ICIMOD values Nepal

/EIN Presswire/ (Kathmandu, 5 March 2010)
Nepal’s unique role in the Himalayan region, and the role played by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in research and knowledge development for the people of the host country, were the focus of a Nepal-ICIMOD workshop held on Friday 5th March. The workshop was the first part of a two-day event in which ICIMOD is reaching out to its partners, the development community, civil society organisations, the private sector and the public at large to a showcase of its work in Nepal.

“Nepal has a unique position in the Himalayan region,” emphasised Dr Andreas Schild, ICIMOD’s Director General, in his speech of welcome. “It is a place where people from all eight Himalayan countries can meet without restriction to discuss issues that affect us all, sure of the welcome and hospitality of the government and people.” This is essential for a regional inter governmental organisation like ICIMOD; Kathmandu as a cultural centre and with its friendly people is the ideal venue for regional and international professionals and scientists, explained Dr Schild, and he thanked the Government for its remarkable hospitality, adding that the Nepal Day Workshop and Open House were a gesture of thanks for the generosity of ICIMOD’s host country and its people.

Presenting the overview of ICIMOD’s Nepal programme, Dr Madhav Karki , Deputy Director General and coordinator of the Nepal Day event explained that the workshop was being held to share information about Nepal-ICIMOD partnership activities. As a regional organisation, ICIMOD has a regional role and programmes focusing on issues experienced by all the countries that share the transboundary resources of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. At the same time, Nepal is the centrepiece of these mountains; it contains the headwaters of major rivers and plays an essential role as a reservoir of the region’s heritage of biodiversity and cultural wealth. These assets are becoming more important in the context of climate change. Nepal plays a valuable role as a pioneer and is highly valued by ICIMOD as a venue for pilot activities for developing knowledge that benefits both the people of Nepal and the region as a whole. At the same time, Nepal benefits from its close links through ICIMOD with cross-learning and knowledge from other countries. Among these, research on the cryosphere, snow, glaciers, and glacier melting, is of special interest today, both for the impact on the local population, and those living downstream, with increased risks of floods and drought and also as a very important indicator of global warming and the nature of adaptation and mitigation required.

ICIMOD’s partners from Government ministries and departments, universities, and development and environment conservation organisations, highlighted the activities and achievements of several programmes ongoing in Nepal. One important programme focuses on the potential of high value niche products in the Himalayas and the importance of looking at their value chains to ensure that they contribute to poverty reduction. Another is a key pilot study in Nepal by ICIMOD and key partners on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation, which is very promising for Nepal and will be mainstreamed in the national planning process. Then there is the question of glacial lakes and the danger of outbursts. ICIMOD and its partners have identified potentially dangerous sites through remote sensing and have now looked at the concrete dangers on the ground for the local population, developing methodologies that can then be used in neighbouring countries.

This year, there is a special focus on biodiversity that should be conserved both as our natural heritage and as a valuable asset that supports livelihoods across the region, and especially in Nepal, where a large part of the population depends on rural resources. The work on landscapes that cross into neighbouring countries is especially important. Rangelands, too, are of major importance, covering nearly two-thirds of the land area of the Himalayas. ICIMOD contributed substantially to the development of Nepal’s Rangeland Policy and the Government looks forward to further support in implementation. At present it is coordinating, among others, an action research programme with Nepal partners focused on enhancing the resilience of herder communities in a situation of changing climate. Finally in a major partnership with IFAD, ICIMOD is focusing on the overall aspects of poverty alleviation and livelihood improvement in Nepal and other countries.

The participants were delighted with the opportunity to learn about the range of activities in Nepal and further opportunities for partnership. The Chief Guest the Hon’ble Dr. Dinesh Devkota, Member of the National Planning Commission, stressed the importance of effective knowledge delivery and sharing, not only from the international to the local level, but also the transfer of local traditional knowledge to the global level. ICIMOD activities have been a milestone in this. Nepal looks forward to ICIMOD’s support in building an alliance on mountain countries to help vulnerable mountain people and protect the mountain environment.

“We are in urgent need of transboundary information, especially related to water resources” remarked Mr Kishore Thapa, Secretary of the Water and Energy Commission, who chaired the meeting. He thanked ICIMOD for its valuable efforts and looked forward to many more activities for the future.

On Saturday, in the second part of the programme, ICIMOD is inviting the general public to an Open House where they can discuss with programme staff, and enjoy a biodiversity show, solar corner, photo exhibitions, stalls from other organisations associated with ICIMOD, film show, games and many more.

For further information contact:
Ms Nira Gurung, Communications Officer
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
GPO Box 3226, Kathmandu, Nepal
email: [email protected], [email protected]

Notes to Editor

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD, is a regional knowledge development and learning centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan , China , India , Myanmar , Nepal , and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Globalisation and climate change have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while addressing upstream-downstream issues. We support regional transboundary programmes through partnership with regional partner institutions, facilitate the exchange of experience, and serve as a regional knowledge hub. We strengthen networking among regional and global centres of excellence. Overall, we are working to develop an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem to improve the living standards of mountain populations and to sustain vital ecosystem services for the billions of people living downstream – now, and for the future.