About the programme

The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) is a collaborative programme being implemented across the borders of China, India, and Nepal. As such, KSLCDI transcends geographical boundaries, and has evolved through a participatory and iterative process into a transboundary initiative. It involves various local and national research and development institutions working in different capacities in various regions of the three countries.

The programme aims to achieve long-term conservation of ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity, while encouraging sustainable development, enhancing the resilience of communities in the landscape, and safeguarding cultural linkages among local populations. 


  • To strengthen regional, transboundary cooperation by institutionalizing elements of the regional cooperation framework; 
  • To mainstream sustainable ecosystem management approaches and practices in the context of climate change adaptation in the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), and national policies and plans at all levels; 
  • To build the capacities of key institutions for long-term environmental monitoring and socioeconomic research for better planning and decision making; and 
  • To establish a regional knowledge sharing platform to support evidence-based decision making at the regional and national levels.

KSLCDI Approach

The Regional Programme Implementation Plan for KSLCDI is a synthesis of proposed activities based on a consultative process, and national programme implementation plans submitted by partner institutions in China, India, and Nepal. 

The programme cycle is visualized according to the phased implementation of a long-term strategy based on participatory approaches, and an improved regional knowledge base. 

The Kailash initiative is managed by ICIMOD, which has taken up all monitoring and evaluation responsibilities, and serves as the project’s regional Programme Management Unit (PMU). ICIMOD has formed a Regional Technical Advisory Committee to work in close coordination with the PMU, and a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) for overall technical guidance. 

The PMU has a pool of non-permanent consultants who support the programme on strategic issues such as the development of ecosystem management plans, the capacity development of institutions – impact pathways included, and an impact monitoring system. 

ICIMOD has contractual agreements with programme partners in each country regarding international and regional cooperation. These agreements refer to institutional responsibilities for planning, implementation, and monitoring in relation to KSLCDI. 

Geographical Coverage of KSLCDI

The Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) is biologically and culturally diverse, it is also environmentally fragile. KSL covers an area of about 31,000 sq km, and includes the remote, south western portion of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), adjacent districts in Nepal’s far western region, and the north eastern flank of the state of Uttarakhand in India.

KSL includes several national protected areas. Enhanced regional cooperation is crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainable development and conservation of this important landscape, and its communities.

The landscape is characterized by numerous sacred sites, including high-altitude lakes, snow peaks, and a network of religious sites and locations across the three countries. Mount Kailash and the adjacent Lake Mansarovar, both regarded as extremely holy by many religions, are important pilgrimage sites for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Bon. The region is also the source of Asia’s four major rivers: the Indus, the Sutlej, the Brahmaputra, and the Karnali. 

KSL’s global and regional significance, and its transboundary nature call for cross-border cooperation among countries that share the landscape. ICIMOD works closely with partner institutions in China, India, and Nepal to facilitate the development of a regional cooperation framework, and prepare feasibility assessment reports, conservation strategies (CS) and comprehensive environmental monitoring plans (CEMPs). 

All three member countries have endorsed the regional cooperation framework, a guiding instrument for developing and implementing the KSL regional programme. The framework brings partner institutions together under the shared vision of a long-term conservation initiative that is based on regional transboundary cooperation, and ecosystem management approaches. 


5 Years (February 2012 - December 2017)


KSLCDI is a collaborative effort between China, India, and Nepal. It is facilitated by the International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) – UK Aid. The initiative’s focal ministries are the Chinese Academy of Sciences; the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Government of India; and the Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation, the Government of Nepal.

Lead technical institutions in each of the countries will be responsible for coordinating the programme’s implementation.

Implementing Partners

Ministries from respective governments, scientific institutions, and community-based organisations in the member countries




Core Financial Partners


Rajan Kotru

Regional Programme Manager
Transboundary Landscapes