. Only then can the project have greater resilience.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to people trying to create similar projects to your own in other countries, especially those dealing with the issue of waste in the mountains?
There is absolutely no need to put off any idea for the good of the mountain and the preservation of the environment. In today’s age of social media, people will quickly see and do the same good.
What do you think are the main challenges facing your region in terms of mountain protection as more people come to visit Rinjani?
The main challenge is how we can respond to the increasingly crowded Rinjani as an effective medium for spreading the spirit to protect and preserve mountains and nature. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first steps.
Your project identifies plastics as the main issue. In addition to the removal of plastic what steps are you taking to encourage people not to bring plastic and if they do, to take it home with them?
Completely eliminating plastic in the world of outdoor activities in the wet tropics is next to impossible. Biodegradable plastics are still not widely available and expensive. But today’s food and beverage packaging is increasingly considering the environment. And mountain climbers should have chosen packaging that is not excessive. That’s why we believe that the habit of bringing garbage home will gradually become a reality in Rinjani. We will try to encourage manufacturers of outdoor gear to make compact trash bags and sell them cheaply in stalls at the beginning of hiking trails.
In your experience are climbers and mountaineers respectful mountain visitors?
Climbers who often go to the mountains certainly like their environment clean, and are willing to do something about it. The problem is with temporary visitors, who may want to return to the coffee shop as soon as possible after taking selfies. We will schedule regular cleaning during peak times, so they can see our effort and participate.
How can climbers/mountaineers (both local and international) more closely engage with your project? Would you, as part of the MPA network, be interested in exchanging ideas and establishing best practice thinking with other MPA projects focused on the issue of waste?
Absolutely. We believe the exchange of experiences is absolutely necessary to continue and develop great ideas.
How can people support your project?
Come to Indonesia and hike Mount Rinjani. Together, we can make a difference to our nature and preserve our mountain. By cleaning our mountain together, we can save our future.
Main photo: credit stock library