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Making headway: From the Eastern Himalayas to COP 10 

Over the past two decades, ICIMOD, with active support from its regional member countries, strategic partners and donors, has helped to bring about a paradigm shift in conservation in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region from a species-focused protectionism (a people exclusive approach) to a ‘people inclusive’ landscape level ecosystem-focused participatory approach. The Kangchenjunga Landscape initiative, a pioneering landscape level transboundary conservation project in the Eastern Himalayas, was instrumental in bringing the ‘ecosystem approach’ into practice. 

Through the Kangchenjunga Landscape initiative, and as a result of its strong outreach activities, including the 2007 publication ‘Landscape approach in biodiversity conservation: A regional cooperation framework for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the Kangchenjunga Landscape’ by Sharma et al., ICIMOD has received recognition from global conservation communities including the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The International Mountain Biodiversity Conference held in Kathmandu in November 2008, with its three ‘pre’ and ‘post’ conferences, led to further recognition by many global organisations. This recognition was instrumental in the development of the ‘trans-Himalayan transects’ concept by ICIMOD, within which six of the seven critical transboundary landscapes are located. Following the Biodiversity Conference, the transect concept was discussed and accepted at the Programme Advisory Committee meeting of ICIMOD in 2009. ICIMOD now has a fully-fledged transboundary landscape programme, with transboundary landscape initiatives in Kailash, Karakoram, and Brahmaputra-Salween.

In 2009, ICIMOD was requested by the Secretariat of the CBD to review the Convention’s Programme of Work on Mountain Biological Diversity from an HKH regional perspective. ICIMOD prepared a comprehensive review for the Secretariat, which referred to the review extensively in the Executive Summary for the 14th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body of Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) – a preparation the Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) meeting held in Nagoya in October 2010.

ICIMOD also played an important role in the International Year of Biodiversity celebrations, with various events being held, culminating in a team from ICIMOD attending COP 10 in Nagoya. For the first time, ICIMOD was given a reserve seat in the row for inter-governmental organisations. Thus, ICIMOD has made headway from its experiences in the Eastern Himalayas to COP 10 of the CBD.

- Nakul Chettri <>