HKH regions are in crisis: ICIMOD Dr. Pema Gyamtsho

Bhutan ICIMOD country consultation on co-designing ICIMOD’s Medium-Term Action Plan V (2023–2026)

The countries in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region are facing three crises including climate change, water crisis, and pollution (waste), according to the Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Dr. Pema Gyamtsho.

He shared that more disasters would come unlike transboundary issues among others and one cannot respond alone. For this, regional cooperation is important.

Dr. Pema Gyamtsho said that Bhutan has been a founding member of ICIMOD since 1983 and the organization is grateful to the government of Bhutan for their continuous engagement in the context of ICIMOD’s raised ambitions for the Medium-Term Action Plan.

“For ensuring that the country’s needs and priorities are well-articulated as seeking to establish stronger relationships and ownerships for collective national and regional actions,” he said.

However, taking new strategy 2030- Moving Mountains forward, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) and ICIMOD co-organized the ‘Bhutan–ICIMOD country consultation on co-designing ICIMOD’s Medium-Term Action Plan V (2023–2026).

Director of strategic operations of ICIMOD, Basanta Raj Shrestha said that ICIMOD is raising motivation and will deliver ambition to preserve the eco-system. “Mountain countries need a good understanding of strategic and policy planning,” he said.

The secretary of the MoAF, Thinley Namgyel said that the long-term partnership between ICIMOD and the MoAF has witnessed how Bhutan values this cooperation, engagement, and collaboration with ICIMOD in the coming years.

Agriculture and Forests Minister Yeshey Penjor divulged that Bhutan welcomes ICIMOD’s efforts to align with the priorities of the government of Bhutan and to engage in partnerships that benefit the HKH mountains and people.

Lyonpo said that Bhutan has strong support for ICIMOD and will take advantage to build technology capacity.

Meanwhile, over 60 participants representing stakeholders from the government, civil society, research and academics, and the private sector in Bhutan have come together to help co-design the Medium-Term Action Plan (2023–2026).

These consultations are meant to help ICIMOD share and invite inputs into its plans for the next four years, translate them into feasible action plans that can yield tangible results and benefits to the regional member countries, and foster regional cooperation among the HKH nations.

Through its Medium-Term Action Plan V (2023–2026), ICIMOD is charting its path forward for the next four years in close collaboration with its regional member countries. The consultation in Bhutan was the seventh in a series of country consultations held across its eight regional member countries.

In addition, these consultations are to help ICIMOD share and invite inputs into its plans for the next four years, translate them into feasible action plans that can yield tangible results and benefits to the regional member countries, and foster regional cooperation among the HKH nations.

Further, interest was expressed in building on future collaborations for sustainable mountain development, including the promotion of ecotourism to promote sustainable economic enterprises and livelihood options; management of human-wildlife conflict and biological corridors; ensuring water security through spring shed management; promotion of organic agriculture towards a sustainable future; protection of yak, a Himalayan icon, and the livelihood systems associated with highland ago-pastoralism; and the promotion of entrepreneurship for green mountain economies.

Through its Strategy 2030, ICIMOD will actively work to attract investment that will enable the diverse countries and communities of the HKH to transition to a greener, more inclusive, and climate-resilient development.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu