The concept of establishing an institution in the Hindu Kush Himalaya to promote ecologically sound development was born in 1974 at an international workshop on the development of mountain environment, hosted by the German Foundation for International Development (GFAR) in Munich, Germany.
The recommendation was further discussed at a 1975 regional meeting on integrated ecological research and training needs in Southern Asian mountain systems in Kathmandu, Nepal. Subsequently, the Government of Nepal extended an invitation to establish an international centre in Kathmandu capable of providing all the countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region with the scientific knowledge and qualified personnel needed for the implementation of integrated development activities.
In 1979, concrete commitments were made to establish the centre during a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regional meeting in Kathmandu under the Man and the Biosphere Programme framework. The Government of Nepal offered to host the new institution, and UNESCO, along with the Governments of Switzerland and Germany, agreed to act as the founding sponsors. Subsequently, the Government of Nepal and UNESCO signed an agreement providing the legal basis for ICIMOD as an autonomous international centre in 1981 in Paris, France.
Our highest governing body is our Board of Governors, which consists of one representative from each of our eight regional member countries and independent members who are nominated by the ICIMOD Support Group based on their recognized professional expertise and experience. Serving on our ICIMOD Support Group are representatives from among the organizations and institutions providing us financial contributions.
ICIMOD’s Board of Governors is the highest governing body of the centre. The first Board of Governors meeting was held in Kathmandu in 1983, chaired by Ratna S.J.B. Rana, elected as its first chairperson. The Board of Governors then included eminent personalities from both within and outside the region and was not structured in the current format until 1991. At a meeting held in Berne, Switzerland, in June 1991, the board approved the formation of a new structure consisting of 15 members – eight representing governments of the RMCs and seven independent members. This format continues to this day.
Government nodal agencies from the eight RMCs nominate their respective board members representing the RMCs at the level of ex officio members (i.e. secretaries, vice-president, vice-chairpersons, directors general, or equivalent). The term of members from RMCs is according to their tenure of service in their respective government positions.
Dasho Mr. Karma Tshering (Chairperson, ICIMOD Board of Governors)
Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Royal Government of Bhutan
Thimphu, P.O. Box 252, Taschichhodzong
Prof. Dr. Juergen P. Kropp
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Department Chair Research Domain II: Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities
Head: Climate Change and Development
Dr. Renate U. Christ
Mr. Lennart Bage
Acting Chairperson of SEI
Stockholm Environment Institute
Former Co-Chair of the UN Green Climate Fund
Former Board Member and acting Director General of Sida
Former President of IFAD. Former Ambassador
Ms. Anita Arjundas
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment,
Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post, Bengaluru,
Professor Wu Ning
Chengdu Institute of Biology
Chinese Academy of Sciences
The independent board members constitute the Programme Advisory Committee (PAC). The board vice chairperson is the PAC chair. PAC meets during the annual board meeting or when required. PAC is concerned with the professional and technical orientation and advances of ICIMOD’s programmes and with the strategic relevance and quality of ICIMOD’s delivery. It provides its views, findings, and advice to the board for consideration.
The Finance Committee consists of three regional board members and an independent member who serves as the chairperson. The committee’s primary responsibility is to review broad issues related to ICIMOD’s financial resources and allocations, including budget proposals and revisions. It also provides recommendations for auditor appointments and discusses audit control reports. The committee meets during the annual board meetings and presents its findings and recommendations to the board for consideration.
Under the direct supervision of the ICIMOD Directorate, ICIMOD undertakes the responsibility of coordinating the Board Secretariat. The secretariat carries out the substantive and administrative work of the board and related matters for the board, including agendas, summaries, documentation, and associated logistics for the meetings.
The ICIMOD Support Group (ISG) is the main link and forum for interaction between the centre and the sponsoring states and institutions contributing to ICIMOD. The ISG includes core funders and programme and project funders representing bilateral, multilateral, philanthropic foundations, and the private sector. The ISG provides advice for ICIMOD’s development and programme emphasis and provides feedback on the statutory reports on programmes and finance. The ISG meets annually during the board meeting, and the ISG chairperson sits on the board as an observer. The chairperson presents the ISG’s findings and recommendations to the board for consideration.