Regional Expert Consultative Symposium on Managing Wetlands Ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalayas: Securing Services for Livelihoods


Wetlands cover 5-10% of the earth’s terrestrial surface. As a transitional network between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, wetlands support a rich biodiversity. They also serve in controlling floods, reducing the velocity of water and sedimentation, and promoting aquifer recharge. A diverse range of wetlands ecosystem services supports human wellbeing by supplying food and water and securing the livelihoods of local people, especially the poor. These services are extremely valuable: an economic valuation of global wetlands by scholars found their annual worth to be around USD 70 billion. However, despite the significance of wetlands ecosystems to biodiversity, livelihoods, and human wellbeing, numerous wetlands are steadily degrading. Since 1990, nearly 50% of the world’s wetlands have been lost, In Asia alone, 5,000 square kilometres of wetlands vanish each year.

Urban development, the expansion of agricultural land, and industrial pollution are major anthropogenic factors that affect ecosystems. Global climate change is also jeopardizing the future health of biodiversity rich ecosystems. With changing wetlands ecosystems, the ecosystem services that human beings receive from wetlands resources are also changing, in most cases negatively. However, only partial information can be found for individual wetlands and their exploitation at local levels within the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. 

To ensure the sustainable development and conservation of wetlands, more research and a greater understanding of wetlands ecosystem services, drivers of change, and subsequent impacts specific to the region are essential. Temporal scale assessments of wetlands at the local level could facilitate evidence-based monitoring of changes, which would provide vital information for the management and planning of natural resources.

ICIMOD has carried out a number of research projects and pilots on wetlands resources in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. In several pilots, good practices have been demonstrated on economic development through the improved management of wetland resources; however, these are not well documented and shared. There is a need to create a platform for the exchange of information, learning, and research findings to support the collective management and sustainable use of wetlands in the region. This workshop will bring researchers and professionals together to share their findings, exchange learning for wider application, and provide inputs on wetland management policies.  

In partnership with the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Science, Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), and the Chengdu Institute of Biology (CIB), ICIMOD is organizing a three day symposium in Dali, China. The symposium will bring researchers and professionals together to share their findings, exchange learning for wider application, and provide inputs on wetland management policies.  

To share and exchange research findings on wetland cases in order to contribute to improved management of wetland resources in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.

Specific objectives
Improve understanding of the present status and trends related to wetlands resources and services 

  • Share and discuss existing policies and frameworks supporting wetlands management 
  • Generate policy recommendations to support improved wetlands management 


  • Keynote session
  • Technical sessions
  • Field visit and discussion with authorities at Erhai Wetlands Restoration Project 
  • Plenary discussion