Local experts emphasize policy-oriented research on freshwater ecosystems


A one-day consultation of local experts was jointly organized by the Regional Forest Directorate of the Eastern Region, Nepal, WWF Nepal and ICIMOD on 31 October 2014. Thirty experts representing the district forest office, soil conservation office, water supply and irrigation sector, district development committee and private sector participated in the workshop.

Participants discussed research needs and priorities with respect to freshwater ecosystem services in the Koshi Basin. They tried to identify ways to streamline freshwater ecosystems programmes with government plans and priorities, and to engage partners and stakeholders for possible policy inputs. 

Participants of the Consultation Workshop 

Photo credit: ICIMOD

In his welcome address, Prof. Wu Ning, theme leader for ecosystem services at ICIMOD, highlighted ICIMOD’s approach to ecosystem management in the HKH region. Dr Shahriar Wahid, coordinator of the Koshi Basin Programme, briefed the participants about the ongoing activities under the programme and stressed the need to undertake policy-oriented research. Laxmi Dutt Bhatta presented the challenges in linking ecosystem research findings with policy inputs, along with a case study on ecosystem services in the Koshi Basin.

Consultation in progress

Photo credit: ICIMOD

Participants highlighted a number of topics that need to be researched. These include the forestry sector’s contribution to national GDP, the impact of infrastructure development on aquatic biodiversity, freshwater ecosystem-livelihoods dynamics, hydrological functions of forests, and the relationship between water pollution and agricultural yield. The outcome of this consultation will help link freshwater ecosystem research design under the Koshi Basin Programme with government priorities and policies.