The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their partnership in promoting climate-resilient agri-food system transformation in Bhutan and Nepal. The signing ceremony took place last week in Kathmandu and is seen as a significant milestone in their collaborative efforts.
The MoU was signed by Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, Director-General of ICIMOD, and Mr. Ken Shimizu, FAO Representative for Bhutan and Nepal. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, as well as esteemed dignitaries, experts, and representatives from both organizations.
FAO and ICIMOD share a commitment to addressing the challenges faced by mountain communities. Through this partnership, they will combine their expertise, knowledge, innovation, technology, and networks to promote sustainable agricultural practices, improve natural resource management, and enhance the resilience of agri-food systems. The collaboration will focus on pressing issues such as climate change, land degradation, water scarcity, feminization, and agrobiodiversity loss.
The strategic collaboration between FAO and ICIMOD aligns with the vision outlined in the Mustang Declaration on Sustainable Mountain Solutions. This declaration, signed in September 2022, emphasizes the need for cooperation among stakeholders to address the challenges faced by mountain communities.
FAO and ICIMOD will concentrate on key areas including sustainable agriculture and livestock systems, food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation, and capacity building. Their collaboration aims to strengthen food production and security, as well as economic benefits for mountain communities, through inclusive practices, improved watershed management, and diverse production systems. The efforts will also address weather-related challenges and build resilience by adopting gender-responsive practices, providing climate information, and empowering vulnerable groups through skill development and early warning systems.
The signing ceremony included high-level discussions among key officials from FAO and ICIMOD, focusing on collaborative strategies, shared objectives, and joint initiatives. The Director-Generals of both organizations highlighted the significance of this partnership in advancing regional impact and promoting sustainable mountain development.
The Director General of ICIMOD expressed optimism about the collaboration, stating that it brings together FAO and ICIMOD’s expertise to address the challenges faced by mountain communities. The joint efforts aim to promote sustainable agricultural practices, strengthen natural resource management, and enhance resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region.
Dr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General of FAO affirmed the commitment of FAO to partner with ICIMOD in addressing the challenges faced by mountain communities and vulnerable populations. The partnership aims to cultivate resilience, promote sustainable development, and contribute to agri-food system transformation.
This partnership sets the stage for intensified collaboration between FAO and ICIMOD, promising impactful actions at both regional and country levels in the Hindu Kush Himalayan countries. The organizations will work together to tackle the complex challenges faced by mountain communities and pave the way for sustainable development.
Sangay Rabten from Bhutan