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#MovingMountains WEBINAR

Investing in nature-based solutions: National plans and investment in forests and biodiversity in Hindu Kush Himalaya





Date & Time

26 August 2022

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About the webinar

This webinar aims to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss the potential of nature-based solutions (NbS) for climate adaptation and mitigation in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Under NbS, there will be a focus on the forest and biodiversity sectors, highlighting relevant plans for national climate targets in the HKH.

Specifically, the event aims to

  • Provide an overview of plans and investments, along with challenges and opportunities, in NbS for forests and biodiversity
  • Build an understanding of the potential of NbS and ecosystem approaches in contributing to both mitigation and adaptation in the mountains
  • Exchange knowledge of the financial landscape and investment opportunities in the forest and biodiversity sector of the HKH mountains

This session is part of the activities planned in the run-up to COP27 and is being organised under the Mountains of Opportunity Investment Framework (MOIF), a special project of ICIMOD. The findings and evidence generated during this session will be shared on regional and global platforms. The MOIF is being facilitated under the Himalayan Resilience Enabling Action Programme (HI-REAP) supported by the UK Government through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The session is being jointly organised with the Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalaya (HI-LIFE), and is part of episode 3 of the webinar series on Nature-based solutions for conservation and development.


Background: Climate action in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The decade spanning 2020–2030 is critical for climate action. The year 2021 was pivotal since parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) communicated their updated Nationally Determined Contributions to limit warming to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels. These contributions will also allow the parties to increase their ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and make finance flows consistent with climate-resilient and low-carbon development pathways. The year 2030 will also be a crucial milestone in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

The HKH region, which extends from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east, crossing Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A 1.5°C increase in global temperature will likely result in a 2.1°C increase in temperature by the end of the century in the HKH due to elevation-dependent warming. This will expose 240 million people living in the mountains and hills and over 1.6 billion downstream to climate-induced impacts.

In a landmark event, the eight HKH countries signed the Ministerial Declaration and launched the HKH Call to Action during the HKH Ministerial Mountain Summit 2020. This declaration focused on sustaining mountain environments and improving livelihoods in the HKH. This historic agreement highlights the need for regional collaboration and ambitious climate action to limit global warming to 1.5°C and adapt to climate change impacts.


Mountains of Opportunity Investment Framework

Based on all these developments, in 2021, ICIMOD campaigned (#HKH2Glasgow) for urgent climate action for the HKH at COP26, in line with the HKH Call to Action. The campaign included the proposal for a Mountains of Opportunity Investment Framework, endorsed by the HKH countries, to scale-up investments in mountain-specific climate priorities.

This year, we have further advanced the plans for the investment framework, noting that successful implementation would entail the following:

  • Building evidence in support of decision making to channel investments in HKH priority areas
  • Improving connections, interactions, and partnerships between different actors in mountain development
  • Amplifying the voices of mountain communities globally for more significant investments




Deepshikha Sharma is a Climate and Environment Specialist at ICIMOD. With a PhD in Natural Resource Management, she has more than 15 years of experience in water and environment, climate change, and renewable energy working at national and international organisations in the South Asia region. Currently, she is leading a special project on developing the Mountains of Opportunity Investment Framework to leverage investments in the HKH to address mountain-specific climate adaptation and resilience and support countries meet net-zero targets, leading to green, resilient, inclusive mountain development.


Pradyumna JB Rana is a Climate Change Adaptation and Governance Analyst at ICIMOD. He specialises in policy and institutional analysis in relation to climate change adaptation and governance. He looks into how policies, regulations, and strategies are shaped and implemented and provides recommendations on their effective implementation for the management of public affairs. He is part of a team trying to understand and address drivers of social inequality to improve livelihood security and well-being in the HKH.


R. S. Rawat is a Scientist ‘E’ at the Biodiversity and Climate Change Division and Directorate of Research at the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education in India. He has a PhD in Forest Botany. He has more than 19 years of research experience in the field of forestry, especially in plant biodiversity of cold deserts, restoration of degraded forests and mined-out areas, biodiversity conservation, and climate change. He was associated in 12 research projects as principal investigator/co-principal investigator/project associate at the Botany Division of the Forest Research Institute, Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation Division of the Himalayan Forest Research Institute, and Biodiversity and Climate Change Division of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education. Presently, he is executing three research projects under the Biodiversity and Climate Change Division of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education.


Md. Motaleb Hossain Sarker is the Director of the Water Resources Management Division, Bangladesh. He holds a master’s degree in Water Resource Engineering. Sarker has been working in the field of water resources, climate change impacts, water supply and sanitation, agriculture water management, arsenic and water quality monitoring, and ecological monitoring for environmental management and planning at national and international levels for about 27 years. He has also worked as Director of the Ecology, Forestry, and Biodiversity Division and Agricultural and Fisheries Division of the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services.


Sonam Dagay is currently working as an Environment Officer in the Climate Change Division, National Environmental Commission, Bhutan. He is the Project Manager for Bhutan’s Low Emission Capacity Building Project at the National Environmental Commission Secretariat.


Naeem Ashraf Raja is the Director of the Biodiversity Program and Biodiversity Directorate of the Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan. He previously served as the Assistant Inspector General of Forests in the Ministry of Environment. Besides his environmental work with the Government of Pakistan, Raja has worked in the Palas Valley with the Himalyan Jungle Project and the Chiltan Markhor Preservation Project. He has also done consultancy work with the Pakistan Wildlife Foundation. Raja has published field research in several journals and platforms, presented his research at international conferences, and reviews environment-related submissions for Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. He was one of the two Pakistani delegates in Geneva to have won a $3.8 million Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Readiness grant for Pakistan.


Kai Michael Windhorst currently works on climate change and land use planning through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. He conducts research on climate mitigation, energy economics, and forestry and is currently involved in the Building a Resilient Churia Region in Nepal (BRCRN) project for the Green Climate Fund.



Time (NPT) Programme Country/Institution
Session IV: Investing in NbS: National plans and investments in forests and biodiversity in the HKH

Moderated by: Deepshikha Sharma, Climate and Environment Specialist, ICIMOD

15:0015:10 Welcome and introduction
15:1015:20 The HKH and the climate emergency – Pradyumna Rana, Climate Change Adaptation and Governance Analyst ICIMOD
15:2015:35 Md. Motaleb Hossain Sarker, Director, Water Resources Management Division Center for Environmental and Geographical Information services Bangladesh
15:3515:50 Sonam Dagay, Environment Officer, Climate Change Division, National Environment Commission (NEC) Bhutan
15:5016:05 R.S. Rawat, Scientist E, Biodiversity and Climate Change Division, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) India
16:0516:20 Kai Windhorst, Climate Change and Land Use Planning Specialist, Lead Technical Advisor, GCF-funded BRCRN project Nepal
16:2016:35 Naeem Ashraf Raja, Director, Biodiversity Program, Biodiversity Directorate, Ministry of Climate Change Pakistan
16:3516:55 Q&A and summary