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Bringing mountain women across borders

A case of women traders in the Hindu Kush Himalaya



Date & Time

11 March 2021

Organizers: CUTS International and ICIMOD




Women traders in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) region who are involved in cross-border trade face various constraints such as inadequate institutional support, sub-optimal infrastructural facilities, natural calamities, and geo-political tensions. COVID-19 further aggravated the situation with travel restrictions, the closure of international borders, and shutdown of production units.

For women in mountain landscapes largely engaged in farming, harvesting forest produce, handicrafts, tourism-related services, and micro/nano enterprises, cross-border trade provides an important livelihood opportunity. Given this, CUTS International, in partnership with ICIMOD, is implementing an explorative study in four transboundary landscapes of the HKH region: Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape (HKPL), Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), Kangchenjunga Landscape (KL), and the Far Eastern Himalaya. The study aims to understand women’s status in economic activities in these landscapes, their role in cross-border and regional trade, and factors limiting their entrepreneurial growth. Furthermore, it seeks to understand the enabling conditions required for their development as well as opportunities to enhance their resilience to constraints and vulnerabilities.

CUTS International and ICIMOD are co-organizing this webinar to present the preliminary findings of the study. The panelists will discuss how various shocks, including COVID-19, have impacted the lives of women traders in the mountain landscapes of the HKH, and deliberate possible measures to build resilience.


  • Present key findings of the cross-border trade study from four landscapes in the HKH
  • Bring together stakeholders from the HKH transboundary landscapes to discuss the challenges faced by women traders
  • Identify priority actions for immediate implementation in the landscapes





11 March 2021 | 10:00-13:00 (Indian Standard Time)

Time Programme description Speakers/resource persons
10:00-10:15 Welcome

Opening remarks

Webinar objectives

Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International

Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD

Janita Gurung, Programme Coordinator, Kailash Sacred Landscape, ICIMOD

10:15-10:25 Glimpses from the fields Veena Vidyadharan, Fellow, CUTS International
10:25-11:25 Voices from transboundary landscapes


  • HI-LIFE: Ma Nandar, Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar
  • HKPL: Maryam Iqbal, Founder, Scherzade, Pakistan
  • KL: Priyasha Gurung, Entrepreneur, Samtse, Bhutan
  • KSL: Manju Kotiyal, Dharchula, Uttarakhand, India
Moderator: Kamala Gurung, Gender & Natural Resource Management Specialist, ICIMOD
11:25-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Panel Discussion


  • Afghanistan: Mozammil Shinwari, Executive Director, Organization for Economic Studies and Peace
  • Bhutan: Khunzang Lamu, Director General, Department of Employment and Human Resources, Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Government of Bhutan
  • India: Pankaj Tewari, Executive Director, Aarohi, Uttarakhand
  • Nepal: Reeta Simha, President, Representative, Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal
Moderator: Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International
12:30-12:45 Q&A
12:45-13:00 Concluding Remarks Chanda Gurung Goodrich, Senior Gender Specialist, ICIMOD
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