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The path ahead

Pema Gyamtsho

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Mt. Siguniang (Shuangqiao Valley)(Seabuckthorn)

Abnormal times bring abnormal challenges and opportunities! It is in the middle of very abnormal times that I have begun my tenure as Director General at ICIMOD and I am facing the challenges and seizing the opportunities with our strong management team and all of our committed team members.

While the pandemic has confronted us with unforeseen challenges, it has presented us with new opportunities. Like so many organizations, we’ve climbed the technological learning curve at accelerated speed and very successfully hosted several on-line events. Among these, the Ministerial Mountain Summit on 15th October was a grand success as all the eight regional members countries approved and signed the “Ministerial Declaration on the HKH Call to Action” which expresses their commitment to enhanced regional cooperation in addressing challenges of climate change, pervasive mountain-specific poverty, and forwarding the HKH Call to Action. Building on all of the scientific evidence synthesized in the HKH Assessment the Call to Action is a roadmap for the region and will be at the centre of the work we do into the foreseeable future. I am excited to take this work forward, to deepen our partnerships towards our shared goals and to ensure that we never lose sight of the reasons for this work. We are dedicated to the mountains and people of the HKH and all of our work is focused on the important tasks paving a clear path towards a more prosperous HKH region. Now more than ever, we have to protect the pulse of the planet, we have to do everything we can as individuals, organizations, communities and as a global community to halt climate change, reduce global warming, ensure inclusion of marginalized peoples and ensure the due respect required for the health of our ecosystems and environments.

When I think of HKH mountain ecosystems and biodiversity, I think of my colleague, Dr. Eklabya Sharma who has provided not only continuity, consistency and coherence to ICIMOD’s work but also global leadership on biodiversity conservation. As he prepares for his retirement from the Centre after nearly twenty years of service  to mountains and mountain peoples of the HKH, I join all my colleagues in ICIMOD and all his friends and associates across the region and beyond to wish him the very best.

Looking forward to the immediate future, we are excited about International Mountain Day on 11 December, when we will also announce the winners of our 2020 ICIMOD Mountain Prize and have some focused discussions on the important theme for this year, “Mountain Biodiversity”. Please do look into the range of activities we’re planning for that day on our website through this link. And looking into the longer-term future, I am eager to meet all of our strategic partners, members of our Board of Governors and ICIMOD Support Group and all of you who have been so essential to all of our achievements thus far.

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