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Media webinar

COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and the future: Perspectives from the mountains




Online (via Microsoft Teams)

Date & Time

07 August 2020 to 07 August 2020

COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and the future: Perspectives from the mountains


The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt an immense blow to the development and climate change progress being made in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. Challenges posed by this disruption have affected HKH mountain communities particularly hard economically and socially, further exacerbating many pre-existing difficulties. Mountain communities need support to bounce back in ways that increase resilience and enhance livelihood opportunities.

This media-focused webinar aims to share key findings and messages from a recent ICIMOD COVID-19 policy paper with editors, journalists, and members of the media. The webinar will offer a platform for discussions on what is happening in the HKH mountain regions, what is at stake, and what concrete approaches are needed for a resilient recovery.

The webinar will feature ICIMOD experts and representatives from some HKH countries speaking briefly on pressing mountain issues at hand, with some time allotted for questions and discussion. During the webinar, ICIMOD experts from multiple disciplines (economics, livelihoods, policy, and environment) will also be available to answer any related questions.



David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD

Eklabya Sharma, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD

Purnamita Dasgupta, India

Linxiu Zhang, UNEP/China

Gyan Acharya, Nepal


Registration and further information

To join the webinar, please register at https://bit.ly/3jTiPmJ or RSVP at media@icimod.org

(Limited slots available, first-come-first-served basis)


About the speakers:

Linxiu Zhang (UNEP/China) 

Linxiu Zhang is currently Director of UN Environment Programme-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), a joint center between the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and UN Environment Programme. The center has been recognized by UNEP as the first UNEP initiative in the South and for the South, mobilizing science for policy on ecosystem management, focusing on the nexus of climate change, ecosystem services and sustainable livelihoods. Zhang used to be the Director/deputy director of Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy of CAS. She is now affiliated with the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of CAS as a senior research fellow and also a professor at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. She is also a member of Expert Advisory Committee of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development of China.  

Her research interest concentrates on policy relevant studies on rural development, particularly on poverty alleviation, poverty and environment dynamics, labor market development, public investments, and the economics of rural education and healthcare. She has published more than 280 papers in peer-reviewed journals and also received numerous awards. The most recent ones include “Ten Most Outstanding Women in Science” award from CAS (2013), TWAS “Celso-Furtado Prize” in Social Sciences (2013), “Fudan Management Excellence Award” (2014) and a TWAS fellow (2014). 

Purnamita Dasgupta (India) 

Purnamita Dasgupta is Chair Professor and Head, Environmental and Resource Economics Unit, at Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Her teaching and research focus is on the relationship between environment and economic development. She has been Visiting Professor at University of Cambridge, UK, and Johns Hopkins University, USA. Her recent research includes modelling future socioeconomic scenarios and GHG emissions, economic evaluation of ecosystem services, climate change impacts and adaptation, choice experiments for enhancing transitions to clean energy use among households and resources for financing ecosystem conservation. Her research has been supported by UNDP; IDRC; DFID; and in India, by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Finance Commissions, Ministry of Urban Development, among others. She has been Co-ordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Lead Author for HIMAP, Advisor for the IPCC’s Scientific Steering Group on Economics, Costing and Ethics; Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, UK. She has served on various international committees and national committees. In India, these include drafting regulation on electronic waste, the Supreme Court committee on NPV for forests, and the expert committee to evolve environmental standards among others. She has been published widely in books and journals and participates actively in discussions on the environment in various fora. 

Gyan Chandra Acharya (Nepal)  

In over 30 years of service with the Foreign Service of Nepal and at the United Nations, Gyan Chandra Acharya has been engaged in global negotiations on sustainable development, climate change, least developed countries agenda, mountain issues, regional cooperation, and global partnerships. He led as Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group in various international fora. Acharya has been in leadership positions at the United Nations with a responsibility to promote the cause of the vulnerable countries, strengthen global solidarity and cooperation, accelerate implementation of SDGs and help overcome their structural constraints in order to move on the path of rapid inclusive and sustainable development. 

David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD 

David Molden is the Director General of the ICIMOD. He 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. Molden has experience in leading and implementing development and research work across Asia and Africa. He has contributed to the publication of over 200 works in books, refereed journals, research reports, and educational materials. He has received many awards, including the Outstanding Scientist Award of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 2009. 

Eklabya Sharma, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD 

Eklabya Sharma is committed to supporting the conservation and development of natural systems for sustaining global goods and services. With PhD and MSc degrees in botany with a specialization in ecology, he has a strong foundation in social and environmental values as well as the conservation of nature and development in the HKH region. Sharma has received many national and international awards, including the Young Scientist Award of the Indian National Science Academy (1988) and the Eminent Scientist Award from the Government of India (1995). The Government of Sikkim has conferred on him its “Social Status Award” for his contributions to the environment in 2004.



Friday, 7th August 2020
1500 – 1630hrs (NST)

Introduction by moderator 5mins
Welcome remarks: David Molden, DG ICIMOD 5mins
COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and the future of HKH Mountains: Eklabya Sharma, DDG ICIMOD 15mins
Perspectives from the Mountains (Regional Member Countries)
Purnamita Dasgupta (India) 7mins
Linxiu Zhang (UNEP/China) 7mins
Gyan Acharya (Nepal) 7mins
Dialogue between speakers 10mins
Q&A with audience
Note: Questions will be selected from the Chat/Comments section in the Microsoft Teams platform where the webinar will be conducted.
Closing remarks 5mins
***Webinar ends***