Experts’ Consultation on a Framework for Long-Term Environmental and Socioeconomic Monitoring and Ecosystem Management in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

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Background

To gain a thorough scientific understanding of the environment around us, biologists, ecologists, climatologists and social scientists have been working to assess the current state, patterns and processes of the environment. Most researchers try to address these fundamental questions from within the boundaries of their respective fields, overlooking the relationships between different fields. With the advancement of environmental science, however, it has been increasingly realized that there is a need for interdisciplinary approaches and convergence of different themes for managing natural ecosystems sustainably. This calls for a comprehensive and integrated approach to long-term environmental monitoring as well as ecosystem management based on a scientific approach, tried-and-tested methods and empirical data from the field.  

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region has been identified as one of the biodiversity rich areas encompassing four global hotspots. However, with increasing human population, globalization and changing climate, most of the ecosystems are facing stress, which has affected their structure, function and delivery of goods and services. As a regional knowledge development and learning centre, ICIMOD is committed to strengthening the existing research network in the HKH and also facilitate data sharing mechanisms. In 2008, a framework on ‘HKH Transboundary Landscapes and Trans-Himalayan Transect’ was developed with technical inputs from recognized mountain experts. The objective was to promote transboundary collaboration among the countries and fill the data deficit through seven representative landscapes across the gradients of precipitation, altitude and latitude. At the same time, it was felt that there is a need to follow an ecosystem approach to conservation while implementing the transboundary landscape conservation and development programme. 

Since 2008, ICIMOD and its regional member countries have made significant progress in mainstreaming this framework within ICIMOD through implementation of the Transboundary Landscape Programme. As part of this programme, two draft frameworks have been developed for the region viz., (i) Framework for Long-Term Environmental and Socio-economic Monitoring (LTESM), and (ii) Ecosystem Management Framework (EMF) for the HKH region. In this connection, ICIMOD plans to organize an Experts’ Consultation Meeting to discuss how these frameworks can be customized for the HKH region. The broad objectives of this workshop are as follows:

Objectives 

  • To identify key features of successful ecosystem management from biophysical and socio-economic angles in the major ecosystems of the HKH region 
  • To finalize the broad framework for ecosystem management for the HKH region which can be used by natural resource managers and the scientific community
  • To share best practices and approaches on LTESM in the HKH region and elsewhere, and
  • To discuss, prioritize and agree on broad thematic areas, key variables and associated indicators to be included in the LTESM framework.

Workshop Programme

The programme will include sessions on global and regional perspectives on EMF and LTESM, best practices including discussions and finalization of ecosystem related monitoring needs, indicators, implementation framework with targets, timelines and resources. During the sessions on EMF, participants will brainstorm on the need to scale up successful ecosystem management practices, harmonize management approaches, share experiences and come up with a broad framework for ecosystem management in the HKH region. The programme will also include a field visit to some of the relevant sites in the nearby areas. A tentative programme of the workshop is provided in Annex 1. The workshop participants include selected experts working on these issues at the global and the regional level, and key partners from the HKH member countries with experience working in the transboundary landscapes in the region.

Expected Output 

The workshop is expected to achieve the following outputs:

  • Finalize the framework for integrated ecosystem management for the HKH region
  • Reach general consensus on the approaches to ecosystem management in the HKH region, and agree on guidelines for sharing best practices
  • Better understanding of the LTESM through field observation and interaction
  • Finalize the LTESM framework with agreed thematic areas, key variables and associated indicators including targets, timelines and resources required