Putting research in the heart of the Himalayas


The need for more systematic research-based data-sets to address environmental conservation and sustainable development in the Himalayas was the main discussion point at the recent two-day workshop in Delhi, India.

The workshop was organized by the mountain division of G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development (GBPIHED) based in the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India, in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Indian National Science Academy (INSA)

Photo credit: Ritu Meher Shrestha/ICIMOD

Photo: Ritu Meher Shrestha/ICIMOD

 Held on 19 and 20 November 2013, the workshop brought together many scientific and educational institutions, and experts to debate on issues related to research in the Himalayas. Major deliberations focused on the current state of research and associated gaps and discrepancies; integration and ensuring transdisciplinarity; enhancing long-term quality research through collaborations; and identification of critical research areas for future.

Participants also voiced the need to attract young researchers and promote field research. They said INSA’s role in promoting science in the Himalayas and exploring areas of interactions with key players must be defined. The key players include the Ministry of Environment & Forests and Department of Science & Technology of Government of India, GBPIHED, and ICIMOD. 

Director General of ICIMOD Dr David Molden delivered a special keynote speech. He also talked about the upcoming publication called ‘Comprehensive Assessment of the Hindu Kush Himalayas: Action to Sustain the Global Asset’ which ICIMOD is coordinating over the next three years with the aim to publish it by mid-2016.   

Director Programme Operations of ICIMOD Dr Eklabya Sharma made a presentation on ‘State of Knowledge in the Hindu Kush Himalayas: An Ecological Research Perspective’ where he talked about mountains in the global context and their importance in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. He also highlighted the major issues in the HKH region, status and trends in ecological research, and challenges and opportunities for research. 

The focus areas of the workshop were limited to the Himalayan environment, biodiversity, ecosystems and their services, and interacting social components. However, a major discussion centered on quality research, field research culture, organizational setups, and undertaking research as part of mountain social organization.