Knowledge development, use, and networking have great significance for sustainable development in the HKH. Academia and researchers from the universities and institutions have a critical role to play in knowledge generation, the development of human capacities and contributions to science for mountain areas. Action-oriented networking is an efficient means for developing youth engagement in a broader sense, and ICIMOD intends to strengthen mountain knowledge use in this regard.
The role of knowledge and action networks in sustainable development has been recognized at regional and global levels, especially in the context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Universities have been mandated as key institutions for catalysing science, technology, innovation, and action research with an aim to improve people’s well-being and provide evidence for policy making. Global platforms such as the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative and the Sustainable Development Solution Network of the United Nations have effectively contributed to the deployment and activation of science and knowledge to address pressing environmental challenges and promoting regional and international cooperation.
A number of knowledge networking initiatives have emerged across ICIMOD or in close partnership with the centre. Mountain Knowledge and Action Networks (MKAN) encapsulates ICIMOD’s capacity to draw on the strength of existing alliances in knowledge production and sharing such as the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC), and the Hindu Kush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP).
MKAN draws on the strengths, momentum, and lessons taken from existing alliances, and promotes cross-fertilization among them, aiming for evidence-based policies and practical solutions to benefit upstream and downstream communities. MKAN also works to stay apprised of current trends and demands from the RMCs regarding youth needs, and prepares itself to respond timely and positively when opportunities arise for promoting youth engagement in sustainable development activities across the HKH.
The MKAN programme works on five fundamental pillars: