Message from the Director General

From implementation to impact

ICIMOD’s Director General Dr David Molden looks back at 2014 and shares his aspirations for 2015


Now that we have begun yet another year, I would like to reflect on what we achieved in relation to what we set out to do in 2014, and look forward to what we need to do in 2015. 

The Strategy and Results Framework of 2012 provided direction for ICIMOD, with impact and integration delivered through a set of six Regional Programmes of Adaptation to Change, Transboundary Landscapes, River Basins, Cryosphere and Atmosphere, Mountain Environment Regional Information System, and Himalayan University Consortium. These are supported by the four thematic areas aimed at advancing knowledge and science by providing expertise on ecosystem services, livelihoods, water and air, and geospatial solutions. The Knowledge Management and Communication team works closely with the programmes and broadly across the Centre to promote knowledge sharing, outreach, and the uptake of ICIMOD’s work. 

During 2014 all of our regional programmes were in full implementation and are promoting integration across disciplines, across countries, and between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. We are pleased with the innovation generated from our programmes, needed for mountain communities and were recognized by a number of awards for our science and innovative work. I am particularly proud of the UNFCCC Momentum for Change Lighthouse Award for community-based early warning systems, and our Achievement Award from Esri recognizing our work to bring high tech remote sensing and GIS applications for the good of society. 

Our niche as a regional knowledge centre is well established with knowledge sharing efforts, and transboundary work in most of the programmes. I am pleased that we are generating more scientific knowledge with the publication of 74 peer reviewed articles. Some notable ones are the report on future water availability published in Nature Climate Change and the special edition of Mountain Research and Development on gender and mountain development. We also develop and share data bases relevant to the region and make the effort to put these into use.  

Our emphasis on impact include ways to improve how we plan, monitor, and document impact, as well as derive lessons in order to create greater impact in the future. The introduction of impact pathway planning has allowed us to better identify desired outcomes, how these could be achieved, key partners required, and ways to influence them. We will continue to bring together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from the region and around the globe to generate and share knowledge, support evidence-based decision making, and encourage regional collaboration. 

ICIMOD has placed more emphasis on policy influence and enhancing policy connections. By providing assistance to the Government of Pakistan in the development of the country’s Food Security Policy, ICIMOD has been able to ensure the mountain-specific issues are reflected in the policy. ICIMOD provided technical support in the formulation of Myanmar’s Tourism Master Plan and also supported the development of the Regional Destination Management Plan for Inlay Lake as well as the development of the Ecotourism Strategy. ICIMOD supported the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal, in the development of a policy on non-timber forest products. The National Planning Commission of Nepal asked ICIMOD to make contributions to its updated Sustainable Development Agenda, and ICIMOD also provided inputs to the Nepal Health Sector Strategy based on its expertise in air pollution upon the request of the Ministry of Health, Government of Nepal. 

We have increasingly recognized the need to improve our partner relations, especially in the context of the Centre’s strategy for growth, which emphasizes partnership. In 2014, about 30–40% of our budget was used by partners, which is essential for impact. We developed partnership guidelines and instituted a new unit for strategic cooperation with its own directorate-level position. ICIMOD is now taking a hard look at our partnership arrangements, and exploring means to improve the way we work with partners. Using the approach of partnership brokering, we are taking more time to better understand and communicate with partners, and to develop a relationship that goes beyond formal contracts.

Overall, I am pleased with the achievements we made in 2014, but we have a challenging year ahead in 2015, as we have to deliver more results and we really have to focus on implementation.  Our Board has emphasized the importance of policy engagements, and our work with partners. We have a full range of activities across all of our regional member countries, including many knowledge sharing activities, including large conferences in the areas of forestry, glacier research, pollution, rural livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and many more.

I would like to thank and congratulate all the ICIMOD staff, our partners, and supporters who have helped us in our service of mountains and people. We’ve had a number of occasions to come together to develop ideas and networks, and to raise our mountain voices. I am sure all of us take pride in our collective achievements. 

I wish you all a very happy new year.