ICIMOD and KSLCDI indian partners visit pilot areas in Uttarakhand, India

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A team of professionals involved in the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) led by Dr Rajan Kotru, Transboundary Landscape Regional Programme Manager, visited pilot sites in India 9–21 May to discuss the priority KSLCDI activities for 2013, build synergy and harmony among various programme components, and discuss partnership arrangements with the private sector for their support in value chain development using information and communication technology. Prior to the field visit, a full day brainstorming session was held at the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED). The meeting was attended by the nodal persons and other associated scientists from various partner institutions, including the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Uttarakhand Forest Department (UKFD), Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA) and Reuters Market Light (RML). The session aimed to share proposed activities, bring clarity in the implementation of the programme, and discuss potential pilot sites suitable for field activities for the 2013 project period. The team then visited pilot areas near Gangolihat, Didihat, Jauljibi, Dharchula, and Narayan Ashram. Activities in the field included interactions with communities, local NGO’s, forest Panchayats, local organizations and relevant departments. During the visit to Gangolihat, the team had discussions with community representatives on the best implementation approach and visited a few sites with potential for initial work on heritage tourism.

CHEA facilitated interactions with indigenous communities ‘ban rajees’ near Didihat. These communities are marginalized and development work in the village is purely supply driven. However, these communities are ready to cooperate on innovative work through the KSLCDI.

The team also conducted an exercise using the participatory valuation of ecosystem services approach – a tool used to understand ecosystem dependence of communities and raise awareness amongst locals – in Pangu Village near Narayan Ashram. Interactions with Van Panchayats and local communities were helpful for the Indian team in understanding the tool and also helped enhance understanding of cultural and livelihood linkages between communities in the transboundary landscape context.  

The meeting between ICIMOD and RML at New Delhi on 16 May was very fruitful. During the meeting it was agreed that RML will provide an integrated information system based on a field-level database with built-in communication and monitoring components to address the objectives of the KSLCDI. The ICT platform will be useful to beneficiaries in the pilot areas in terms of improving market linkages and enhancing knowledge on value chains and information contributing to enhancement of livelihoods and improved ecosystem services. 

These fruitful visits will pave the way for smooth implementation of KSLCDI activities in the pilot areas of India.