17-18 November 2011: International Symposium ‘Connecting from Space to Village: Enabling Climate Policy and Actions in the Himalayas’ in Thimphu, Bhutan


An International Symposium entitled ‘Connecting from Space to Village: Enabling Climate Policy and Actions in the Himalayas’ was organised by ICIMOD, USAID, and NASA under the framework of SERVIR-Himalaya and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bhutan, and other national and international partners. The event was held as a side event under the framework of the Bhutan Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas held in Thimphu, Bhutan from 17 to 18 November 2011.

The objective of the event was to provide a regional platform for mutual sharing and learning on the use of earth observation and geospatial tools and technologies for improved scientific knowledge and understanding of climate change, in order to support climate policy and actions in the eastern Himalayas. The symposium was attended by participants from the eastern Himalayan countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, including government officials, scientists, researchers, development practitioners, policy makers, youth, and the media, as well as leading personalities, summit delegates, and international experts from the region and beyond. Representatives of USAID and NASA/ SERVIR also made an important contribution to the symposium.

In his inaugural address, the Honourable Lyonpo Dr Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture and Forest, Royal Government of Bhutan highlighted the importance of recent space technology. “Without this technology it was not possible to have some of the most prominent modern communication benefits such as mobile phones, Internet, Skype, facebook, television, and so on. With space technology advancement, we are able to take advantage of such technologies to understand climate change challenges by recording and analysing information such as changes in climate variability, food security mapping, glaciers and land use changes over time”, he said. “Access to such information should be made a fundamental right of all, and it should be made available in the public domain so that today’s slogan ‘from space to village’ can be truly meaningful”, he added.