PTI: Shri Vilas Rao Deshmukh, Minister of Science and technology and earth Sciences said Himalayan ecosystem is vital to the ecological security of the Indian landmass. It provides forest cover, feeds perennial rivers that provide water for drinking, irrigation, and hydropower, and provides a home and a basis for sustainable biodiversity, agriculture, and tourism Addressing at the India-International centre for integrated mountain development Day celebration here today he said, “The Himalayan ecosystem is highly vulnerable to the stress caused by increased pressure of population, exploitation of natural resources and other related challenges. Climate change may adversely impact the Himalayan ecosystem through increased temperature, altered precipitation patterns, and episodes or drought.”
Considering the fragility and importance of the Himalaya, Shri Deshmukh informed that a National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem ( NMSHE) has been included in the eight National Missions of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) with the objectives of conserving and protecting Himalayan glaciers and its ecosystem. It is the only area specific Mission. Its specific action area is to improve trans-boundary exchange of information through mutually agreed mechanisms and ICIMOD being an independent ‘Mountain Learning and Knowledge Centre’ can play an important role in strengthening such trans-boundary exchange of information among the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush –Himalayas area.
The technical document of NMSHE mission document envisages generation of sound scientific knowledge and strengthening the knowledge Institutions in the IHR through six subject wise task forces. Under the capacity building and knowledge sharing program several initiatives are taken by ICIMOD. This can be utilized for increasing collaboration between ICIMOD and Department of Science and Technology and further strengthening the institutions in the regional member countries, the Minister explained.
Smt Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of State (IC), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Government of India in her inaugural speech highlighted the importance of Himalaya, and emphasized on its vulnerability both on account of specific geological reasons and the stress imposed by increased pressure of population, exploitation of natural resources and other related challenges. She also mentioned that this occasion gives us opportunity to take note of ICIMOD’s activities in India under various Research & Development initiatives. The Minister said, “The region is likely to face increased impacts under changing climate that would greatly affect the very sustenance of indigenous communities in uplands and downstream dwellers as well. Under these circumstances role and responsibility of ICIMOD as a Regional Knowledge and Information Centre, and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), especially through G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, as a nodal Ministry in India increases several fold.”
Smt Natarajan highlighted some of the recent initiatives of Government of India, particularly with respect to the Himalaya. She emphasized that the governance is the bottom-line for success. Smt Natarajan hoped this event will help in creating the required awareness amongst participants about the sensitivity of the Himalayan Ecosystem and provide a forum for knowledge and experience sharing. She emphasized that considering the ecological and socio-cultural sensitivity of the region; ICIMOD and MoEF would require to further intensify their efforts through enhanced cooperation with partner institutions in India. She urged all partners to come forward to strengthen the collaboration with ICIMOD. Smt. Natarajan also released a booklet highlighting ICIMOD-India collaboration, since inception.
Dr T Ramasamy said that atmosphere has no boundary. Changes we bring in one part of the planet will necessarily help the whole planet. He said, “The Himalayas is truly a very complex and fragile eco-system. Traditional knowledge will form an important ingredient in the development of the national mission on Himalayas. Traditional knowledge of local people and villagers who live in this area is enormous. This old technology will help in adaptation of climate change issue in Himalayas.” Dr Ramasamy termed this as an unusual mission of sustaining eco-system. Ecosystem is permanent and one simple formula which Gandhiji has given to us will help in solving problems, he added. Gandhiji’s message is “Take only a portion of what the nature has given to you.” Dr Ramasamy said that this is the principle of sustainability. This message gives us a lesson and from traditional knowledge how to prevent losses.
Earlier, Mr Andreas Schild, Director General, ICIMOD, said that we seek and solicit intensified guidance from the Government of India and its network of agencies and expertise in the years to come. Mr Schild said, “ ICIMOD is aware of the India’s increasing influence at the global level. ICIMOD and its management wish to continue to benefit from the country’s robust technical expertise as well as economic strength in building and implementing its regional mission. It is this context that we have organized a day’s programme to highlight the ICIMOD-India collaboration and further strengthen it. He expressed hope that ICIMOD and its management wish to continue to benefit from the country’s robust technical expertise as well as economic strength in building and implementing its regional mission. It is this context that we have organized a day’s programme to highlight the ICIMOD-India collaboration and further strengthen it.”
Talking about ICIMOD Mr Schild said, “This is an independent non-political intergovernmental organization established in 1983, whose primary objective is to promote the development of economically sound mountain ecosystems and to improve the living standards of mountain populations in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region. ICIMOD has been making concerted efforts to place itself strategically as a regional mountain institution catering to the knowledge needs of its regional member countries (RMCs). The centre is continuously making efforts to absorb and effect change to strengthen its role as a knowledge development and sharing platform and to help the RMCs gain from each other’s experiences and best practices.”
“ICIMOD has developed, its programmes and strategies have evolved through the three distinct phases of inception, the Regional Collaborative Programme (RCP), and the Medium-Term Action Plan (MTAP). Through all three phases, India has been an active RMC, playing a lead role in formulation of the centre’s institutional and programme strategies and action plans. Its contribution has gradually become more and more important and useful in the development of regional themes for action in the HKH. In recent years the Government of India has shown increasing interest in ICIMOD activities, reflected in the participation and contribution of government officials and other Indian partner agencies in ICIMOD programmes and events, “ he added.
The ICIMOD and the G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sept 25, 2008 with the approval of GOI to increase the potential for mutually beneficial research work, enable efficient co-ordination and ensure the sustainability of partnership between the ICIMOD and the GOI. The one day workshop ‘Challenges in Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation – Potential for Collaboration between ICIMOD and India’ was organized to celebrate on the occasion of first ever ICIMOD-India Day celebration today in New Delhi.
The other important consideration for this MOU is that both the ICIMOD and the GBPIHED, will be able to appreciate each other’s comparative advantages and collaborate to achieve the environmentally sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan region through establishing a mutually agreed mechanism of experience sharing on similar aspects in other parts of the Himalayan region, including other member countries.
The workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment, GoI and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a Kathmandu based intergovernmental organization of eight countries of the Hindu Kush –Himalaya, which was established in 1983.Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Mayanmar, Nepal and Pakistan are members of ICIMOD.
Climate Himalaya’s Note: It is appreciated that ICIMOD has started taking active interest on the need of sustainable mountain development in Indian Himalayan region as well. As a regional centre people here have high expectations from ICIMOD in terms of opening more knowledge sharing communication channels, wider information dissemination, community outreach actions, developing models and focusing on the capacities and effectiveness of its partner institutions and people.
The MoEF of Govt. of India should take note of ICIMOD’s online library (fully downloadable), which is one of the best source of research related information on various mountain issues from Hindu Kush Himalayan region, so that institutions in India like GB Pant Institute for Himalayan Environment and Development- GBPIHED (an autonomous institute under Ministry of Environment and Forest-MoEF, of India) should also develop its own library of similar publication (now only in the form of a general list).
People in Indian Himalayan region will also like to see an active role of MoEF in implementing the NMSHE (National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem) by involving various active players in the region. It is also advised that ICIMOD should focus on organizing such events in Indian Himalayan region by involving more active players and stakeholders.
In this regard we would also like to emphasize that Ministry of Environment and Forest at Government of India and ICIMOD should consider the specific suggestions and way forwards provided by Climate Himalaya’s Expert and Youth Speakers (under it’s M-20 Campaign)on issues related to sustainable mountain development in Himalayan region, they have specific focus on Knowledge Sharing, Livelihood and Economics, Understanding on Climatic issues, Governance, Institutional functioning, among others.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two 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 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>>