MyCOE/SERVIR Himalaya Builds Research Capacity of Students from the Region


A recently concluded workshop at ICIMOD Headquarters gave an opportunity to university students in the region participating in the 10-month MyCOE (My Community Our Earth)/SERVIR-Himalaya fellowship programme to share research plans on climate change in mountainous areas using geographic technologies. As a part of the workshop, which was held 18–26 February, participants were provided with customized training in GIS, remote sensing, GPS, and spatial techniques to help them enrich their research.

The workshop is a collaboration between ICIMOD and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) under the framework of SERVIR-Himalaya initiative supported by USAID and NASA. During the workshop, lectures and presentations on work concerning GIS/RS were made by 26 participants and mentor teams from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, two resource persons from US, and several resource persons from ICIMOD.

Keynote speeches from David Molden (ICIMOD), Matthew Hamilton (AAG) and Basanta Shrestha (ICIMOD) highlighted the importance of earth observation knowledge and geospatial tools. After learning about geospatial tools and aspects of good proposal writing, the fellows prepared and presented improved version of their proposals on the final day. Research topics include:

  • Glacier response to climate change in India and Nepal; 
  • Assessment of water resources in the Koshi basin; 
  • Modeling snow and glacier melt runoff and climate change impacts in the Koshi basin; 
  • Vulnerability assessment for potential glacial lake outburst floods in Pakistan;
  • A village level case study in Eastern Bhutan on adaptation strategies comparing traditional beliefs with scientific knowledge; and
  • Assessing land cover changes in hilly regions in Bangladesh and implications for climate change adaptation

The participants were also taken to ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari on 23 February. There they witnessed various ICIMOD initiatives at the community level.

The programme aims to help university students living and studying in developing regions conduct long-term research in response to sustainable development needs in their countries. The MyCOE/SERVIR partnership project supports local, long-term capacity building using geography and geographic technologies for sustainable development initiatives and facilitates ways in which existing geographic data and tools may be applied to critical regional needs across developing regions of the world. 

Carrie Stokes, a representative from USAID, gave a motivating talk on her passion for geography and profession and handed out certificates to all the fellows and their mentors. Dr Richard A. Marston, AAG, summarized the interactions of the workshop and Birendra Bajracharya, ICIMOD, gave a closing presentation. Md Alam from Bangladesh spoke on behalf of the participating mentors and Pramila Poudel Spoke on behalf of the fellows.

Workshop feedback by participants

About the workshop by Dr Richard A. Marston, Resource Person
Association of American Geographers (AAG)

About MyCOE by Carrie Stokes, Geographer and Director of the GeoCenter, USAID

About ICIMOd and Servir Himalaya by Basanta Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager, MENRIS