Opinion Poll: Developing Knowledge on Mountain Ecosystem in Himalaya- Effectiveness

Jun 14th, 2011 | By | Category: International Agencies, Learning, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Opinion, Research

Full Discussions on Climate Himalaya Initiative’s Poll and Response graph (%):

  1. Behaviour Change Communication Group at Linkedin

    Question: Do you agree with the statement-“International agencies adequately developed Knowledge on Ecology and Sustainable Development in the Mountain Ecosystem of Himalaya” !

    Gautam Majumder • I do not agree on the statement fully, partially they may share information on the ecosystem, but local knowledge & experience is much more helpful for sustainable development. Because Book of Life gives lot to the inhabitants which was in the past & exists in the present.

    Dr S K Trivedi • No
    There is no popular strategy being implemented by any international agency in the Himalayan area. The glaciers are shrinking rapidly. The environmental interventions are needed & international agencies need to support. But I also feel there are not many professionals dedicating themselves for the cause. With the limited knowledge I believe this job is left only to Universities & a selected few. There is challenge to professionals rather than international agencies.

    Gautam Majumder • I do agree on ur statement Dr. Trivedi, It is absolutely challenge to the professionals not to the external agencies. So therefore this issue should be undertaken in appropriate advocacy forum.

    Gautam Majumder • Need based IEC materials may be informative to the community people & people may be informed & here some technical inputs is required which helps to translate the information into the knowledge. We should remember only knowledge is not enough to change the behavour, here it is required the knowledge to be translated into the motivation as well as into the attitude then sustainable behaviour change may be possible. So I strongly suggest effective follow-up mechanism to be used appropriately.

    K N Vajpai • Mr. Majumder: Much relevant observations and it contain the important elements of available knowledge within. The challenge is about a transparent and working governance system, about mutual understanding among local and international players. Here international agencies [as they feel] are in to lead role [by now] and this trend needs reversal where local governance prevail. The core question you already highlighted is about IEC, which is an area of concern to our planners, researchers and scientists, as how effectively they can work on it-Rio+20 is coming and we are struggling for over 2 decades. What Dr. Trivedi mentioned is true, and the need is to develop a leader’s network in the region that raises voice to advocate the mountain agenda.

  2. Climate Change Professionals Group at Linkedin

    Question: Do you agree with the statement-“International agencies adequately developed Knowledge on Ecology and Sustainable Development in the Mountain Ecosystem of Himalaya” !

    John Lerner • Good question. What are your criteria for “adequate”. Also, what is the motivation for the poll?

    K N Vajpai • Thank u John. In general sense, a common man / a social development professional feel that it should have been done! We learn that agencies are pumping or getting huge funding for such work but they are not able to do so! We wish to know what others feel and know about it.

    John Lerner • OK. Makes sense. I agree they should be accountable and many of them including the governments are not. To be constructive you might include in your poll what improvements the communities might suggest the agencies or governments could make.

    K N Vajpai • I agree with you follow-up question, which we might take in next poll. Much relevant. Thanks.

    Ranjan Parajuli • In my understanding I believe that there have been lot of efforts from international agencies towards the mountain development. However on the matter of adequacy, I would spell that it”s better to say these agencies have supported to enable the environment for the sustainable mountain development. There have been lot of investment for the development of such areas, particularly in developing countries like Nepal, but the outcomes of such investment cannot justify the “adequacy”. May be due to scattered investments the “cumulative outcomes” and impact are not easy to detect.

    John Lerner • Good comments Ranjan. I think you could probably make the same comments about much of development aid even though many agencies have the best intentions. How do you think we might improve aid investments? Or should there be any aid investment?

    Ranjan Parajuli • Thanks John. I am not sure, whether my following opinion stands here correctly. May be it refers an ideal situation. My opinion are;

  • Firstly the government (national/local) should have integrated mountain development plans and outlined activities. The outlined activities should be able to address all the local mountain development and associated cross cutting needs. Government may establish the targets and desirable impacts of the development activities, for which it can identify the financial needs and sources of funding. However, enabling environment, institutional strengthening and capacity building of such local governance is essential before leading on this path.
    For aid effectiveness if possible all the investment can be brought in a single local development basket. If the plan and investment on mountain development is able to say following aspects as well, it would be more better;
  • How it has complimented in improving sectoral performance in the overall context of national/local development
  • For the sustainability of such initiatives, ownership to the efforts is essential, hence it is necessary to outline activities that better support to ensure ownership of the targeted population of the program/project
  • Harmonization of efforts initiated by a number of international cooperation if carried out, will help to justify the aid effectiveness against impact and changes experiences so far.

K N Vajpai • Mr. Parajuli: Very useful observation and it seems we sometime wonder to see some practical example across board to take them forward with a community or area. We can think about any cross cutting theme of CCA, our communities are generally struggling to get right place, people and technology to refer to. Working closely with communities makes sense with finances, but given the scenario of huge investment ‘adequate’ is tough question to a layman. Future investment/financing should focus of close partnership / coordinate approach, to see and observe cumulative impact. In India at least it’s hard to see…

On your second thought following is my opinion:

  • Agree with your point and will say that Good Governance, enabling environment and catering the capacity building needs are important aspects, which we must focus upon practically.
  • International agencies, regional organizations, universities, implementing bodies, etc. need to put collaborative efforts together to set example in Himalayan region.

John Lerner • So ultimately it depends on the recipient driving the process. They decide what they want and how they want to achieve it. If aid agencies come to the community, region or country, they need to be aware enough and disciplined enough to direct these agencies.

K N Vajpai • In my view, in fact aid agencies should not direct but adopt a demand driven approach that comes from people and local organizations, based on various participatory techniques, so that it has the elements of ownership from governance, enabling environment and scope for further capacity building.

John Lerner • Agreed. That is what I meant. The last sentence was unclear. The next trick is being disciplined enough to say “No” to the development agencies when their proposed projects are not aligned with the interests of the communities. It is very tempting for a local NGO to simply say “Yes” to the aid agencies just to keep its doors open.

John Lerner • Hi KN Vajpai, I think the communities or regional government’s will need to demand collaboration in most cases. I find that many of the international agencies, universities etc. are often competing with one another. The communities or regional government’s need to drive the process. Do you have a community or region in mind in the Himalayas that knows what they need and is prepared to take long term ownership of their development?

Michael Sullivan • John and KN, you raise an interesting point about capacity building and sustainable development. When an NGO relies on funding for its existence, it is often difficult to say “No” as peoples’ livelihoods are often at stake. Morally, No should be the answer on a more regular basis, however Yes is more than often the answer.

Using a community-driven approach is essential to ensure implementation of any changes recommended. This approach focuses on capacity building, which I agree is critical to long term success. John, I agree that the community/regional governments need to drive the process. This alleviates the competitive approach you mention. KN, participatory techniques should be tailored to the local community to ensure they accept, understand and buy-in to the process and its results.

  1. Facebook Pages

    Question: Do you agree with the statement-“International agencies adequately developed Knowledge on Ecology and Sustainable Development in the Mountain Ecosystem of Himalaya” !

    Suresh Khanduri Its a right approach towards minimizing the inaccessibility by bridging knowledge gap sharing the new concepts but all that could be achieved through networking which will strongly pressurize the system to be more transparent on policy and research fronts.

    Dinesh Sati undoubtedly there is so much written on mountain ecology of the Himalayan regions and sustainable development but plz. note that these studies are basin (micro/ macro) specific and therefore there cannot be a single model for the entire Himalaya.

    Chandra Shekhar Silori

    It sounds an interesting debate. I am wondering what happened to the poll you had conducted earlier on the similar topic. While there is no doubt that a lot is happening in terms of research on ecology of the region, but not really sure about development part of it. Also, I am wondering, how do you define “adequate”? and this measure of adequacy will certainly vary across different landscape of such a diverse region, as Sati ji has indicated in his thoughts about micro and macro variations across the basins and landscapes

    Dinesh Sati

    Silori ji rightly questioned the measure of adequacy concerning ecology and sustainable development for such a vast and so varied landscape of the Himalaya. Certainly there cannot be an ‘adequate knowledge’ on the subjects as it will simply put an end to the research being conducted by these R&D institutions! Secondly the networking business is very complicated even at the ministerial level or various govt. departments and especially if some NGO is spearheading the task…. it’s very difficult!!! Unfortunately we do not have any workable model till date!!!

    Kashinath Vajpai

    Dr. Sati: I agree with your observations, and point about no-single model. The notion was that by limiting details, how we can get responses, and its encouraging. So, you will see two options for ‘Yes’ -very much n somewhat, while single for ‘no’. You as scientist know that it’s a process and their can’t be full stop. Adequate meant here – Sufficient to satisfy a requirement or meet a ‘need’ . However, its certainly a debatable issue. We hope that ‘knowledge networking’ will make a difference- I can quote specific examples when we meet in DDN, and they are interesting! Workable model, surely a next step!

    Dr. Silori: The poll is still ongoing and we will run it till 15 June. You will see various news and developmental debates from Himalaya, your point is very much valid in terms of research, but, everyone is concerned about implementation or extension. Your observation on adequate, I tried to explain in brief. Thank you to both of you raising this level.

    Chandra Shekhar Silori Absolutely, the key aspect is how do we translate research into action. This also therefore sometimes raises the question on the quality of research. How much of what is being done in the name of research can really be translated into action and how? The efforts seem to be very much in right direction and timely. Best wishes…

Note: We will add summary, methodology and counts for all above points after a while.


Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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