Message from Director General for International Mountain Day

Bangladesh Mountain Day Message

11 December 2014

I am pleased to know that the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs is organizing the events for International Mountain Day 2014. It is encouraging that the government of Bangladesh is taking part in this important event.

This year’s theme is ‘Mountain Farming’, which recognizes and supports the contribution of family and small-holder farms in mountain areas to promote food security, poverty reduction, and environmental protection.

Family farming is a predominant farming system in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, where the majority of communities are small-holder farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture. In Bangladesh, particularly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, family farming is an integral element of the local tradition, which is based on mutual trust, shared wisdom and a network of relations. Family farming not only enhances rural livelihoods in the mountain region, it also helps preserve community vitality and social cohesion that are critical for ensuring a happy and fulfilled life.

In recent years, the Hindu Kush Himalayan region has experienced great changes including rapid population growth, economic development, urbanization, and high rates of out-migration and consequent feminization of rural activities. Small-holder mountain farmers face increased risks and challenges as they lack the capacity to cope with harsh events of climate change and volatile economic situations. These changes threaten traditional livelihood strategies and coping mechanisms.

ICIMOD is working to enhance the capacity of subsistence farmers and build partnerships for adaptation and resilience. We seek to ensure that men, women, and children of the Hindu Kush Himalayas enjoy improved wellbeing in a healthy mountain environment. ICIMOD’s regional programmes on Adaptation to Change, Transboundary Landscapes, River Basins, Cryosphere and Atmosphere, and Mountain Environment Regional Information System focus on testing, piloting, and monitoring innovative approaches, facilitating transboundary cooperation, and meeting capacity building needs in the region. These initiatives draw expertise from varied thematic areas such as Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services, Water and Air, and Geospatial Solutions, while also integrating crosscutting topics such as gender, governance, poverty, economic analysis, and private sector engagement.

On the occasion of International Mountain Day, ICIMOD reiterates its commitment to support mountain farming by promoting knowledge, partnerships, and awareness about family farming, as well as by encouraging investments in livelihoods improvement in the mountain region. Let me also take this opportunity to thank our partners in Bangladesh, other regional member countries and donors for supporting ICIMOD’s efforts to strengthen mountains and people.

David Molden

Director General