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Mountain ecosystem restoration

Part of the official World Environment Day 2021 celebrations with the global host – Government of Pakistan


Virtual (Zoom)

Date & Time

02 June 2021



Overexploitation of resources, extensive land conversion, and climate change are having visible impacts on mountain ecosystems across the planet. Considered as the last bastion of rich biodiversity in a changing world, mountains ecosystems are important for their natural beauty, as places of peace and spiritual refuge, and for the ecosystem goods and services that they provide to half the global population.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), the water tower of Asia, is one of the highest and most fragile ecosystems in the world. These mountains, rich in biodiversity and diverse ecosystems, are facing increasing pressure from land conversion, development, and climate change, among others. Although these threats are not uniform across the HKH, most mountain ecosystems are threatened by degradation and over-exploitation of resources, and highland ecosystems are witnessing the impacts of climate change, including range shifts. There is evidence that elevation-dependent warming is adding to these challenges as water availability is disrupted, threatening an important element of ecosystem health. The increased frequency of water induced disasters, droughts, forest fires and change in the growing season are adding to the challenges of already marginalized mountain communities.

The COVID 19 pandemic is being linked to habitat degradation, wildlife trade, and increasing human pressure on natural resources, indicating tipping points and signs of ecosystem instability and collapse. Considering the urgency of ecosystem restoration, the United Nations has announced 2021–2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an inter-governmental regional knowledge centre, has been working with the twin objectives of building ecosystem resilience and human wellbeing in the HKH. It adopts an integrated approach to enhancing ecosystem health and addressing human wellbeing through its customized programmes that focus on knowledge generation and sharing of good practices. It also works with government and civil society partners in the member countries to advance a landscape approach to forest and rangeland restoration and balancing conservation and development imperatives, all of which are vital contributions towards the goals of the UN Decade on Restoration.


About the special session

On the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, a special session on the theme “Mountain ecosystem restoration” is being organized to focus attention on restoration in the HKH. The session will feature a keynote address to contextualize the theme followed by a panel discussion on innovations and good practices in ecosystem restoration at the regional, national, and local levels. This will be followed by a Q&A session and interaction with participants.



The overall objective of the session is to understand restoration perspectives and approaches in the HKH and to explore collaborative pathways for building ecosystem resilience.

The specific objectives are as follows:

  • To understand ecosystem restoration approaches and perspectives in the HKH
  • To share contemporary innovations and practices from the regional, national, and local levels on ecosystem restoration
  • To explore avenues for collaborative efforts that address the common goal of sustaining HKH ecosystems


Expected outputs
  • A better understanding on the need, relevance, and perspectives of ecosystem restoration in the mountains of the HKH
  • Sharing of good practices from other countries
  • Strengthened collaboration for addressing shared concerns and achieving the common goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Agenda for the ICIMOD special session

2 June 2021

11:00−13:00 Pakistan Standard Time

Host: Kanwal Waqar, ICIMOD

Time (PKT) Session Speaker
11:00−11:30 Welcome remarks Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD
Keynote address Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Minister for Climate Change / Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Pakistan
11:30−12:30 Panel discussion (with guided questions on each topic) Moderator: Babar Khan, Senior Ecosystem Specialist, ICIMOD


  • Transboundary landscape restoration in western Himalaya – Ghulam Ali, ICIMOD
  • Transboundary landscape restoration in the eastern Himalaya – Yi Shaoliang, ICIMOD
  • REDD+ and ecosystem restoration – Bhaskar Singh Karky, ICIMOD
  • Forest restoration – Faizul Bari, FAO in Pakistan
  • Climate impacts on ecosystem restoration – Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, climate expert
Q&A Speakers and session participants
12:30−13:00 Key messages and way forward

Vote of thanks

Nakul Chettri, Regional Programme Manager, ICIMOD

Muhammad Ismail, Country Rep. Pakistan/Ecosystem Specialist, ICIMOD

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