David James Molden

Director General


Dr David Molden is the Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental knowledge organization dedicated to the mountains and people of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.  Now in his second term, Dr Molden has been instrumental in positioning ICIMOD as a regional organization working within and across eight countries in fields such as climate change, adaptation and resilience building, ecosystem management, the cryosphere, air pollution, water resource management, and information systems. Dr Molden has been instrumental in the development of the Himalayan University Consortium to promote academic learning and exchange, and the Hindu Kush Himalayan Assessment, an IPCC-like assessment that lays out policy options for sustainable development in HKH region. He is now formulating the HKH Science Policy Forum to bring countries together to jointly address issues of mountain environment, livelihoods, and regional cooperation.

Dr Molden has encouraged the strengthening of science and the imperative of putting knowledge into use by engaging policymakers and outscaling successful ideas and pilots. Using a gender transformative change framework, he has promoted women’s leadership and awareness within the organization, and promoted the mainstreaming of gender and inclusive development in all of ICIMOD’s work. Over the past four years, ICIMOD has consistently demonstrated concrete results for mountains and people in terms of innovation outscaling, policy uptake, knowledge generation and use, gender and inclusive development, engagement with global processes such as the IPCCC and UNFCCC, and navigation of regional cooperation opportunities in this conflict-prone area.

Dr Molden comes from a background specializing in water resource management and sustainable mountain development with an interest in integrating social, technical, and environmental aspects of natural resources management. He has experience in leading and implementing development and research work across Asia and Africa, and is now leading ICIMOD at the interface of science, policy, and practice to help bring knowledge into use for societal benefits. Prior to joining ICIMOD, he was the Deputy Director General for Research at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) based in Sri Lanka, which was awarded the Crystal Drop Award and the Stockholm Water Prize for work carried out during his tenure (1995–2011). He has contributed to the publication of over 200 works in books, refereed journals, research reports, the media, and educational materials. He has received many awards, including the Outstanding Scientist Award of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 2009.