World mountain guides gather in Kathmandu for IFMGA assembly

KATHMANDU: The four-day long general assembly of IFMGA — an international association of mountain guides — kicked off here on Tuesday.

The first day of the event followed board meeting of the organisation and a workshop on 'Mountain Guiding in Asian Countries'.

At least 65 participants from 24 member countries have been attending the assembly, according to Sunar Bahadur Gurung, President for the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association. “Over 100 Asian delegates from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mongolia and Pakistan among others also joined the conference as invitees.”

During the workshop, domestic and foreign stakeholders of mountain guiding highlighted the prospects of mountaineering and the need of mountain guiding in Asian countries, including Nepal. “The main objectives of the conference are to acknowledge and promote mountain guiding and to give maximum visibility on the possibilities and platform that Nepal can afford,” he added.

NNMGA has been a member of IFMGA since 2012. It is the first time that the IFMGA general assembly is being held in Nepal.

There are 50 IFMGA-accredited Nepali mountain guides in the country while NNMGA has 21 more trained national aspirant mountain guides who are working in the field of mountaineering till date.

“The program also highlights the possibilities that Nepal in future can be a platform in providing mountaineering professionalism and Adventure tourism to other Asian countries,” NNMGA’s administrator Sobit Kunwar said.

IFMGA was founded in 1965 by guides from Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy. It is currently a body of mountain guide associations from more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania, representing a total of almost 6000 guides.

IFMGA aims in regulation of the mountain guide profession on a global scale, support of a standard law and regulation for the mountain guide profession, determination of mandatory international training standards, providing services and assistance for mountain guides.

Participating IFMGA member countries in the assembly are Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Czech republic, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan,New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Spain.