ICIMOD-IFAD partnership in Nepal 

ICIMOD’s partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized UN Agency based in Rome, was established through a Technical Assistance Grant for securing livelihoods in the uplands and mountain areas of the Hindu Kush Himalayas. The project is implemented in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal. The strategic partnership between ICIMOD and IFAD is based on the realization that ICIMOD’s strength lies not only in providing technical knowledge, but also in generating knowledge in areas that are critical for understanding the causes of poverty in the mountains and in subsequently designing meaningful interventions.   

The strategic partnership between IFAD and ICIMOD is geared towards developing a system for delineating pockets of poverty and vulnerability and conducting participatory assessments. The goal is to understand the mountain communities’ capacity for adapting to change, while also identifying what needs to be done to enhance such capacity. Pilots on innovative livelihood options and adaptation, knowledge management, and capacity enhancement were additional components of the grant. The grant was implemented through strong partnerships with the loan project.  

In 2012, IFAD’s Country Programme in Nepal prepared to develop the Country Operational Strategy for 2013-2017. ICIMOD had contributed to IFAD-Nepal’s portfolio development by supporting its various projects, such as loan projects in the field of value chain development, participatory assessments for climate change adaptation, capacity building in value chain development, and assessing adaptation needs of its target groups as well as the pilots designed by ICIMOD to address loan project needs in income diversification and addressing adaptation.   IFAD hence identified ICIMOD as an important partner for the COSOP formulation process. The COSOP Formulation Missions drew on ICIMOD’s knowledge and experiences to identify areas that could form the contours of IFAD’s investment portfolio in Nepal.   

No development agency working in Nepal can ignore the issue of migration and the role of remittances in Nepal. IFAD recognized that this had to be central (or at least a critical component) to the new COSOP. Similarly, adaptation to climate change also had to figure prominently in the COSOP, particularly with IFAD’s new programme on Adaptation and Smallholder Agriculture Programme being announced in 2012. ICIMOD had worked on migration and remittances and contributed to the UK Government’s ‘Foresight Report on Migration in the Mountains’. IFAD-Nepal could thus use ICIMOD’s knowledge in the field of migration and remittances. Similarly, IFAD-Nepal could draw on ICIMOD’s work on community-based adaptation and the results generated through the Regional Grant. ICIMOD’s work in 17 districts across Nepal helped the COSOP Mission identify pockets of poverty and vulnerability. These knowledge inputs provided the COSOP Formulation team with vital information and interactions with professionals, during which the ICIMOD team gave members of the COSOP Mission significant inputs that improved their understanding of issues, contributing significantly towards the crystallization of the design for IFAD’s COSOP for Nepal. The PVA findings helped IFAD in geographical and social targeting, while the inputs for migration and remittances and those for climate change adaptation have contributed to IFAD’s design of concept notes for two investment programmes – one on harnessing remittances for supporting rural micro enterprises and a second on adaptation. Both these investment programmes are scheduled for design formulation in 2014.