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The private sector drives much of the global economy. In developing countries, it generates the majority of jobs and funds a large number of development initiatives. As users of mountain resources, the private sector has a critical role in promoting green economic growth in the HKH region, as well as in protecting mountain biodiversity. Engaging with the private sector is thus important for achieving our mission of improving the lives of mountain communities.
Within the private sector, the HKH region is seen as a vast repository of natural capital. Amid the rising challenges of climate change and loss of biodiversity, mountain people have to find ways to use this capital to create sustainable livelihoods. Our partnership with the private sector is geared towards achieving this goal.
We have a comprehensive Private Sector Engagement Strategy 2019 (updated from the 2017 version) for meaningful engagement with the private sector. The Strategy explains the importance of private sector partnerships, how businesses can benefit from partnering with ICIMOD, and ways to foster collaborations.
We engage with the private sector to fulfill three broad objectives:
We generate knowledge that helps the private sector make socially and environmentally responsible decisions. While making their business plans, private companies can draw upon our extensive knowledge about climate change, environmental conservation, water resources and energy in the HKH region. We involve private sector actors in selecting topics for action research, exploring sustainable business solutions, scaling them up and ensuring their sustainability. The private sector adds value to our activities by bringing new technology and innovation. We are well positioned to provide critical information on business risks, such as potential impacts of climate change on the hydropower industry. We recommend actions that help businesses offset their environmental impacts while providing benefits to local communities. We also collaborate with the private sector to develop programmes that advance both their business goals and the agenda of sustainable mountain development.
Our private sector partners help us achieve our goal of improving the livelihood of mountain communities. They have financial and technical capacity to develop value chains and link grassroots producers to buyers. They can thus play a critical role in creating a market for niche mountain products. In collaboration with the private sector, we support communities to run enterprises based on locally available resources. Together we can develop value chains for high-value products and help vulnerable enterprises better position themselves in the local, regional and global market. Further, the private sector can help us scale up promising livelihood activities, diversify products, develop facilities for new entrepreneurs, and ensure quality.
As a regional intergovernmental organization, we serve as a bridge that links the public sector, development actors and businesses in the HKH in order to promote economic growth and sustainable development. We provide a unique platform for private sector entrepreneurs across the region to share their ideas and engage in policy dialogue for addressing business challenges and harnessing opportunities for responsible investment. We work with the regional and national chambers of commerce and industries to expand their network in the region.
‘Private sector’ broadly stands for business and industry. It encompasses multiple actors working for profit and economic growth. These include micro enterprises, cooperatives, MNCs, banks and financial institutions, as well as state-owned or public/private for-profit businesses. Information, communication and other business development service (BDS) providers are considered private sector entities as well. The private sector also includes non-profit business organizations, associations and corporate philanthropic foundations.
We work with diverse actors in the private sector to promote sustainable mountain development in the HKH region. Some of our key partners and their specific roles in advancing our mission are described below.
Where Business Meets the Mountains:
Private sector plays a key role in realizing the huge potential for sustainable economic growth and resilience in ICIMOD’s regional member countries (RMC), in line with member countries’ sustainable development and climate resilience objectives. For ICIMOD, engagement and partnerships with the private sector as a means to support ICIMOD’s vision and mission for sustainable mountain development, and to enhance its impact on mountain communities by including private sector actors.
ICIMOD will engage private sector to tackle poverty alleviation and sustainable use of natural resources through its progressive technology development, knowledge of innovative solutions, aid in skill development and extend a broad range of socio-economic services to marginalized mountain communities.
Many different types of private sector actors have relevance for ICIMOD. Some of the key sectors include agri-based companies, water and irrigation equipment companies, banking and financial institutions, tourism, herbs and medicinal plat related companies, infrastructure developers, private forestry, production/manufacturing companies and ICT.
ICIMOD is mindful that a successful engagement with the private sector is going to require appropriate institutional positioning and innovation within ICIMOD. As ICIMOD is transitioning to a new medium term action plan, ICIMOD has develop a comprehensive strategy for meaningful engagement with the private sector.
A roadmap for private sector engagement activities at ICIMOD has been outlined for 2017 onwards leading to the medium term action plan IV, 2018-2022. The roadmap known as the “Building Bridges with Business: ICIMOD’s Private Sector Engagement and Partnerships for Sustainable Mountain Development in the HKH” has five key components with targeted activities. Each of the five components are explained in the following.