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The Road Ahead

David James Molden

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Last December more than 400 experts on climate change and climate change resilience gathered on our campus in Kathmandu to discuss ways to help HKH communities prepare for shocks, recover from shocks, and bounce forward stronger than before.

This was our Resilient HKH conference and it proved a fitting way to end a successful 2017, as the assembly brought together people from around the world and around the HKH with a shared focus to preserve the health and strength of mountains and mountain communities.

The conference produced a series of 12 action points, including calls to promote and strengthen regional cooperation, support the development of entrepreneurs (especially among women and youth), and promoting ICIMOD as a regional forum for knowledge generation and dissemination.

And while we were proud of that conference and what it accomplished, we turned immediately to face the New Year and the many social and environmental challenges that still confront the HKH region.

To do this, we focus on two important documents that represent countless hours consultation with partners, of hard work and planning from ICIMOD staff, and feedback and approval from our Board: the Strategy and Results Framework (SRF), and the Mid-Term Action Plan IV (MTAP). Together these documents will provide ICIMOD’s path for the next five years.

ICIMOD’s work is designed to achieve specific results that produce transformative change in the lives of mountain people. The SRF provides a five-year roadmap we will follow to achieve those results: adoption of innovative practices, developed human and institutional capacity, and a strong role influencing policy, among others.

ICIMOD delivers impact through its six Regional Programmes, and the SRF outlines the vision of each one, including the outcomes the programme expects to achieve, and—this is key—how they will measure their progress. We will build on experience with regional approaches to ecosystem and water management, on climate change, air quality, and disaster risk management. At the community level, we address issues related to youth, migration, and gender equality. We search for, identify and test, the means to outscale different options for livelihood diversification, and consider the role of markets for realizing opportunities with high-value niche products and sustainable tourism.

The SRF firmly places ICIMOD in its proper niche as a regional knowledge sharing and generation organization where we can apply tools like remote sensing, but also where we can bridge the gaps between science, policy and practice.

Perhaps most importantly, the SRF takes stock of ICIMOD’s experience working in the HKH, drawing upon the lessons we’ve learned over the past 35 years. What works, what doesn’t work, what could work but needs some adjustment? Questions like these have informed the SRF and illustrate the kind of self-reflection and stakeholder consultation necessary to address the many complex challenges of today’s mountain world.

While the SRF provides the vision, the MTAP offers the work plan for achieving our goals, detailing the steps we will take to realize our shared goals. This five-year plan provides details on how ICIMOD works to put research into use, measures its impact, and develops innovative methods for transdisciplinary work, partnership building, private sector collaboration, and outscaling solutions.

At centre of our work are the men, women and children of HKH and their relationship with the mountain environment. To ensure inclusive development in this region, mountain voices and issues need more recognition in policy making at national, regional and global levels. The MTAP provides special focus on how we aim to achieve this influence and how we will work to improve regional cooperation through the HKH.

Finally, as we move hopefully into 2018, we want to thank our eight government supporters, who have helped develop and approved these two key documents. With their guidance, we feel strong and assured moving into the next five years working for mountains and people in the HKH.

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