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Understanding ICIMOD’s Strategic Orientation

In this message, I would like to reflect on ICIMOD’s strategic orientation. In other words, what is our niche? How can we best deliver the impact of our work?

David James Molden

4 mins Read

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Institutional Positioning
Mountain Focus: First and foremost, ICIMOD is for mountains and people, covering the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Mountain ecosystems and mountain people are crucial in moving the world towards more sustainable economic growth and meeting the recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals. This work requires the special focus that ICIMOD provides.
Regional Niche: ICIMOD has a unique niche as a regional organization serving the eight regional member countries (RMCs) of the HKH. There is added value in sharing and generating knowledge across the countries of our region to develop common solutions. Sharing of such knowledge fosters closer cooperation amongst the countries.

Country Ownership: ICIMOD is owned by its eight RMCs with accountability directly to these countries through our Board of Governors. ICIMOD focuses on the common priorities and demands of RMCs through its interventions and activities. The Board approves our Strategic Framework and the Medium Term Action Plan that guide our work.

On the Ground Realities: ICIMOD’s presence on the ground with local communities is critical to understanding the changing situation, to developing relevant solutions, and more importantly, to linking these solutions with policy processes.

Work with Partners: We place a high value on partnership. For this, ICIMOD chooses to work closely with a variety of partners. The advantages of partnerships are the mutual learning, mutual ownership, and the leveraging of partners’ strengths to engage activities on the ground or at policy level. Working with partners also increases the overall capacity for sustainable mountain development.

Engagement with the Global Agenda: More attention and investment is needed in mountain areas. Thus, ICIMOD must take its messages from the HKH to the global community by engaging in global forums.

Programmatic Approach
Through our regional programmes, we adopt an orientation that supports long-term sustainability. Together with our RMCs and partners we define long–term regional programmes and request support for these programmes, recognizing that solutions and impact take time. This approach is in distinction to the project approach where the activity is for the life of the funding. ICIMOD synergizes different funding streams to optimize benefits of the programmes in an inter-disciplinary way to solve mountain challenges.

Impact and Uptake Orientation: Our key role is to develop and test ideas and innovations, and strive for the uptake of promising solutions. To ensure uptake, we rigorously test solutions, and use these results to influence policy and practice. To achieve this, we use impact pathways and theories of change to understand the specifics of how ICIMOD’s solutions would lead to desired outcomes and design our uptake strategies from the onset of the activity.

Integrated approaches: Most mountain challenges have interlinked socio-ecological dimensions, and are complex by nature. This requires integrated approaches across disciplines and scales, from science to policy, and across borders. ICIMOD, therefore, has a clear focus on fostering partnerships to enhance transboundary cooperation to tackle common mountain challenges.

Gender Transformative Change and Inclusive Development: We recognize that achieving our mission requires us to build inclusive solutions that are equitable between gender on various levels in society. We also recognize the need to understand and respect the deep-rooted cultures and practices of the region as a starting point for change. We recognize that the best starting point is ICIMOD itself and the way we work.

Policy Engagement: With our country ownership and regional positioning, ICIMOD is an ideal platform to engage with policy and policymakers. This requires an understanding of needs and constraints, and developing responsive solutions. We seek close engagement with policymakers and leaders from local to national and regional levels.

Strong Science: Our policy and practice solutions are based on strong evidence from the field. Recently ICIMOD has boosted its science output with the purpose of strengthening the science-policy-practice interface to put research into use. ICIMOD works towards filling scientific knowledge gaps in the mountain-specific contexts.

Strong Communication and Outreach: ICIMOD works with numerous stakeholders with different communication needs. To obtain the outreach, and to influence policy and uptake, and to bring about the necessary change on the ground, it is essential that we use a variety of means to communicate strategically. ICIMOD recognizes that communication is critical for disseminating the results of our work to a wider audience, including those beyond the region.

Robust Financial Systems: As a backbone to our work, we have developed and are improving our state-of-the-art financial system to support efficient programmes and to obtain the best value for money.

ICIMOD’s Strategy and Results Framework – Requesting Your Input

ICIMOD reviews its Strategic Framework every five years, and from this work develops a Medium Term Action Plan. This exercise is extremely important for our learning organization to improve and sharpen our core institutional mandate. These two documents provide the basis for ICIMOD’s performance measurement system and help translate our strategic goals into tangible outcomes. The documents will be presented for approval to the Board of Governors, and we hope to have them approved by mid-2017.
The process of developing these documents has already begun. However, the final outcome would not be complete without critical input from our partners and a broad group of ICIMOD stakeholders. Country consultations, to be carried out in all eight Regional Member Countries, have already begun with consultations in Pakistan and China, and will continue through the beginning of 2017. These consultations will help us align our activities to the national priorities of the member countries.

In an attempt to engage as many partners and stakeholders as possible, we are looking at ways to reach out to those who are not able to attend the country consultations. On behalf of ICIMOD, and given the importance of your input to our long-term strategic goals and plans, I would like to request you to provide us your input on our Strategic Framework and help us become a better organization.

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