In a bid to create a centre of excellence in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region in the field of bees and pollination, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) brought together 13 eminent honeybee and pollination scientists from 10 countries at its headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The two-day international consultation workshop defined the mandate, goals, objectives, and functions of the Centre of Excellence. It also identified priority research areas and worked out implementation modalities and partnership mechanism.
The workshop followed the recommendation of the Final External Evaluation conducted earlier in December 2012 of the 25-year-long programme on conservation and promotion of indigenous honeybees and pollination implemented by ICIMOD. The evaluation noted several key achievements that led to significant improvements in livelihood options and biodiversity conservation at local, national, and regional levels. It recommended that ICIMOD capitalize on its strengths in the field to create “a unique, new profile as the Center of Excellence for Asian Bees”.
Sharing his vision for the Centre of Excellence, the Director General of ICIMOD, Dr David Molden, said ICIMOD has a long history of beekeeping research and development.
“The need for a platform to generate and share knowledge in beekeeping has been felt and it is very important for us to identify the right organization to lead this,” he said. “Roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined and must be transparent. The Centre should have a clear road map on what it wants to become and where it wants to go.”
The Director Programme Operations of ICIMOD, Dr Eklabya Sharma, said ICIMOD and its partners have gathered lots of knowledge in the last 25 years. “Many things have changed over the years, there are new methods, tools, and technologies for managing bee colonies, harvesting honey, and for multiplying bee colonies,” he said. “We have come a long way but there are new challenges and opportunities that must be addressed, say, climate change and its effects on bees, their migration, and beekeeping management.”
Dr Eklabya Sharma said the workshop must look into innovative ideas that the Centre could address, for example, the role of bees and pollination in addressing food security and changing livelihood context.
The Livelihoods Theme Leader, Dr Golam Rasul, said ICIMOD has been working on indigenous honeybees and pollination for the past 25 years. “Time has now come to translate the dream into reality and take this programme to a higher level,” he said, urging the participants to clearly define the mandate and identify research priorities in the face of new opportunities and challenges.
Following the two-day consultation, the participants submitted a written and signed statement to confirm their support to the idea of Centre of Excellence for Asian Bees and Pollination. The expert participants came from international apicultural bodies such as the Asian Apicultural Association, International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations, and Bees for Development.