Annual Report 2015: Capacity building

From Cooking to Sanitation Management, Communities Build Skills to Enhance Kailash Pilgrimage Experience 

Thousands of visitors come to China each year to circumambulate Mount Kailash, a destination for global tourists that is also sacred to Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and followers of Bon. The crowds of visitors to the area around Kailash in the Tibet Autonomous Region are good for the local economy, but can also threaten the environment – and the pilgrimage experience can be harmed, too.

ICIMOD is helping communities along the route to improve sanitation, manage waste effectively, and end open defecation. Entrepreneurs are also catering more effectively to the large numbers of Indian and Nepali pilgrims who are vegetarians, learning to prepare South Asian vegetarian cuisine in addition to Tibetan-style meat dishes. A dozen restaurants are now equipped to better serve South Asian visitors, while transportation services have also been improved, with guides from yak transportation teams benefitting from safety and health training.

Improved waste management, tourist comfort and safety, cultural sensitivity and environmental protection are being linked more closely in the Kailash region to protect the fragile, high-altitude environment that is home to many communities and sacred to many faiths around the world.