International conference on

Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

Forging regional partnerships to enable 
transformative change 

Organized by National Planning Commission, Nepal and ICIMOD 

Kathmandu, Nepal

1–4 December 2013 

Poverty eradication remains one of the greatest challenges facing the world today and is a prerequisite for sustainable development. However, despite global poverty eradication efforts, over 1 billion people – one in five people on this planet -  live in extreme poverty. One in seven is undernourished, of which a significant proportion are in Asia. 

In the mountainous regions of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH), the poverty rate is on average 5% higher than the rate for the countries as a whole. The determinants of poverty also differ considerably. In particular, parameters such as lower access to basic amenities, poor physical access, and higher dependency rates are more prominent in the mountains. 

Mountain communities have a high degree of self-reliance and a rich tradition of practices to avert risks. However, increasing uncertainties, inadequate and insecure access to resources, technology and finance, a rapidly degrading natural resource base, and insufficient integration into value chains and markets severely compromise their capacities to effectively deal with change and take advantage of emerging opportunities to pull themselves out of poverty. 

There is an urgent need to support the adaptation abilities of vulnerable mountain households, communities, and ecosystems and enhance their resilience focusing specifically on the challenges confronting mountain women and disadvantaged groups. Mountain specific policies and development interventions to address the needs of the people in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region are still inadequate, primarily because of insufficient knowledge.

The Conference aims to compile updated knowledge on the contours of poverty and enablers of a sustainable development approach for the HKH and thereby, provide inputs specific to the mountain context that can contribute to the formulation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Conference also proposes to set the tone for forging and strengthening regional partnerships for sustainable mountain development.