ICIMOD Celebrates International Mountain Day 2016

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Speakers-cum-panelists at the knowledge forum. (Photo credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD)

On 9 December, ICIMOD observed International Mountain Day 2016 at its headquarters, focusing on the need to retain and employ cultural knowledge in mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

At a knowledge forum held to commemorate IMD, ICIMOD invited speakers to focus particularly on the challenges and opportunities facing mountain cultures. 

Divya Gurung, from Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), highlighted women's changing roles as custodians of mountain cultures. Anie Joshi, a Kathmandu-based heritage architect, described her work in North Sikkim and the role of local communities and their institutions in heritage conservation to strengthen mountain identity. Brij Rathore, the Chief Policy Advisor for ICIMOD, talked about Bhutan’s work in keeping culture central in all its development programmes. 

Rajan Kotru handing out an ICIMOD ICT for Mountain Development Award to a winner from Nepal. ((Photo credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD))

Dr. Rajan Kotru, the Regional Programme Manager of Transboundary Landscapes Programme of ICIMOD, moderated the knowledge forum panel discussion and highlighted two key points in his summary:

  • Sustainable mountain development cannot be successful if it does not incorporate traditional/indigenous knowledge, customary institutions, and people's aspirations;
  • The need to raise awareness about the value of cultural services throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) will continue to be a central mission.

Sushil Pandey, a Knowledge Management and Communication Specialist at ICIMOD, presented the four winners of the 2016 ICIMOD ICT for Mountain Development Awards Competition.

Bikash Dangol, a web officer at ICIMOD, next gave a preview of a virtual tour of ICIMOD’s Knowledge Park in Godavari. The Knowledge Park showcases many agricultural, water, and energy innovations. The virtual tour allows students and interested persons anywhere the ability to visit and learn.

The knowledge forum also organized a viewing of a TED Talk from the Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. He stressed the importance of conserving and promoting mountains cultures for the overall wellbeing of his people and people everywhere.