As part of the follow up tasks of the Utah Valley University (UVU) delegation visit to the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), the leadership of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU, met with Mayor of Orem, Richard Brunst on Monday, April 2, 2018. Our objective was to report to Mayor Brunst, an old supporter and friend of the UIMF, the results of our student led delegation visit to CSW62 and strengthen the established relationship with the city of Orem to further promote the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).
In 2015 Orem was placed within the top 50 most livable cities by USA Today. Being a located in the mountains of Utah, Orem has a unique situation when promoting the SDGs. In 2010 the city of Orem became the first municipality in Utah to join the United Nations Mountain Partnership. This then allows UIMF members, when promoting mountain sustainability from a grass roots level to look for examples in their local communities and report their research to the United Nations.
Since the foundation of the UIMF, the city of Orem has always been supportive of student led initiatives. Mayor Brunst also participated at the fourth international Women of the Mountains Conference in 2015, which was featured in the United Nations Secretary General’s report on sustainable mountain development (SMD) A/71/256 from July 27, 2016 as successfully hosted by UIMF. This provided us with a great opportunity to start our conversation with Mayor Brunst by thanking him for his contributions to the SMD advocacy which included not only speaking at the Women of the Mountains Conference in 2015 but also during annual International Mountain Day celebrations at UVU on December 11th.
When we asked the Mayor: “What unique quality does Orem have that can be utilized by the rest of the world?” his response was that the city focuses on families. The city is maintained easily and has a thriving arts scene because it promotes families. This quality can fit directly into SDG #5 on gender equality and promoting the overall benefit of women through the family unit.
During our conversation with Mayor Brunst, we informed him that during our first visit ever to the UN, we still were able to learn that this highest intergovernmental organization is full of varying opinions and ideologies. Many people in Utah view the UN as not favorable to their ideology and refrain from participating. We discussed that this is not correct that there are many opportunities at the UN to bring different views, opinions and this is a great arena for interaction with similar minded individuals and institutions and to learn to wage a dialogue with those with whom we could disagree in something.
Taking into account very active role of the Orem City in advocating the SMD agenda of the United Nations since 2010, we were then able to offer Mayor Brunst the opportunity to share Orem’s successes at future UN forums, to which he agreed to the idea. The UIMF looks forward to working with the city of Orem and the Mayor Brunst to promote mountain sustainability in Utah and worldwide.
Matthew Rands, President, Utah International Mountain Forum
Derek Garfield, Vice President, Utah International Mountain Forum