Sustainable Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction

In recent years, new economic growth, shifting population dynamics, and climate change have taken place so intensely and rapidly that the established adaptation mechanisms of the  people of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region are losing their efficacy. The result has been an increased risk of living in poverty and further marginalisation for mountain populations. In the light of the rapidly changing economic, social and environmental context discussed above, only innovative and sustainable adaptation strategies and methods can ensure a secure and improved lifestyle for the people of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas region and their downstream beneficiaries. This Strategic Programme will provide the innovative livelihood options that are needed to enhance socio economic sustainability and to ensure that livelihood and poverty reduction issues are systematically integrated into ICIMOD’s activities.

The region’s people must be enabled and empowered to cope with, adapt to, and benefit from the changes they are experiencing so that they can enjoy enhanced livelihoods along with increased social and environmental security. ICIMOD monitors and analyses the poverty situation and its main drivers, and helps to develop policy-relevant information with a special emphasis on high value products and value chains, innovative livelihood options, and economic analysis. It promotes resilience to help alleviate poverty by providing sustainable livelihood options. Innovative rural income generation strategies are at the heart of adaptation strategies that allay the effects of socioeconomic and environmental change.


  • Empowered mountain communities, especially the poor and women, through enhanced livelihood options and the support of equitable institutional arrangements
  • Enhanced and diversified income opportunities for mountain people created by tested technical and institutional innovations
  • Improved well-being of mountain people through the establishment of efficient and equitable market linkages for mountain niche products and services
  • More sustainable livelihoods, improved equity, and reduced poverty for mountain people facilitated by the promotion of evidence-based mountain policies.