Bhutan’s Vital Role As A Member Of The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
The Royal Government of Bhutan has also been extremely supportive of ICIMOD’s work over the decades
By David Molden/Director General of ICIMOD | Kuensel
The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region is sometimes called the Earth’s “third pole” as it contains the ‘water towers of Asia’.
With 6,000 cubic kilometres of snow and ice as well as 10 rivers and basins, the HKH supports more than 1.9 billion people – a quarter of the world’s population.
The significance of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region
The region is a globally important resource, given its energy potential and its cultural, agricultural and biological diversity.
However, it has been increasingly affected by climate change and rapid globalisation, including out-migration. And yet mountain regions, including the HKH, have received only a fraction of the attention and study that they deserve.
The aims of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) believes that solutions devised for mountain problems can benefit populations living downstream and in Asia at large.
The ICIMOD brings together eight countries that share mountain resources in the HKH. Its strength lies in working between countries to develop and share knowledge on critical issues.
For example, the organisation is aware that springs are drying up across the HKH. Therefore, it works with partners in several countries to develop methods to revive them.
To combat the devastation that floods can cause to communities – an increasingly important issue with the increased impacts of climate change – the ICIMOD worked with partners to develop a community-based flood early warning system that has saved lives and properties in four of the HKH countries.
Collaboration and research to address various issues in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region
Source: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
The Himalayan University Consortium brings together academics and researchers across the region to study mountain development. Moreover, the Himalayan monitoring and assessment programme connects scientists to better understand what is happening in the region and to propose solutions to the pressing issues of the mountains.
Bhutan’s vital role in sharing knowledge and experiences with the ICIMOD
Bhutan has been a member of ICIMOD for 34 years and its rich experiences and knowledge through the years have shaped the organisation’s initiatives.
The ICIMOD’s human well-being framework, for instance, draws from learnings in several countries, but it is particularly inspired by and based on Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness.
Bhutan has much to offer in other areas of mountain development, including energy and benefit sharing. For example, its management of the ‘yartsa goenbub’ (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) has been exemplary and is being shared with other countries in the region.
The ICIMOD has worked closely with Bhutan on glacial monitoring and spring-shed revitalisation. It has also developed organic agriculture value chains and diversified livelihood options for the Bhutanese people.
This year, the ICIMOD is fortunate to hold its annual board meeting in Bhutan. The meeting brought together senior government officials from its eight member countries to provide regional expertise. Other development and financial partners that fund ICIMOD’S work were also present.
The meeting not only celebrated their strong and fruitful partnership but it has also been a great way to chart the way forward. There were also discussions on how to hone ICIMOD’s future plans and guide its activities for the coming year.
Overall, the Royal Government of Bhutan has also been extremely supportive of ICIMOD’s work over the decades and has contributed in the development of its vision and mission.