ICIMOD Transboundary Landscapes Programme Receives Global Award for Outstanding Achievement


ICIMOD’s Transboundary Landscapes Regional Programme received the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s (RNRF) Outstanding Achievement Award for 2018. 

The prestigious award recognizes efforts by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and its partners to build a platform to bring countries together to sustain vital natural resources, protect unique natural and cultural heritage, and improve the lives of millions of people living in remote mountain landscapes of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Progress toward this has been possible through the programme’s innovative, transboundary approach to managing landscapes shared by multiple countries. 

Commerce, culture, and shared natural resources have connected communities living across borders in remote landscapes of the Hindu Kush Himalaya for centuries. The Limi Valley is a traditional trade route that connects communities in the Tibetan Plateau to those living in the mountains and lowlands of India and Nepal in the Kailash Sacred Landscape. 
Photo Credit: Wang Lama

ICIMOD first introduced the transboundary landscapes approach to its work in 2009, and has helped pioneer the approach in the HKH region. Inspired by the Convention on Biological Diversity’s ecosystem approach, it seeks to simultaneously address conservation and development challenges that transcend boundaries through increased knowledge sharing and cooperation. ICIMOD has been implementing the approach through four initiatives under the Transboundary Landscapes programme in parts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan since 2013 (see map):

  • Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (China, India, Nepal)
  • Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (Bhutan, India, Nepal)
  • Hindu Kush Pamir Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan)
  • Landscape Initiative for the Far Eastern Himalaya (China, India, Myanmar)
  • Regional REDD+ Initiative (Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan)
Collaboration between countries that are part of a single landscape is essential to protect threatened species, like these Marco Polo sheep in Zorkul Nature Reserve in Tajikistan, part of the Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape. 
Photo credit: Zhang Lixun/Lanzhou University

The Transboundary Landscapes programme draws together the strengths of more than 55 governmental and non-governmental partners to address the interests of multiple stakeholders – from local communities and institutions to national government agencies and the private sector. It has demonstrated that inter-country frameworks on ecosystem and cultural services can be a bridge for collaboration between countries in a region prone to conflict and with countries in variable stages of development. Through its initiatives, it has developed the capacity of local institutions, tested innovative and inclusive approaches to producing and marketing niche mountain products, and created common standards for monitoring environmental and social change. 

By testing solutions on the ground and developing common research protocol, the programme is creating a body of knowledge that is used to inform high-level decision making and strengthen dialogue and cross learning among countries. This has helped bring coherence to policies across borders and promoted strategic partnerships to sustain mountain ecosystem services and promote livelihood benefits at the landscape level. 

Strengthening connections between countries within a landscape could help develop cross-border trade and tourism, while conserving the local environment and rich cultural heritage. The Haa Summer Festival in Bhutan is one tourist attraction within the Kangchenjunga Landscape, which connects Bhutan, India, and Nepal.
Photo Credit: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) is a non-profit, public policy research organization based in the USA. It is a consortium of scientific, professional, educational organizations whose primary purpose is to advance science, the application of science, and public education in managing and conserving renewable natural resources. The Outstanding Achievement Award is determined through a global competition. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the RNRF Board of Directors on 29 November 29 2018 in Potomac, Maryland, USA. More information about the award is available at www.rnrf.org/awards.html.

For more information about ICIMOD’s Transboundary Landscapes Regional Programme, please visit www.icimod.org/?q=9121.