International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
  • Name: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Women (36 hits), Woman (0 hits),

General Content

a) What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio+20, and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a possible structure of the Outcome document?

- The Rio+20 conference should recognise the contribution of mountain systems and their ecosystem goods and services to a green economy, sustainable development, and human wellbeing and should set principles and policies for global, regional, and national actions in support of sustainable mountain development.
- Considering the increasing importance of mountain ecosystems for downstream communities, the high incidence of poverty and unequal access to resources in mountain areas, the growing vulnerability of upstream and downstream populations, and the threats to the availability of mountain ecosystem services, global stakeholders should revisit the criteria of the mountain agenda and Chapter 13.
- International organisations and national governments are implored to favour policies and all possible efforts to strengthen the efforts of mountain communities to ensure a continued availability of fresh water, biodiversity (including agro biodiversity), cultural diversity,
and space for tourism, recreation, and spiritual renewal, as well as to cope with the
consequences of climate and environmental change.

b) What are the comments, if any, on existing proposals: e.g., a green economy roadmap, framework for action, sustainable development goals, a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, or others?

? Green economy should bring new opportunities for investment in ecosystem services (e.g. freshwater, biodiversity conservation, and carbon sequestration), renewable energy, and creation of jobs while meetings the challenges which are sure to come. It must be pursued with a balanced approach of economic, environmental, and social development and appropriate policy and institutional measures to avoid increasing pressure on an already fragile environment and scarce resources. To this end it is necessary to revisit the mountain agenda. The Rio+20 conference offers an important opportunity to do so, taking into account recent developments and ongoing global challenges.
? Climate change and eradication of poverty take the centre stage in sustainable mountain development. The focus of the Rio+20 is on green economy but the number one priority in developing mountain countries is poverty alleviation ¡V including the mountainous regions of India and China. What relation does this Asian transition to green economy have on sustainable mountain development (SMD)?
? Some of the specific issues and questions relating to situating the green economy in the context of sustainable mountain development are: a) How to build documentary evidence of national and regional/global influence or contribution of the ecological footprints of mountains? b) What specific roles can mountains play in transforming the ¡§brown¡¨ economy of the countries to ¡§green¡¨ economy since the current perception and opinion of the national policy makers is that it may be marginal and negligible. For example, in national reports for Agenda 21, chapter 13, the policy space allotted to mountains is very small. It is therefore challenging to use the green economy plank for leveraging more space in national policies.
? Although mountain regions in developing countries face numerous challenges in the context of a green economy, the green economy development model opens windows of opportunity to rectify earlier development models which have tended to exclude the concerns and interests of mountain regions. The green economy can provide the framework for valuing and compensating critical services of mountain regions that benefit downstream communities, and in the process encourage conservation and address mountain poverty. The green economy paradigm of development can hence unlock the potentials of mountains while preserving mountain values towards sustainable development.
In order to promote sustainable development in mountain regions, the following challenges will need to be addressed in the green economy framework;
Lack of Compensation for Mountain Ecosystem Goods and Services
Mountain ecosystems are important for national, regional, and global economic growth and human wellbeing. However, their services do not receive adequate recognition in national economic decision-making, including development planning and resource allocation. Mountain ecosystem services are often taken for granted, and the role of mountain communities in generating them receives little or no attention. GDP does not account for depletion of natural capital, which is the fundamental basis for all economic activities.
Difficulty of Valuating Mountain Ecosystem Services
The benefits of mountain ecosystem services are largely intangible, and there is no defined market for them, making it difficult to assign a monetary value to particular ecosystems and to demonstrate their value to national, regional, and global economies and to the environment
Unclear Property Rights with Regard to Mountain Ecosystem Services
With markets emerging for carbon, watershed services, and biodiversity, these are now marketable resources, as they were not in the past. However, there are no clear property rights for these resources; the concept of property rights applies largely to assets and products. Without clear property rights, mountain farmers cannot negotiate and benefit from voluntary markets for environmental services such as carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity, and water protection.
Nascent Market for Mountain Ecosystem Services
While markets for mountain niche products are growing, markets for mountain ecosystem regulation and support services are not yet well developed. Complex rules and regulations, precise measurements, and rigorous verification requirements at different stages bar mountain communities managing small plots of forest land from enjoying the benefits of the global carbon market, for example.
Fragile Mountain Ecosystems
Geographic and climatic features make mountain systems extremely fragile. The fragility of mountain ecosystems represents a considerable challenge to a green economy and sustainable development. The impacts of unsustainable development in the mountains have been more rapid, have taken a heavier toll, and have been more difficult to correct than in other ecosystems (MA 2005). The lowlands are also heavily influenced by undesired changes in mountain areas, because of their dependency on mountain resources and ecosystem services.
Persistent Poverty and Marginalisation of Mountain Areas
Livelihoods in mountain areas are considerably more susceptible to environmental and economic changes than those in lowlands because of rough topography, remoteness, and poor socioeconomic infrastructure. The incidence and severity of poverty and vulnerability are disproportionately high in many mountain regions of the world.
Lack of Disaggregated Mountain-Specific Data
Mountain ecosystems and production systems are closely interrelated, and geographically referenced data are essential to their sound management and planning for sustainable development. Disaggregated economic and social data on mountains are difficult to obtain and, in many cases, not available.

c) What are the views on implementation and on how to close the implementation gap, which relevant actors are envisaged as being involved (Governments, specific Major Groups, UN system, IFIs, etc.);

Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD):
IFSD in the context of the Mountain region should aim to identify the actors at local, national and regional levels and set out the functions of institutions for achieving better coherence and coordination among agencies implementing sustainable development activities, especially in the mountains. Therefore, any new institutional framework must avoid overlaps and duplication of activities, and synergies need to be achieved in programming efforts of international as well as national organisations through enhanced participation of all stakeholders for attaining good governance. Similarly, at the UN level there should be clear and resourceful mechanism to advocate the Mountain Agenda, gradually integrating it with other sustainable development agenda, otherwise there is a great danger of continuation of ignorance of sustainable mountain development in the UN processes.

Key challenges for institutional strengthening for SMD
Mountain countries and regions face multiple challenges in creating good institutional framework and more importantly, for avoiding the past track record of poor implementation of SMD commitments and policies. The latter was caused by weak national setups and lack of capacity, coordination, and integration efforts that need to be addressed effectively to ensure clear institutional functions and accountability safeguards at all levels.

Role of research-based knowledge and information
Developing proper institutional framework will also have to consider the role of research organisations both at national and regional levels for filling the knowledge gap. SMD issues in the HKH are of transboundary nature e.g., water, biodiversity, markets, and quality standardisation for green products. Before transforming into a green economy, these countries must set green accounting policies and green technology adaptation institutions to assist the shift from GDP to GMP. Consumerism today is a driver of change, changing values and attitudes of the people, but in the green economy context consumers need to also give premium to green products that will require awareness raising, in which data and information will play an important role.

Role of technology and technical capacity building
Green economy will require ¡¥green technologies¡¦ that will need a suitable framework and mechanism for enabling technology adaptation, retrofitting, and transfer to developing mountain countries. Therefore, strengthening of multi-lateral and research institutions focusing on mountain friendly technologies and knowhow, given the specificity of mountain systems, should be a pre-requisite in the new institutional framework.

d) What specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and actions to be implemented?

What specific actions are required?
Recognition of benefits deriving from mountain regions
As mountain ecosystem services contribute to sustaining and enhancing the Earth¡¦s sustainability and prosperity, the green economy framework and Rio+20 need to recognise the benefits arising from mountain ecosystems and should set principles and policies for global, regional, and national actions in support of sustainable mountain development.
Improved governance mechanisms
To provide incentives for mountain populations to maintain ecosystem services, environmental governance systems must frame the mountain agenda in environment and development policy. Strengthened governance is needed at all levels, national, regional, and global. National governments have a central role in putting in place policies, strategies, and instruments to create enabling conditions for investment in mountain ecosystem conservation and to attract other actors such as the private sector to finance conservation. The international policy framework needs to recognise the value of mountain ecosystems and the needs of mountain people, and to support international, regional, and country-level implementation of the mountain agenda.
Enhanced economic security and poverty alleviation to facilitate peace and stability in mountain areas
Governments must ensure that the green economy contributes to eradicating poverty, ensuring livelihoods, and promoting social equity and security, in line with the MDGs. Promotion of green economy must be based on equitable access to resources, well defined property rights, and inclusive growth. Governments must take steps to ensure that benefits reach poor and marginalised people including Women, indigenous people, and ethnic minorities.
Institutional strengthening and capacity building
Achieving and maintaining a low carbon economy in the mountains requires substantial changes in policies, priorities, and strategies, the increased application of market-based instruments for conservation and development, and the use of new technologies.
Transboundary cooperation
Many of the mountain ecosystems and their services are transboundary in nature; thus their conservation and management demands regional cooperation. Strengthened networks and regional conventions like the Alpine Convention may enhance coordination of activities and assist in raising mountain concerns in international governance and protocols.
Financial Instruments
Conservation of mountain ecosystem services and the transition towards a more low-carbon path of development require financial resources. The international community must provide the necessary support to leverage financial resources, for example through establishment of dedicated funding windows for mountains in existing funding mechanisms (such as GEF), insofar as they link to other global priorities such as climate change, water, and biodiversity. International and regional payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes may be introduced to stimulate the provision of vital non-marketed ecosystem services at the global and regional levels.
Indicators of progress
Mountain-specific indicators need to be developed for measurement of progress towards a green economy, such as investment in mountain ecosystem conservation, resource allocation in mountain regions, and stock and health of mountain ecosystem resources such as water, biodiversity, and the cryosphere (e.g., river flow, sedimentation control).
Operationalising the Framework of Green Economy and Good Governance: Recommendations
The above elements may be pursued in a three-pronged policy approach focused on global responsibilities, regional interests, and national tasks. The following are some proposed institutional approaches at the three levels.
National level
? Adopt mountain-specific strategies in national development plans and programmes to achieve the twin goals of conservation and poverty reduction.
? Internalise the costs and benefits of conserving mountain ecosystems in national wealth accounting, resource allocation, and development plans. The costs of producing environmental goods and services need to be factored into the design of policies, strategies, programmes, and projects. In this way the costs and benefits of mountain ecosystems will be integrated into actual prices, markets, and incentive structures.
? Promote markets for mountain ecosystem services. Encourage the private sector through appropriate policy and regulatory support such as clear property rights and access and benefit sharing frameworks so that the market can become an option for financing mountain ecosystem management.
? Develop policies for institutionalising incentives and compensation for mountain ecosystem services, and make mountain ecosystem conservation central to economic decision making.
? Modify and correct policy, institutional, and market failures related to undervaluation of mountain ecosystem services or failure to recognise them in national economic decision making.
? Invest in mountain regions to unlock their potential in a green economy and sustainable development, e.g., for energy, water, high-quality mountain agricultural products, and nature-based and organic products. Investment in mountain regions will generate long-term benefits. Owing to positive externalities, investment in mountains brings high welfare gains. To attract green investment in mountain areas, governments may grant financial support such as low-interest loans or exemption from certain regulations, to build economies of scale and competitiveness. Generating new public-private partnerships is equally important in the overall approach to unlocking the potential of mountains; they can be an important source of revenue to ensure the long-term sustainability of mountain ecosystems while relieving pressure on public budgets.
? Create a conducive environment for investment in mountains and green infrastructure, and provide incentives for promoting industry and business for the benefit of mountain and rural communities. As the returns from green sectors (e.g., conservation and management of forests, watersheds, soils, rangelands, and glaciers) comes only after some time, government support (direct or indirect) is necessary at least in the initial stages to attract private investment.
? Adopt alternative forms of energy such as hydropower, wind power, biogas, and solar energy to reduce negative impacts from the use of fossil fuels and fuelwood.
Regional level
? Promote and strengthen networks and partnerships among mountain regions. International and regional development and research organisations should facilitate transfer of knowledge and experience as well as capacity building for key mountain institutions.
? Promote regional mechanisms for the compensation of ecosystem services provided by upstream communities.
? Strengthen value chains to benefit mountain communities, for example through branding of mountain goods and services.
? Strengthen the information and knowledge base on sustainable mountain development and make it accessible to all concerned.
? Use transboundary approaches and facilitate regional cooperation to address issues of water management, biodiversity, and protected areas, and establish regional funds for management of transboundary ecosystem resources.
Global level
? Create compensation mechanisms and markets for globally significant mountain ecosystem services such as biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Establish institutional mechanisms for providing economic incentives to conserve mountain ecosystems and improve the lives of mountain communities.
? Remove trade barriers and price distortions on green goods and services of mountain regions.
? Enhance international and regional cooperation on mountain issues.
? Pursue a global commitment to conservation and low-carbon development of mountain ecosystems. Provide adequate financing targeted to the mountain regions of developing countries for conservation and development of globally significant ecosystems. Support technology transfer and capacity building for institutions engaged in development of mountain regions.
? Strengthen and expand alliances of mountain stakeholders to lead and undertake the process of sustainable mountain development beyond Rio+20. Strengthen cooperation and networking among the different mountain regions. Regional conventions in mountain regions might be pursued following the example of the Alpine and Carpathian Conventions.
? Strengthen international support for research on mountain systems of global relevance.

Specific Elements
a) Objective of the Conference: To secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

Contributions could include possible sectoral priorities (e.g., (e.g., energy, food security and sustainable agriculture, technology transfer, water, oceans, sustainable urbanization, sustainable consumption and production, natural disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation, biodiversity, etc.) and sectoral initiatives that contribute to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development could be launched and endorsed at Rio+20.

Alternative energy technology: improving lives and reducing carbon footprint
People in mountain areas mostly use fuel wood for cooking and heating, which can have detrimental effects on the environment, air quality, and human health. In the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, there are also indications that aerosols containing large amounts of black carbon are contributing to regional climate change and glacier melt. Investments in alternative, cleaner forms of energy to replace fuel wood and fossil fuels would reduce carbon emissions, improve human health, and secure mountain livelihoods by conserving mountain forest resources.
Green practices in water management
Water for human consumption, irrigation, and hydropower development constitutes a premium resource of mountain regions. There is ample scope for investments in scaling up green practices in water and watershed management. Scaling up represents both an opportunity and a challenge in the mountain regions.
Diversification and value addition in mountain agriculture
Despite sloping land generally unfavourable to cultivation, agriculture is the main economic sector in many mountain regions of developing countries, accounting for between 30% and 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) and employing up to 80% of the workforce. The market for mountain agriculture is largely organic and is therefore likely to grow, providing opportunities for mountain regions to diversify their agricultural sector. The green economy can help shift agriculture away from subsistence levels through promotion of organic farming, horticultural development, herbal and traditional medicine, and value-added products such as handmade paper, tea, bamboo-based handicrafts, floriculture, horticulture, and mushroom processing, among others. Organic products from mountain agriculture can be marketed for their health values.

b) Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication: views regarding how green economy can be a means to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, and poverty eradication; what is its potential added value; experience to date, including what has worked and how to build upon success, what are the challenges and opportunities and how to address the challenges and seize opportunities, and possible elements of an agreement in outcome document on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

The green economy can provide the framework for valuing and compensating critical services of mountain regions that benefit downstream communities and in the process encourage conservation and address mountain poverty. The green economy paradigm of development can hence unlock the potentials of mountains while preserving mountain values towards sustainable development. A number of opportunities for developing mountain regions in the context of a green economy are explored below.
Realising the Value of Mountain Ecosystem Services
Conventional economics does not take into account depletion and degradation of natural capital and the value of ecosystem services which used to be regarded as ¡¥free public goods¡¦. The green economy recognises the value of the ecosystems in the production of goods and services for downstream economies and for securing overall human wellbeing at local, national, regional, and global scales. This recognition provides an opening for mountain people to be duly compensated and rewarded for stewardship of mountain ecosystems and their services.
Accessing Growing Market for Niche Mountain Products
Mountain goods and products such as medicinal and aromatic plants and other non-timber forest products, mountain crafts, and ecotourism hold special values and have niche markets. Enabling policies and supporting rules and regulations for Marketing Mountain products can benefit mountain regions and help them get value for their products and efforts.
Conserving ecosystem services to fight poverty and enhance livelihood security
Rural poor people depend heavily on natural resources. Around 350 million people who live within or adjacent to dense forests, for example, depend on them for a high degree of subsistence and income (World Bank 2004, cited in Gundimeda 2011). By linking natural resource based livelihoods to production of ecosystem services, the green economy can help reduce poverty and enhance environmental sustainability.
Policy innovations in government for conservation and development of ecosystems
Innovative policy options that are emerging to provide incentives for conserving and developing ecosystem services have potential for mountain regions. For example, the Government of India has established fiscal transfer from the central government to the states for forest ecosystem services.
Introducing Incentive-based Mechanisms for Mountain Ecosystem Services
Ongoing global and national efforts to develop policies, strategies, and regulatory frameworks for better ecosystem services are creating emerging markets for mountain ecosystem services. Incentive-based mechanisms such as payment for ecosystem services (PES) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) are emerging opportunities for financing conservation and development of mountain regions.
Creating New Investment and Employment Opportunities
Shifting investment from the brown or industrial sector to a green sector may create interest and bring opportunities in green investments and transfer of green technology. Mountain regions can benefit from green investments in areas such as:
enhanced production and processing of mountain ecosystem goods and services; appropriate pricing and reward or payment systems for proper valuation of mountain goods and services; reducing mountain fragility and the impact of disasters; creation of green employment opportunities (e.g., in agriculture and horticulture) in mountain regions.
Promotion and transition towards a green economy need capacity development in education, research, advocacy and policy reforms. Similarly, enabling policies and institutions are needed to provide necessary incentives to producers of mountain-based ecosystem goods and services. Regional as well as upstream-downstream approaches are needed for promoting green markets and for addressing the challenges of poverty, biodiversity loss, trade barriers and climate change. In summary, there is a need to develop a green economy roadmap for the mountains in the Mountain region based on comparative advantages in terms of different eco-systems niches and/or those where nations have and building competitive advantages through training, skills development, provision of appropriate technologies and financial support. Capacity building of policy makers remains the utmost priority because good policies are needed to drive the new development process.

Role of technology and technical capacity building
Green economy will require ¡¥green technologies¡¦ that will need a suitable framework and mechanism for enabling technology adaptation, retrofitting, and transfer to developing mountain countries. Therefore, strengthening of multi-lateral and research institutions focusing on mountain friendly technologies and knowhow, given the specificity of mountain systems, should be a pre-requisite in the new institutional framework.



c) Institutional framework for sustainable development: Priorities and proposals for strengthening individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as those for strengthening integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels; local, national, regional and international.

Role of regional institution for sustainable development of the Mountains:
Given the growing interest in mountain issues among the Mountain countries and the changing regional and global contexts, the role of regional institutions will have to match with the growing expectations of regional and international stakeholders. The growing importance of the Mountain ecosystems goods and services need more collective and concerted management actions at the regional level to ensure sustainable development. Since issues such as freshwater shortage, increasing natural hazards, environment pollution, ecosystem degradation, rapid melting of ice, loss of biodiversity, persistent poverty and increasing vulnerability, and human insecurity are common and interconnected issues, they will need common solutions.

Promoting the mountain agenda globally: While the role of mountain systems as a provider of essential services to the global community has been recognised, countries and relevant international organisations have yet to set priorities in support of mountains. Regional institutions can play an important role in raising awareness, and providing concrete data and evidence on Mountain ecosystems and environment in order to enhance regional and global commitment and actions to support sustainable development in the Mountains, while strengthening upstream-downstream relationships.

Facilitating regional cooperation: While the need for transboundary regional cooperation has now been realised, implementation is a real challenge given the difficult geo-political situation in many mountain regions. Non-political regional knowledge-based organisation should be developed and /or strengthened for providing a neutral and common platform for knowledge exchange, sharing and learning. This can facilitate regional dialogue and cooperation among the HKH countries, and enhance common understanding on sustainable solutions

Facilitating information and knowledge sharing for disaster risk reduction and resilience building: The Mountain region is classified as the most vulnerable region due to its exposure to multiple risks of extreme events and natural disasters including landslides, floods, droughts, and glacial lake outburst floods that can endanger sustainable development infrastructure. Reducing the risk of natural disasters is critical for poverty alleviation and for sustaining development efforts. There is a need for a regional organisation that can play the role of a catalyst in sharing information and real time data in order to reduce such risks and vulnerabilities.

Reducing scientific uncertainties and knowledge gaps: There is a lack of mountain disaggregated data. Easy availability of accurate socio-economical, environmental and biophysical data is vital for policymakers, resource managers and researchers for sustainable management and allocation of limited natural, human and financial resources for achieving sustainable development. Data generated by national and international institutions in the Mountain region are often of a national nature. There is a need for an agency that can contribute by developing and continuously tracking the trends of key indicators of sustainable development.

Valuing mountain ecosystem services: In the context of green economy, there has to be proper valuation of the role of the Himalayan mountain system as the providers of critical ecosystem goods and services. These values need to be translated into enabling policies and actions to help reorient national and global policies towards Mountain region resulting in increased investment in research, conservation and development. Providing more realistic economic value for these green services is possible through carbon financing tools such as REDD+, PES and other compensation mechanisms. This is expected to provide incentives to the mountain people to sustainably manage and preserve the vital goods and services while enhancing their own livelihoods by practicing sustainable resources management.

Facilitating cross-country learning in sustainable mountain development solutions: The new agenda of the green economy and good environmental governance will require new knowledge, technologies, and capacities. Although institutions have been generating valuable knowledge in the MOUNTAINS, the knowledge has largely been country specific. Regional institutions can play an important role in consolidating this knowledge, bringing in regional perspectives and facilitating cross-boundary learning for promoting multi-disciplinary and integrated approaches that can enhance SMD.

d) Any proposals for refinement of the two themes. Recall that Resolution 64/236 describes the focus of the Conference: "The focus of the Conference will include the following themes to be discussed and refined during the preparatory process: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development".

Green projects are suitable for subsistence economies:
Most of the mountain areas of the HKH region are under subsistence agriculture. Some are more primitive while others have varying degrees modernisation and inroads of the market economy. Nepal and Bhutan, typical mountainous countries, are over 80 per cent rural. Development has come to these areas due to emphasis on specific niche products such as apples, vegetables, rice as well as services and it has come in different scales due to remoteness. In most of the mountain cities and towns development models have been transported from the plains without much regard to mountain specificity and therefore the environmental consequences have been rather devastating, especially in more fragile valleys.

Traditional and low-external-input agriculture systems have potential for organic production:
Mountain areas of the North Eastern States of India and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh have been practicing traditional forms of agriculture called shifting cultivation for centuries that have been blamed for deforestation and environmental degradation. A more sustainable solution is community resource management strategy and policy under which land and tree tenure is assured, access to technical and extension service is improved and communities are allowed to chose the crops, and trees, including agro-forestry practices.
Decentralization and devolution can lead to good governance:
Change in mindset has followed the acceptance by governments of the need to accommodate local developmental aspirations, without suspecting secessionist tendencies, which still exist in parts of mountain areas. These social movements and conflicts are about identity politics, caste and class grievances, and protests against general irresponsiveness to local aspirations. Mountain communities that have been given economic freedom and political autonomy to choose the development path have addressed to SMD goals better as shown by case studies of Community Forestry (Van Panchayats) in Uttarakhand, India and Nepal.  

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Southeast Asia and Pacific (SEAP) mountains, which are spread across two geographic regions ¡V mainland Asia and island/archipelagic states in the Pacific Ocean - form one of the world¡¦s highest but also most severely threatened biodiversity pools. A number of indigenous peoples who are marginalized, poor, and underserved by their respective nation states live in structurally weak and fragile SEAP Mountains even made more vulnerable by increased frequency and intensity of rainfall, extreme temperatures and severe tropical storms. Expanding global population and economic pressures are driving migrant lowland settlers toward SEAP Mountains while extractive companies harness the mountains¡¦ timber, minerals and water resources without giving due share to the local communities. In general, the mountains have not been mainstreamed in the governance of most Southeast Asian countries, which highlight the need for policy reforms to protect social and ecological systems in the mountains, strengthen sustainable development, prevent environmental damage, and improve national and regional food security.

Governments and civil society organizations, international and local donors, and development agencies have played key roles in facilitating development and/or resolving conflicts arising from competing demands on SEAP mountain resources. Lessons learned in addressing conflicts showed that these involve a slow process that is best initiated by creating an environment for dialogs to take place. Toward this end, stakeholders must be capacitated on collaborative negotiations and non-adversarial communication skills to enable them to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogs that strive for win-win solutions and aim to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run. Improving governance, meeting the economic needs of the people, and making them more self-reliant through proper education avert conflicts that border on terrorism in remote regions of SEAP Mountains.

People in the SEAP Mountains need to take charge of development of the welfare of their communities and the mountains in partnership with civil society, particularly for advocacy and building public support for mountain-specific policies and development approaches. Partnerships need to be forged with the private sector based on corporate social responsibility initiatives to provide innovative, simple technological and market solutions to livelihoods problems in the mountains following low carbon or green growth pathways. Specifically, private sector support can be directed for empowering mountain stakeholders with community-based technologies and for developing business skills. Product value chains through cooperative efforts among the primary producers and private businesses can result in reasonable returns on their investments for both the mountain people and downstream commercial enterprises. Ecotourism can be promoted to help generate income in mountain communities and among indigenous peoples as strategies, to counter violent conflicts and finance mountain conservation and sustainable development.

Participatory action research that takes into account local good practices and indigenous knowledge are needed to determine carrying capacity of mountains and for implementing plans and measures for adapting to and mitigating the worsening impacts of climate change and unregulated human activities on mountain resources. There is growing awareness on the benefits provided by the SEAP Mountains in terms of ecosystem goods and services. Increasing frequency of mountainoriginated disasters both in the uplands and lowlands has raised policy level awareness for integrated approaches. Combining the increased awareness, with traditional and scientific knowledge will help improve sustainability in resource use by creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder participation that can address pressing mountain issues and challenges. Effective participation of communities in mountain governance ¡V supported by enabling policies ¡V can pave the way for sustainable mountain resource management practices, and help end pervasive poverty in the uplands through carefully-planned and community-controlled, human development initiatives. In summary, this report advocates:

? Developing good governance mechanisms that account for unique characteristics and wealth of mountains and meet needs and aspirations of mountain people in reducing poverty and conserving the region¡¦s once-rich biodiversity through sustainable development approaches.

? Assisting mountain communities in negotiation and collaborative dialogues for resolving conflicts and enabling them to participate in sustainable mountain development activities in collaboration with government, civil society, donors and the private sector.

? Strengthening research by combining traditional practices and scientific knowledge for developing actionable plans for implementing with the meaningful participation of stakeholders both in the mountains and downstream.

? Consolidating international and national funding mechanisms and resources for financing sustainable development programmes and achieving well being of mountain people.

Executive Summary

Mountains of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) have abundant natural resources and unique landscapes that provide valuable ecosystem goods and services for livelihoods. However, the harsh terrain and lack of enabling institutional framework and policies pose major challenges to sustainable mountain development. The region includes four global biodiversity hotspots, 330 important bird areas, and 60 global eco-regions. The 488 protected areas in the HKH provide vital ecosystem goods and services to more than 1.5 billion people in the uplands and the lowlands. The greater Himalayas ? the water tower of Asia ? is source of 10 major river systems that provide the vital resources such as water, food, biodiversity and energy for a large number of people in countries of the region, including India and China ? two fast growing economies.

The region is home to more than 40 per cent of the World?s poor and is also ranked as being at "extreme" risk from climate change. Progressive warming at higher altitudes has been three to five times the global average. The region has witnessed increased snow and glacial melt and frequency of extreme events that have exacerbated livelihood risks including poverty, food insecurity, hazards and social inequity. Climate-induced changes have not only made it difficult for mountain countries to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but also threaten to slow down or even reverse the progress achieved so far. The HKH countries face frequent food and energy crises and growing social and political unrest while climate impacts have shrunk development space. Progress on past global commitments to sustainable development remains largely unfulfilled.

The Rio+20 conference is an opportunity for the HKH region to take stock of progress made towards meeting the Sustainable Mountain Development goals defined in Agenda 21/Chapter 13. This report assesses constraints and opportunities in three major areas: environmental quality, economic development, and social equity. It examines community-level progress by studying people-centric, vertically integrated, and participatory efforts made since Rio?92. It reviews policies, legal instruments, and programmes that aimed at benefitting mountain people and highlights the opportunities for transforming to a green economy. Both upstream-downstream relations and benefit sharing mechanisms needed for sustaining resource flows and maintaining ecosystem goods and services for driving the green economy are examined in terms of linking incentivised producers of ecosystem services with both local and distant markets.

The report includes learning from 10 specifically commissioned case studies on sustainable development programmes in forestry, watershed management, agriculture, clean energy, eco- tourism, biodiversity, and community development. The studies indicate that biogas and micro hydro for clean energy, community-based approaches for managing natural resources, eco-tourism for equitable income distribution, organic agriculture and watershed management for enhancing and sustaining productivity of ecosystem goods and services, are some of the best practices that can help achieve sustainable goals.

The report also captures the insights of hundreds of stakeholders on the Green Economy and Institutional Framework ? two agenda items of Rio+20 conference. The general consensus is that these concepts were defined somewhere else and passed down to stakeholders and therefore lack clarity from a mountain perspective, and need elaboration to suit mountain specificities ? fragility, marginality, inaccessibility, and richness of niche ecosystem products and services. There is also an agreement on the need to look beyond Rio+20 and come up with actionable programmes and concrete proposals for embarking on the green growth and environmental governance pathways focusing on ecosystem management, water resources, biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction as key themes. This would require investment by national and global agencies in creating green jobs through green projects, and policy reforms to incentivise agriculture, natural resources and enterprise development sectors facilitated by enabling policies, knowledge sharing, regional cooperation, environmental governance and substantial and dependable support from the global community.

To sum up, the HKH report calls for:

? Adapting and developing good governance systems for the HKH Mountains taking into account their unique characteristics as `water towers? and biodiversity hotspots for addressing poverty reduction and enhancing human well being.

? Reducing increased vulnerabilities and risk of HKH mountain ecosystems and linking adaptation and resilience-building plans to sustainable development to create green jobs and develop green infrastructures.

? Empowering and assisting mountain communities to gain fair access to and benefits from ecosystem goods and resources they have been safeguarding as the primary stakeholders.

? Providing enabling conditions and incentives for investment through public-private ventures with appropriate funding mechanisms and technological support for enhancing wellbeing and reducing disparities.

? Strengthening national and regional institutions to facilitate upstream-downstream exchanges, trans-boundary cooperation, capacity building, and generating and disseminating knowledge, technical expertise and information for promoting SMD, and

? Consolidating all new and existing funding mechanisms related to Climate Change, Biodiversity, and MDGs for adequately funding SMD actions in vulnerable and least developed mountain countries and regions.

Kathmandu Declaration on Green

Economy and Sustainable Mountain

Development

7 September 2011, Kathmandu, Nepal

Preamble

Following the invitation of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 120 participants including scientists, development practitioners, policy makers, and civil society and private sector representatives met in Kathmandu from 5 to 7 September 2011 to deliberate on the role of mountains in green economy. Recalling the recognition of the importance of mountains at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 through adoption of Chapter 13 in Agenda 21, and realising the need to revisit the mountain agenda in the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 (commonly called Rio +20), the participants put forward the following declaration.1 Declaration Recognising that: -  mountain systems support about half of the earth?s human population by providing numerous goods and services including fresh water, food, life-saving medicinal herbs, energy, rich biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, as well as cultural diversity;

-  global drivers of change such as growing human population, increasing urbanisation, industrialisation, globalisation, other socioeconomic changes, and climate change put increasing pressure on the available natural resources of the world and the mountains in particular;

-  mountain ecosystem goods and services have therefore to respond to an increasing demand, while prevailing policies have not adequately prepared mountain populations and regions for the new challenges, and global dynamics create strong externalities for mountainous areas;

-  mountain communities are characterised by their resilience, and their adaptation efforts have produced promising solutions relevant not only locally but also to the global community at large;

- promoting the sustainability of mountain ecosystems and services for future generations   and for the continued prosperity of both upstream and downstream areas requires targeted actions and the concerted efforts of local, national, regional, and global institutions, calling for a joint effort of all sectors of society;

- the call for a low carbon economy has the potential to strengthen sustainable mountain   development and help to create the conditions necessary for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in mountain areas;

- mountain economies are characterised by their low carbon footprint and by their potential to   contribute low-carbon products to the local and global markets;

- however, the low carbon footprint is accompanied by a high incidence of poverty;   the participants formulate the following recommendations. General

 - The Rio+20 conference should recognise the contribution of mountain systems and their ecosystem goods and services to a green economy, sustainable development, and human wellbeing and should set principles and policies for global, regional, and national actions in support of sustainable mountain development.

 - Considering the increasing importance of mountain ecosystems for downstream communities, the high incidence of poverty and unequal access to resources in mountain areas, the growing vulnerability of upstream and downstream populations, and the threats to the availability of mountain ecosystem services, global stakeholders should revisit the criteria of the mountain agenda and Chapter 13.

 - International organisations and national governments are implored to favour policies and all possible efforts to strengthen the efforts of mountain communities to ensure a continued availability of fresh water, biodiversity (including agrobiodiversity), cultural diversity, and space for tourism, recreation, and spiritual renewal, as well as to cope with the consequences of climate and environmental change.

Recognition, valuation and capture of benefits deriving from mountains

-  More focused research, reliable data and information, dissemination of positive experiences, applicable knowledge, and good practices, and systematic efforts to create awareness among grassroots communities, civil society, and government institutions are required.

-  Considering the ecological, economic, and cultural diversity of the global mountain systems, regional centres of excellence and knowledge should be created and strengthened.

-  Approaches to green economy in mountains shall be designed according to local conditions and must be context appropriate, taking into account mountain specificities such as environmental fragility, vulnerability, and low economies of scale.

Appropriate policy frameworks

-  International efforts to include the use and value of natural resources in gross domestic product (GDP) are commended and should be adopted at the national level.   Concrete mechanisms, customised for mountain areas, must be promoted at the global, national, and local levels to reward and compensate mountain communities for conservation and provision of ecosystem services.

 - Governments should create incentives and provide support for market-driven investments and flow of financial resources (including remittances) for low-carbon production and sustainable development in mountains.

-  Development of services for mountains (e.g., knowledge, technology, business development, and infrastructure) should be low carbon, environment friendly, and mountain adapted.   International organisations, intergovernmental organisations, and the private sector should contribute to the promotion of niche products and services of mountains through mechanisms such as mountain branding, labelling, and standards.

 - Approaches must be promoted to improve markets for ecosystem services, to simplify processes of international instruments such as REDD+, and to develop and improve methods for valuation of environmental services.

-  The transboundary aspects of mountain ecosystem services call for regional cooperation, collaborative institutional partnerships, and a strengthening of upstream-downstream linkages.

Ensuring equity

 - Promotion of green economy in mountains needs to be based on equitable access to resources and property rights, inclusive growth, and ensuring that benefits reach poor people including Women, men, and children, indigenous people, and ethnic minorities.

 - Marginalised groups must have a role in resource governance and a voice in decision making.

 - Traditional knowledge and practices need to be documented, evaluated, and built upon to solve problems at the local level and beyond, and to conserve and develop mountain ecosystem services.

 - A dynamic green economy and society must be supported so that mountains become attractive to youth and to emigrants from the mountains.

Sustainable Mountain Development

Draft Regional Report Hindu Kush ? Himalaya

prepared for the Lucerne World Mountain Conference 10-12 October 2011

From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond

HKH Region Rio+20 Assessment Report

DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION

From Rio 1992 to 2012 and beyond:

Sustainable Mountain Development

Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Region

The report aims to provide an overview and assessment of trends, issues, and challenges for promoting sustainable mountain development in the HKH region highlighting progress made since 1992, and encapsulating the lessons learned in key areas. It covers all the three pillars of sustainable development and scopes the opportunities in the two themes of Rio+20 conferences ? Green Economy and Institutional Framework for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) a participant in the Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC) provided financial support for carrying out this study. The views expressed in this document are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect views of their organisations or that of the SDC.

By:

Madhav Karki, ICIMOD

Sudhirendar Sharma, Consultant

Tek Mahat, ICIMOD

Sanam Aksha, ICIMOD

Amulya Tuladhar, Consultant

and 14 Case study authors:

Amrit Bdr. Karki, Binita Shah, Izhar Hunzai, Dhrupad Choudhury, Sudhirendar Sharma, Syed Mahmood Nasir, RS Tolia, Pushkin Phartiyal, Gopal Rawat, Prabhu Budhathoki, Nakul Chhetri, Sanam Aksha and Basudev Upadhyaya

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Kathmandu, Nepal

From Rio 1992 to 2012 and beyond: Sustainable Mountain Development Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Region

Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations ..............................................................................................................4
Executive Summary..............................................................................................................................7
PART I: Setting the satge
1.0 HKH mountain ecosystem goods and services .......................................................................9
1.1 Overview.................................................................................................................................9 1.1.1 Water ¡V the lifeline of the people....................................................................................9
1.1.2 Biodiversity: the source for food, nutrition, fibre, and medicine....................................9
1.1.3 Ecosystem services .........................................................................................................9
1.1.4 Cultural services............................................................................................................10
1.2 Key physical characteristics of the HKH Mountains............................................................10
1.2.1 `Water tower of Asia¡¦: The 10 river basins of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region.....11
1.2.2 Geographic features of the HKH Mountains ...............................................................12
1.2.3 River basin areas of the HKH.......................................................................................12
1.3 Trends in the HKH region over the last 20 years..................................................................13
1.3.1 Demographic changes...................................................................................................13
1.3.2 Globalisation and economic liberalization....................................................................15
1.3.3 Political changes and democratization movement ........................................................17
1.4 Climate change as a major driver of change .........................................................................18
1.4.1 Biophysical implications of climate change .................................................................18
1.4.2 Implications on biodiversity and land use.....................................................................19
1.4.3 Implication on Ecosystem Goods and Services ............................................................20
1.4.4 Impacts on the Rangelands ...........................................................................................21
1.5 Community movement in natural resources management ....................................................22
1.6 Information and communication technologies (ICTs) ..........................................................23
1.7 Expansion of eco-tourism.....................................................................................................23
1.8 Major policy and legal reforms.............................................................................................25
1.9 Harnessing the potential of water resources..........................................................................26
1.10 Emergence of major socio-political conflicts .......................................................................26
1.11 Major activities in promoting the Mountain Agenda............................................................27
1.12 Poverty reduction measures and successes ...........................................................................27
1.13 Growing urbanisation and high labour migration .................................................................28
1.14 Growing awareness and importance of indigenous and traditional knowledge....................29
1.15 Regime changes and social movements towards good governance......................................29
1.16 Emergence of China and India as an economic power .........................................................30
PART II: Progress of changes in the HKH region since 1992

2.1 Assessment objectives, methods and activities.....................................................................32
2.2 Overview of the Sustainable Mountain Development efforts in the HKH region ................33
2.2.1a. Van Panchayats or Community-managed forestry, Uttarakhand, India........................34
2.2.1b. Community forestry and good forest governance in Nepal ..........................................36
2.2.1c. Forest Watershed CDM, Himachal Pradesh, India .......................................................38
2.2.1d. Securing livelihoods and natural resource management through community empowerment: The Experience of Natural Resource Management Groups of NERCORMP.....39
2.2.1e. Watershed Management in Pakistan ¡V an adaptation and Sustainable Development practice .......................................................................................................................................41
2.2.2 Conservation and Development of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Uttarakhand, India .......................................................................................................................................42
2.2.3 Transboundary Eco-tourism in Eastern Himalaya: A case of Sikkim (India) and Bhutan .......................................................................................................................................43
HKH Region Rio+20 Assessment Report
2.2.4 Organic Agriculture in Uttarakhand ¡V a green solution for mountain agriculture ........44
2.2.5a. Case Study on Nepal¡¦s Bio-Gas Programme ¡V Opportunities for Green Economy and Sustainable Mountain Development Goals ..................................................................................45
2.2.5b. Micro-hydro Energy Development in Northern Pakistan .............................................46
2.3 Major institutions and networks launched or strengthened...................................................47
2.4 Social and gender equity and inclusion.................................................................................48
2.5 Food security situation in the region.....................................................................................49
2.6 Analysis of initiatives: challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, links to Rio+20 ............51
2.6.1 Frame conditions for the analysis of progress in SMD.................................................51
2.6.2 Analysis of the case study findings in the context of SMD..........................................52
2.6.3 Major learning from the case studies ............................................................................53
2.6.4 Finding a balance among the three pillars of sustainable development........................54
2.6.5 What has worked and what has not...............................................................................56
2.7 Progress in poverty reduction, social and environmental sectors ...................................59

PART III: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable mountain development
3.0 General overview...............................................................................................................60
3.1 Emerging trends and opportunities for sustainable mountain development......................60
3.1.1 Building on the success stories and learning from the failures .....................................61
3.1.2 Scope for Green Economy for sustainable development and poverty reduction ..........61
3.2 Green Economy: Driving factors and key issues for the HKH Mountains.........................63
3.2.1 Green Economy: opportunities.......................................................................................63
3.2.2 Green Economy: challenges...........................................................................................63
3.3 Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) ............................................64
3.3.1 Key challenges for institutional strengthening for SMD ..............................................64
3.3.2 Role of research-based knowledge and information.....................................................64
3.4 Role of technology and technical capacity building .........................................................65
3.5 Opportunities for social and gender equity and inclusion.................................................65
3.6 Role of regional institution for sustainable development of the HKH Mountains..............66
3.6.1 Overview.......................................................................................................................66
3.6.2 Promoting the mountain agenda globally .....................................................................66
3.6.3 Facilitating regional cooperation...................................................................................66
3.6.4 Facilitating information and knowledge sharing for disaster risk reduction and resilience building .................................................................................................................66
3.6.5 Reducing scientific uncertainties and knowledge gaps...............................................66
3.6.6 Valuing mountain ecosystem services ........................................................................67
3.6.7 Facilitating cross-country learning in sustainable mountain development solutions....67
3.6.8 Accessing and customizing global knowledge for the HKH region .............................67
3.6.9 Networking and building partnerships..........................................................................67
3.7 Conclusions......................................................................................................................67
References.............................................................................................................................71
Annexes¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K.¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K78



Executive Summary

Mountains of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) have abundant natural resources and unique landscapes that provide valuable ecosystem goods and services for livelihoods. However, the harsh terrain and lack of enabling institutional framework and policies pose major challenges to sustainable mountain development. The region includes four global biodiversity hotspots, 330 important bird areas, and 60 global eco-regions. The 488 protected areas in the HKH provide vital ecosystem goods and services to more than 1.5 billion people in the uplands and the lowlands. The greater Himalayas ? the water tower of Asia ? is source of 10 major river systems that provide the vital resources such as water, food, biodiversity and energy for a large number of people in countries of the region, including India and China ? two fast growing economies.

The region is home to more than 40 per cent of the World?s poor and is also ranked as being at "extreme" risk from climate change. Progressive warming at higher altitudes has been three to five times the global average. The region has witnessed increased snow and glacial melt and frequency of extreme events that have exacerbated livelihood risks including poverty, food insecurity, hazards and social inequity. Climate-induced changes have not only made it difficult for mountain countries to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but also threaten to slow down or even reverse the progress achieved so far. The HKH countries face frequent food and energy crises and growing social and political unrest while climate impacts have shrunk development space. Progress on past global commitments to sustainable development remains largely unfulfilled.

The Rio+20 conference is an opportunity for the HKH region to take stock of progress made towards meeting the Sustainable Mountain Development goals defined in Agenda 21/Chapter 13. This report assesses constraints and opportunities in three major areas: environmental quality, economic development, and social equity. It examines community-level progress by studying people-centric, vertically integrated, and participatory efforts made since Rio?92. It reviews policies, legal instruments, and programmes that aimed at benefitting mountain people and highlights the opportunities for transforming to a green economy. Both upstream-downstream relations and benefit sharing mechanisms needed for sustaining resource flows and maintaining ecosystem goods and services for driving the green economy are examined in terms of linking incentivised producers of ecosystem services with both local and distant markets.

The report includes learning from 10 specifically commissioned case studies on sustainable development programmes in forestry, watershed management, agriculture, clean energy, eco- tourism, biodiversity, and community development. The studies indicate that biogas and micro hydro for clean energy, community-based approaches for managing natural resources, eco- tourism for equitable income distribution, organic agriculture and watershed management for enhancing and sustaining productivity of ecosystem goods and services, are some of the best practices that can help achieve sustainable goals.

The report also captures the insights of hundreds of stakeholders on the Green Economy and Institutional Framework ? two agenda items of Rio+20 conference. The general consensus is that these concepts were defined somewhere else and passed down to stakeholders and therefore lack clarity from a mountain perspective, and need elaboration to suit mountain specificities ? fragility, marginality, inaccessibility, and richness of niche ecosystem products and services. There is also an agreement on the need to look beyond Rio+20 and come up with actionable programmes and concrete proposals for embarking on the green growth and environmental governance pathways focusing on ecosystem management, water resources, biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction as key themes. This would require investment by national and global agencies in creating green jobs through green projects, and policy reforms to incentivise agriculture, natural resources and enterprise development sectors facilitated by enabling policies, knowledge sharing, regional cooperation, environmental governance and substantial and dependable support from the global community.

To sum up, the HKH report calls for:

? Adapting and developing good governance systems for the HKH Mountains taking into account their unique characteristics as `water towers? and biodiversity hotspots for addressing poverty reduction and enhancing human well being.

? Reducing increased vulnerabilities and risk of HKH mountain ecosystems and linking adaptation and resilience-building plans to sustainable development to create green jobs and develop green infrastructures.

? Empowering and assisting mountain communities to gain fair access to and benefits from ecosystem goods and resources they have been safeguarding as the primary stakeholders.

? Providing enabling conditions and incentives for investment through public-private ventures with appropriate funding mechanisms and technological support for enhancing wellbeing and reducing disparities.

? Strengthening national and regional institutions to facilitate upstream-downstream exchanges, trans-boundary cooperation, capacity building, and generating and disseminating knowledge, technical expertise and information for promoting SMD, and

? Consolidating all new and existing funding mechanisms related to Climate Change, Biodiversity, and MDGs for adequately funding SMD actions in vulnerable and least developed mountain countries and regions.

PART I: Setting the stage

1.0 HKH mountain ecosystem goods and services

1.1 Overview

The Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region are rich in natural resources, including an abundance of water, biodiversity, scenic landscapes, steep heights and deep gorges, and fragile but diverse ecosystems and fertile valleys that provide a bundle of ecosystem goods and services. The HKH is the source of 10 of Asia?s major river systems. It includes all or part of four global biodiversity hotspots, 330 important bird areas, two mega-diversity countries (India and China), and 60 eco-regions of which 12 are among the global 200 eco-regions. The 488 protected areas cover 39 per cent of the HKH region. The mountains in the HKH provide fresh water and ecosystem goods and services to more than 210 million mountain people and close to 1.3 billion people living in the plains downstream. The river basins are an important source of water, food, biodiversity and energy. However, recent climatic changes and warming have been threatening these mountain ecosystems, including fresh water, high elevation biota including forests, agro-biodiversity, and range and pasture ecosystems. The following section discusses major ecosystem goods and services of the HKH region.

1.1.1 Water ? the lifeline of the people

Water and water cycle are the most important ecosystem goods and the services the HKH region provides to downstream populations and the rest of the earth. This is why they have been referred to as the ?water tower of Asia? for the lowlands (Viviroli 2007; UNEP-WCMC 2002). The 10 major rivers originating in the HKH region provide fresh water to about 1.5 billion people. The rivers also supply water for irrigation. Recent estimates on the extent of ice and snow in the mountains of the HKH region is about 60,000 sq. km. Besides, the region also has a large number of fresh water lakes and groundwater.

1.1.2 Biodiversity: the source for food, nutrition, fibre, and medicine

The HKH Mountains are a treasure trove of biological and agricultural diversity including food, fibre and medicinal plants. The region is rich in medicinal and aromatic plants, different types of mushrooms, fibres such as cashmere, and mountain crops such as amaranths, buckwheat and different types of millet that are in great demand in downstream and global markets. The mountains are also sources of different types of timber, firewood fruits, vegetables, forage plants, and non-timber forest products that support downstream economies. Similarly, the vast and diverse gene pool especially wild relatives of important crops found in the HKH region are important resources for humanity.

1.1.3 Ecosystem services

Besides supporting livelihood in the mountains and downstream the HKH region provides support a healthy and safe environment and climate. For example, the mountains play a vital role in natural water purification and water retention in the form of groundwater, ice, and snow as well as in lakes, forested watersheds and streams. Mountain ranges are also responsible for atmospheric and climate regulation and modulate the climate beyond their geographical boundaries. For example, the cryospheric environment comprising of `water-ice-air-ecosystem-human? systems in the HKH is believed to influence and respond to the global and regional environmental change processes and mechanisms including the Asian monsoon systems (TPE/CAS 2010). Mountain soils are important reservoirs for water and carbon as well as nutrients that enhance soil fertility in the valleys, and downstream. Mountain forests (28% of the world?s forests) are highly relevant as protective shields natural hazards and they help ensure slope stability and prevent or reduce erosion, landslides, and avalanches. Mountain forests, especially in the tropics, have high genetic diversity and serve as important as wildlife habitats. Together with highland wetlands, mountain forests play a significant role in biospheric carbon storage (IPCC 2007b). The predominant land use of the HKH region is forest, range and shrub lands and therefore has a major role in carbon storage

1.1.4 Cultural services

Mountain areas support high diversity of cultures. Many of these cultures have rich traditional agricultural knowledge that promotes sustainable production systems. However, these lifestyles are severely threatened, (The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2002) by climate and other changes that are taking place globally. For many of these cultures, mountains play an important spiritual role: they are living forces, sources of power and symbols of the sacred (Bernbaum 1997). Additionally, the mountains and many aspects of the cultures of the people attract tourists, who in turn can contribute towards improving local livelihoods. Every year thousands tourists from downstream areas and all over the world visit the unique HKH landscape for rest, recreation and relief from the unbearable summer heat and urban pollution.

1.2 Key physical characteristics of the HKH Mountains

The HKH region, which is also known as the greater Himalayan region or ?the roof of the World? extends from 15.95º to 39.31º N latitudes and 60.85º to 105.04º E longitudes. It encompasses mountains of eight South and East Asian countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, from west to east. The region has extensive, rugged, and enchanting high altitude landscapes and the largest areas covered by glaciers and permafrost outside the Polar Regions, and are often also referred to as the `Third Pole?. The HKH including the Tibetan plateau region plays a significant role in global atmospheric circulation that influences two major weather systems: monsoon and the Westerly as shown in the figure below (Figure 1). It is a geo- morphologically unique region in that the mighty Himalayas act as the geological buffer protecting the lush green south slopes from the dry and arid winds of the north thus supporting a unique mosaic of several biota and eco-regions.

Figure 1: The role of HKH Mountains as atmospheric and climatic modulators and ?water tower? (UNDESA: Please Reference Full Submission for Figure)

Largely these weather systems together with the massive heights of the HKH Mountains define the nature and extent of biodiversity, forest, agriculture, human settlements and hydropower potential as well as diverse range of industrial raw materials extracted from the region for industrial uses and export to the market worldwide (Eriksson & Jianchu 2009).

1.2.1 `Water tower of Asia?: The 10 river basins of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region

The geographic qualifier 'Hindu Kush-Himalaya' is not very precise. The region extends 3,500 km over all or parts of eight countries from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east and is the source of 10 major Asian river systems -? the Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra (Yarlungtsanpo), Irrawaddy, Salween (Nu), Mekong (Lancang), Yangtse (Jinsha), Yellow River (Huanghe), and Tarim (Dayan). These rivers provide water, ecosystem services, and the basis for livelihoods to about 210.5 million people (see Figure 2). People living in the basins of these rivers directly depend on the water mainly for irrigation, drinking, sanitation, and industrial uses (Jianchu et al 2009). The river water also recharges and nurtures some of the richest ecosystems and farmlands in the world (ICIMOD 2009).

Figure 2. The ten river basins of the HKH region (UNDESA: Please Reference Full Submission for Figure)

The Himalayan range alone has the snow and ice cover of 35,110 sq.km containing 3,735 cu. km. of eternal snow and ice (Qin 2002). The total snow and ice cover for the HKH region is about 60,000 sq. km. (ICIMOD 2011). Hills and mountains, particularly the HKH mountain system, have been the sites of adaptation, mitigation, and resilience of the local people. Since time immemorial, they have maintained a rich cultural identity, food security and biogenetic diversity within the parameters of their own traditions.

1.2.2 Geographic features of the HKH Mountains

The HKH region spreads over 3.44 million sq. km. and has a population of around 210.5 million (ICIMOD 2009).

Table 1. HKH regional area (Total estimated area: 3,441,719 sq.km)

Estimated Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan China India Myanmar Nepal Pakistan
HKH component (sq.km)* 390,475 13,189 38,394 1,647,725 482,920 317,640 147,181 404,195
% Proportion of country 60% 9% 100% 17% 14% 47% 100% 51%

Source: Sharma. P, Pratap. T., 1994, Population, Poverty, and Development issues in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, Development of Poor Mountain Areas, ICIMOD

* Estimate based on earlier definitions of the HKH region, which is smaller than the area used for estimating population.

1.2.3 River basin areas of the HKH

Different authors have reported different areas for the HKH region. The tables below reports 4.193 million sq. km. and the total area of river basins is. 8.99 million sq. km. of which 2.79 million sq. km. lie within the HKH region (Tables 2 and Figure 3)

Table 2: Area of 10 major basins of HKH region derived from Albers and UTM projections

S.N. Basins Area in km2
TEN Major River Basins TEN Major River Basins within the HKH
UTM Albers Differences (Albers - UTM) UTM Albers Differences (Albers - UTM)
km2 % km2 %
1 Amudarya 645726 645895 169 0.026 166686 166714 28 0.017
2 Indus 1116086 1116347 261 0.023 555450 555595 145 0.026
3 Ganga 1001019 1001087 68 0.007 244806 244857 51 0.021
4 Brahmaputra 529447 529449 2 0.000 433842 433855 13 0.003
5 Irrawady 426501 426393 -108 -0.025 202745 202769 24 0.012
6 Salween 363778 363898 120 0.033 211122 211205 83 0.039
7 Mekong 841322 841337 15 0.002 138876 138908 32 0.023
8 Yangste 2065763 2066050 288 0.014 565102 565162 60 0.011
9 Yellow River 1073168 1073443 276 0.026 250540 250574 33 0.013
10 Tarim 929003 929254 252 0.027 26729 26738 9 0.035
11 Total 8991813 8993153 1340 0.015 2795898 2796377 479 0.017

Note: - Details of projection parameters and technical literatures are available at MENRIS Division, ICIMOD.

Figure 3. Major basin boundaries in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (ICIMOD, 2011) (UNDESA: Please Reference Full Submission for Figure)

1.3 Trends in the HKH region over the last 20 years

1.3.1 Demographic changes

Birth and death rates in Europe have shifted from very high to very low over the last 2-3 centuries. This model of demographic change seems useful to understand global population change including those of developing countries, albeit with some modifications. One such modification is the quicker rate of demographic change in developing countries starting only half a century ago. For remote mountain areas of the HKH, this change began much later, only a few decades before 1992. The more remote the area, the longer the time lag for major demographic shifts due to the extreme weather and harsh terrains that make life extremely difficult.

The change has been much faster than that in developed countries, primarily due to the easier access to knowledge and technology and the spread of information and communication technologies. However, all changes have not been positive. While the problems of malnutrition and high child mortality rates have not been fully addressed, there has been good progress in education, public service and communications.

Table 3. Population estimates for the HKH region (Total mountain population: 210.53 million)

Estimated Population Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan China India Myanmar Nepal Pakistan
millions 28.48 (2) 1.33 (3) 0.71 (1) 29.48 (4) 72.36 (5) 11.01 (2) 27.8 (1) 39.36 (2)
Density (per sq.km) 73 100 15 17 150 34 189 97

Sources: (1) Population Reference Bureau, 2007 World Population Data Sheet. (2) Estimated based on data and information from Population Reference Bureau, 2007 World Population Data Sheet and Banskota, m. 2004. The Hindu Kush-Himalayas: Searching for Viable Socioeconomic and Environmental Options, pp. 57-105, In: Banskota et al. (eds.) Growth, Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Resource Management in the Mountain Areas of South Asia, ICIMOD, and Nepal (3) Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2004. (4) China Population Information and Research Centre (CPIRC) :( accessed on 5 June, 2008). (5) Census of India, Population Projection, 2007.

[HKH region and adjacent mountain areas include: Afghanistan ? all provinces except Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Farah, and Herat; Bangladesh ? Chittagong Hill Tracts; Bhutan ? whole country; China ? parts of Yunnan (Diqing, Nujiang, Dali prefectures), Sichuan (Ganzi, Aba, Liangshan prefectures), Gansu (Gannan, Wuwei, Zhangye prefectures), Xinjiang (Kashigar, Kezilesu, Hetian, Altai prefectures), whole of Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai; India ? the 11 mountain states (Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand; Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura) and Darjeeling district of West Bengal; Myanmar ? the states of Kachin, Chin, Shan and Rakkhain; Nepal ? whole country; Pakistan ? North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Northern Areas, Ajad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and 12 districts of Baluchistan]

The population growth rates have been mixed with high birth and death rates. The growth rate is higher in urban areas (Kathmandu city in Nepal has experienced one of the highest rates of 6.8% per annum) and this is associated with conflict and high remittances. Almost all the mountain areas of the HKH are subsistence agricultural economies, some very primitive while others have varying degrees of modernisation and influences of the market economy. Typically, most mountain areas are predominantly rural. The total population of the HKH member countries is 1.81 billion ? almost one third of the global population with an average annual growth of two per cent. Afghanistan has the highest growth rate and China the lowest. China has the best indicators of human and economic development except the Gini coefficient, where Bangladesh as well Nepal fare better (Table 5).

Table 4. Basic socio-economic including demographic data for HKH countries

Countries Total Population 1992 (in 1000s) Total Population 2009 (in 1000s) Pop. anual growth rate 2000 - 2009 (in %) Life Expectancy at Birth (in years) 2009 Human Development Index (HDI) 2010 (Out of 169 countries) Gender Inequality Index (GII) 2008 (out of 138 countries) Multidimensional Poverty Index (MDI) 2000-2008 (out of 118 countries) Gini coefficient of income inequality 2000-2010 Pop. Below intl. Income Poverty line (PPP US$1, 1.25/day, 1994-2008 %) Adult Literacy Rate 2005-2008 (%)
Afghanistan 14,572 28,150 3.9 44 155 134 104 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Bangladesh 120,613 144,660 1.4 (2008) 67 (2008) 129 116 80 47 (2005) 50 59 (2008)
Bhutan 537 697 2.7 66 (2009) n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 26 53
China 1,172,199 1,345,751 0.8 73 89 38 n.a. 41.5 (2007) 16 94
India 898,410 1,198,003 1.7 64 (2009) 119 122 71 36.8 42 63
Myanmar 42,085 50020 0.9 62 132 n.a. 0.088 (Value) n.a. n.a. 92
Nepal 20.068 29,331 2.3 67 (2009) 138 110 88 47.3 55 58
Pakistan 121,698 180,808 2.5 67 125 112 76 31.2 23 54

Source: UNICEF 2011 http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/china_statistics.html http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/MMR.html;

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html

1.3.2 Globalisation and economic liberalization

Globalisation and economic liberalisation have been major factors in the economic transformation of India, Pakistan, and China (Kemal 2004). The global economy has also undergone profound changes over the last 15 years. The most spectacular change has taken place in China and India. China is likely to become the second biggest economy in the world by 2016, and India the third largest by 2035 (Kaplinsky and Messner 2008). With growing economic leverage, China and India are in a position to play a major role in the global economic, technological, and political arenas and will influence the ??rules of the game?? in international trade and other aspects of the global political economy. Kaplinsky and Messner (2008: 197) said, ?The rise of China and India as global economic and political powers is one of the most important transformative processes of our time - challenging the international political economy dominated by the ??transatlantic West. It is likely to remain significant for many years to come?. Similarly, in Global Economic Prospects: Managing the Next Wave of Globalization the World Bank (2007a) has predicted that ?in the next 25 years the growth in the global economy will be powered by the developing countries, whose share in global output will increase from about one-fifth of the global economy to nearly one-third?. The publication argues that China and some countries of South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, will be the future drivers of the global economy. Table 6 indicates economic asymmetry of the HKH countries (Rahman and Amin 2009). Further, the emergence of Asian drivers has created both opportunities and challenges for both developing and developed countries. It is necessary to understand the complexities and dynamism of the economies of the HKH countries in order to promote trans-border economic cooperation in the region. Table 7 below provides a snapshot of the HKH macro economy.

Table 5: Pattern of intraregional trade (% annual growth) in BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar) sub-region

Country 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007
Bangladesh 2.80 1.79 1.08 1.96 2.39 8.06 24.62 18.16 27.82 29.49
China 0.96 1.35 1.19 1.61 2.39 0.40 0.45 0.66 153 1.58
India 1.78 4.14 3.91 8.36 10.41 0.57 3.05 3.39 7.74 10.98
Myanmar 19.10 23.88 14.97 19.64 22.15 20.98 30.11 19.73 32.27 37.21
BCIM as a whole 1.37 1.91 1.86 3.04 4.40 0.96 1.45 1.89 3.15 4.07

Note: Export (FOB) and import (CIF) (Source, IMF, 2008 as quoted by Rehman and Al Amin)

Table 6: Macroeconomic data of the HKH countries, 2006 (Source: Rahman and Al Amin 2009)

Indicator Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan China India Myanmar Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka
GDP (US$ billions) 2.96 65.42 0.70 2095.95 703.33 8.80 6.70 100.89 21.27
Per capita GDP (in US $) 143.00 419.41 1086.34 1597.77 633.74 174.00 242.48 634.50 1069.66
GDP growth (in %) 6.50 6.63 8.47 10.70 9.20 2.90 2.80 6.92 7.35
Share of GDP (in %) Agriculture 32.60 19.61 22.34 11.71 17.53 50.00 34.36 19.39 16.46
Industry 27.80 17.21 7.37 48.48 16.28 35.00 7.68 19.47 13.93
Services 39.60 52.48 39.77 39.91 54.58 15.00 49.31 53.41 56.47
International trade - GDP NA 44.22 76.79 72.39 48.78 NA 45.29 38.61 74.78

Constraints to Cross-Border Trade in HKH Region: Although South Asian countries and China have made significant progress in integrating with the global economy, integration within the region has remained limited (World Bank 2007b). South Asian countries have consistently maintained greater level of protection than that in other regions. This has actually negated other comparative and competitive advantages such as common geography and low production costs. Consequently, South Asia has remained the least integrated region in the world. Besides, geo-politics and restrictive trade policies, there are several other factors constraining cross-border regional economic cooperation. Some of the key constraints are explained in the following sections.

Political Issues: Political differences due to unsettled boundary disputes and other geo-political interests have seriously affected efforts to foster regional economic cooperation in South Asia. As result the region, despite the huge development potential, has lagged behind all other regions in achieving minimal cooperation not in economics, politics, culture and communications. As a consequence the countries in the region have not been able to realise the benefits of the potential bilateral and intra-regional trade.

Lack of Communication and Transportation Links: Effective and integrated transportation and communication links are lacking among the HKH countries. The production, consumption and trade patterns of potential trading partners within the region have also not been well documented and shared. Three land locked countries: Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan have to depend on the goodwill and trade facilitation provided by their neighbours. However, since these countries themselves lack efficient mechanisms, both export and intra-regional trade suffer from inherent disadvantages and vulnerabilities. For example, Nepal?s trade with overseas and in the region fully depends on transit facilities provided by India. These facilities are, however, often constrained by high handling and transportation charges and administrative delays hampering the exchanges between Nepal and its trading partners in the region despite the existence of favourable bilateral trade agreements between Nepal and most of its trading partners.

Restrictive Trade Policies: Most HKH countries still have restrictive trade policies that are responsible for the exceedingly low level of intra-regional trade (Kemal 2004). The restrictions have affected the intra-regional exports in the region. However, since the onset of globalisation, the HKH countries have gradually liberalised their economies resulting in growth of trade volume especially between India and China. Significant trade liberalisation has also occurred under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) regime, which among others accords preferential duty treatment to almost 5,000 products from all SAARC member countries. However, the region still a long way to go for developing intra-regional trade to its full potential.

1.3.3 Political changes and democratization movement

A wave of democracy has been sweeping the HKH region that has been hotbed of ethnic and political conflicts for identity assertion and equitable rights. While absolute monarchy has ceased to exist in the region dictatorship has also been mellowing down. Nepal is undergoing social and political transformation for establishing newer, smaller, federal units that could be more effective to meet local needs. India?s Uttarakhand has become an autonomous hill state and has begun focusing on mountains both in policy and practice. In Pakistan, even previously ?sensitive? mountain areas such as Gilgit and Hunza now have self-governance and institutional reforms following the creation of Gilgit Balistan province.

Such ecological and economically challenging cultural identities have begun to push and accelerate changes in access, ownership and management of resources giving fresh identities to local institutions for contributing to sustainable mountain development (SMD). These new identities need external resources to achieve SMD for harnessing natural resources and hydroelectricity for development. Economic autonomy can strengthen political and cultural identities of local institutions for contributing to SMD. Decentralisation combined with meaningful devolution as a means of empowering communities is at the centre of he conflict resolution strategy across the HKH. Though it is still too early to assess the impact of smaller governance units, there are indications that they augur well for the on-going socio-political transition.

1.4 Climate change as a major driver of change

The assessment report no. 4 (AR 4) issued by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007) characterised the HKH as a `data deficit? region. Only a limited number of studies provide climatic scenarios that too, only of the Eastern Himalaya and especially on the situation with glacier melting and change in the ice mass. The projected temperatures are expected to be about 3 ̊C warmer than the baseline by the middle of the century and about 4 C warmer by the end of the century. Models project about 20 per cent and 30 per cent increases in annual precipitation in the eastern Himalayas by the middle and the end of the century, respectively. These projections are influenced by the emission scenarios and have are biased, particularly in the case of precipitation (Shrestha and Devkota 2010). The incidence and impact of aerosol (ABC) and black carbon mixed with green house gases of upper, especially glaciated, slopes is becoming equally important in contributing to the melting of ice and snow. Climate change is believed to impact water availability and water-related hazards. According to the latest report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the impacts of Black Carbon (BC) in glacier recession says that a large BC sources in South and East Asia enhances cryosphere vulnerability in the HKH region because of large surface insulation owing to low latitude, high altitude, and low vegetation cover. The region is not downwind from the BC emitting regions but is still impacted. A small, but growing body of peer-reviewed literature suggests that BC is driving significant warming and melt in the HKH region (UNEP 2011). Further, climate change would have multiple implications on this and other aspects of livelihoods and pose new challenges to both the environment and development in the region.

The data collected from the eastern Himalayas show that there is a definite warming trend at higher altitudes and that areas at altitudes above 4,000m seem to be experiencing the greatest warming. The warming trend observed ranges from 0.01 to 0.06 ̊C/yr (Shrestha 1999) and the annual mean temperature is expected to increase by 3 ̊ C by the middle of the century (Shrestha and Devkota 2010). Only a limited number of studies provide climatic scenarios for he HKH, especially on the situation with glacier melting and change in the ice mass.

1.4.1 Biophysical implications of climate change

A number of authors and ICIMOD (2009) have argued that the HKH mountain regions have experienced above-average warming in recent years (av. 0.06 ̊C /year recorded in Nepal) with significant implications on the environment and livelihoods of millions of the people living in both the upstream and downstream areas. In the eastern Himalayas (ICIMOD 2009), progressive warming at higher altitudes has much higher rates than the global average warming (up to 0.09 ̊ C/year). The most noticeable impact of climate change has been the increased frequency and ferocity of extreme events such as floods and droughts and rapid recession of Himalayan glaciers. Formation of dangerous glacial lakes at high altitudes is creating increased risks to the lives and livelihoods downstream. Scientists are forecasting that the cascading effects of rising temperatures and loss of ice and snow in the region will affect the amount and seasonality of future water supply including the monsoon patterns. Degradation of permafrost and reduction of snow and ice caps in the Himalayas will reduce water availability affecting diverse ecosystem services that are vital for supporting the livelihoods of millions of people in the region. Of particular concern to the eastern Himalayan region is the impact on lean season river flows that affect the supply of fresh water and energy to downstream populations in the Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna (GBM) basin. Further, the changing socio-economic and demographic scenarios are also contributing to increased risks. Figure 4 below provides the emission share of some of the major HKH countries in relation to the global contribution.

Figure 4. Emission share of major HKH countries and the rest of the world (UNDESA: Please Reference Full Submission for Figure)

Glacial melt now widely observed in the HKH region is changing the river flow regime resulting in severe dry season water shortages. In Nepal, this change in the river flow regime caused by climate change is affecting the operation of many hydro power plants. In some places, glacial lake outburst floods damaging habitats, life and property of the people. These impacts can have severe consequences for a wide range of environmental and economic activities, including substantial negative impacts on food security and human health (IPCC 2008). In Pakistan, for example, climate change is already having severe adverse effects on the natural water supply and glacial release threatening both food and energy security (Sheikh 2008). Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climatic variability and its impact on land resources as water availability is already a serious concern in many part of the country. Climate change has already caused decline in precipitation by 10-15 per cent in the arid and hyper-arid regions over the last 30-40 years. Furthermore, climatic changes increase the vulnerability to drought and flash floods. These natural calamities often pose serious threats to local food production and trigger land degradation and desertification (UNDP 2010).

1.4.2 Implications on biodiversity and land use

Severe climatic conditions, lack of market linkages, and small fragmented farms have forced the farmers to adopt subsistence farming systems that heavily depend on forest resources across the HKH region. The consequent land use and land-cover changes directly impact biodiversity in mountain ecosystems (Körner 2004); contribute to local and regional climate change as well as feedback to global climate warming (Houghton et al. 1999); and by altering ecosystem services, Himalayan environmental change affects the ability of biological systems to support 1.3 billion people in the 10 river basins in the region (Xu et al 2007). Such changes also determine, in part, the vulnerability of people and places to climatic, economic or socio-political perturbations. Communities cannot be expected to remain stationary one their income sources wither leading to, migration within and beyond the region. The shrinking population-land ratio, reduced economic viability and decreasing interest in agriculture have amplified the impact of climate change on land use and land-cover in the HKH region.

The HKH Mountains are likely to experience a wide range of climate change effects on the environment, biodiversity, and socioeconomic conditions (Beniston 2003). Changes in the hydrological cycle may significantly change precipitation patterns leading to changes in river runoff and affect the environment, flow and nutrient cycles along the river basin ecosystems with adverse impacts on ecosystem and agricultural productivity, and the gene pool including from agro- biodiversity and wild relatives of food crops in the natural systems. However, there has been little research on climate change on the mountain ecosystem productivity and functions, and generalizations have been made from scattered studies at sites widely separated in space and time (IPCC 2007a; Nogues-Bravo et al. 2007). The limited evidence that exists (Shrestha et al. 1999; Liu and Chen 2000; Shrestha et al. 2000; Xu et al. 2009) is already ringing alarm bells on the fate of Himalayan biodiversity and the services it has been providing. Recent scientific understanding, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is that global climate change is happening and will present practical challenges for local ecosystems (IPCC 2007a). These include the prospect of more severe weather, longer droughts, and higher temperatures (milder winters), heat waves, changes in local biodiversity, and reduced ground and surface water quantity and quality. These changes will impact everything from the terrestrial biodiversity to human health, built infrastructure, and socioeconomic conditions. The global community is currently trying to understand the nexus between climate change and mountain vulnerability, especially in the most remote and highest mountains of the world i.e., the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. According to Korner (2009) and Scherrer D, Körner Ch. (2011) the real issue of the ongoing and expected climatic changes in the Himalayas is not the pace and magnitude of the changes but how the changes are affecting the ecosystem dynamics forcing species to migrate to cope. In response to fast rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, species are moving upslope into already occupied territory and are facing heavy competition, and many may not be able to adapt and eventually may face extinction (Eriksson et al. 2008).

The land use/cover change in the key basins in the HKH region is alarming. While Indus and Ganges basins have lost 90 per cent and 84.5 per cent of their original forest cover, Yangste is down to 84.9 per cent and the Brahmaputra basin is a shade better with 73 per cent. Climate change, agriculture intensification and rapid urbanisation have contributed to this change. The traditional methods of dealing with water scarcity have been fading away in recent years. Additionally, the relatively small size of landholdings in mountain areas has pronounced the net impact of temperature and rainfall variability on the farm-based economy.

1.4.3 Implication on Ecosystem Goods and Services

The HKH region is extremely rich in ecosystem goods and services including water, biodiversity, medicinal and aromatic plants, wild food crops, and eco-tourism resources. The natural capital in the region provide the basis for a substantial part of the region?s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) besides supporting the subsistence vocations of more than a billion people. The global importance of the ecosystem capital of the HKH has been widely recognised (Penland & Kulp 2005; Nicholls 1995; Woodroffe et al. 2006; Niou 2002; She 2004; Macintosh 2005; Sanlaville & Prieur 2005; & ICIMOD 2009). The rapid economic growth in China and the economic advances underway in India can be attributed partially to the availability of a good natural resources base, especially water and industrial raw materials. Conserving and regulating water, preserving soil, supporting forest management and biodiversity conservation, providing fodder and forage resources for pastoral development, maintaining good environmental conditions for agriculture development, and producing timber and non-timber forest products are some of the most prominent ecosystems services the HKH mountains offer. Scientists (Yao 2008; Lu et al. 2004) put the annual ecosystem service value of the ecosystems of Himalayas at US$ 150-170 billion. Climate change especially global warming is already having pronounced negative effects on all these services. It has led to the shrinkage of many alpine lakes, reduction of river flow, glacial retreat, decrease of water availability, degradation of permafrost, forests, pasture, desertification, water and soil loss and degradation of rangeland resources. Highly mobile organisms, hardy species (growing on wasteland, weeds, etc.), mid-slope species will be the likely winners in the uncertain ecosystem change scenario resulting from climate change and likely losers are late succession plants, species with small, restricted populations and species confined to mountains or the plains.

1.4.4 Impacts on the Rangelands

As the largest land use type and terrestrial ecosystem, rangelands (Stoddart et al. 1975) account for over 60 per cent of the surface of the HKH. Over 100 million people in the region have a direct though not complete dependence on the rangeland resources for daily subsistence while over 1 billion people are benefiting from water resources conserved and regulated by these ecosystems. What is more, rangelands in the HKH are habitats for globally important fauna and flora and are therefore comprise of many Biodiversity Hotspots (CI 2000) and a great number of protected areas of various types and sizes, especially in Tibetan plateau. Climate-induced negative changes are presenting enormous threats to provision of rangelands ecosystems services that are being felt across the HKH. In China, more than 90 per cent of the rangelands are degraded with about one quarter of them being under severe degradation or threat of desertification (Yi et al. 2009). This has resulted in sharp declines in fodder productivity and carrying capacity and has also engendered the social-economic wellbeing of pastoral communities.

Even though people attribute these changes to human factors such as overgrazing and poor governance, there is increasing evidence and belief that natural factors such as climate change are playing the fundamental role. In Afghanistan, annual precipitation determines the available rangeland resources that range between 40 per cent (in poor rainfall years) and over 85 per cent (in good rainfall years) of the total land area (FAO 1995). Frequent and unpredictable droughts in recent decades have further aggravated the unpredictability of the rangeland productivity and have caused high losses to life and property in Afghanistan. Some 70 per cent to 80 per cent of domestic livestock in the northern and western parts of the country perished in the prolonged drought from 1997 to 2004. Similarly, an extremely harsh winter in 2007/08 claimed the life of over 300,000 animals and 800 people (Yi et al. 2009). Another severe drought in the first half of 2008 caused the drying up of pasturelands and reduced water sources in several northern provinces (including Samangan, Balkh, Jowzjan, Herat and Badghis) causing death of thousands of animals, and failure of around 80 per cent of the rain-fed agriculture (Qazi 2008). Case studies initiated by ICIMOD (unpublished) in Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan suggest that decreased rainfall in rangelands has often resulted in expansion of degraded area and accelerated desertification, which further weaken the basis for livestock development. The same studies also indicate that the disappearance of water resources due to prolonged drought has forced people to change their migration routes or even abandon pastoralism.

Alpine Himalayan meadows are very important venues for summer grazing vegetation, medicinal plants and endemic biodiversity, and also in the eastern periphery of the Tibetan Plateau (Yi et al. 2007. 2008). However, it is reported (Mosley 2007; Yi et al. 2007) that upward advancement of the treeline triggered by global warming is reducing the area of summer pastures, which are important for the continued existence of local traditional agro-pastoral transhumance. Some others (Singh, SP; Singh, V; Skutsch, M; 2010) have suggested that such upward movement of the treeline is also edging out endemic alpine species. Changing environment is threatening the habitat of some economically important medicinal plants such as Cordyceps spp. that has for years been the major income source for many mountain people.

The east of the Changthang area of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China is becoming warmer and dryer. Alpine steppe dominated by Stipa spp. and Poa spp. that prefer warm and dry weather are spreading to the south at a rate of 14.2km/10a, causing a corresponding retreat of alpine meadow community. This change is unfavourable for livestock development since the alpine steppe has much lower primary productivity than the alpine community, which prefers a more humid environment (Wang et al. 2004). In northern parts of Tibet, the warming in the spring months is becoming slower but temperature drops more quickly during autumn (Wang et al. 2004). This change has enhanced conflicts in seasonal fodder supply sources and severely affected pastoral development.

Additionally, improper land use and governance and climate change have combined to increase stress on the mountain ecosystems in the HKH. For example, in the TAR of China, decades of overstocking and poor management, rangelands are suffering from a process of degradation and desertification turning the carbon-rich grass turf black, and exposing them gales and blizzards that are becoming more extreme and devastating. Over grazing is widespread and plant biomass is releasing carbon from peat land and underground soils due to grazing pressure. The high alpine meadows are particularly under threat as top-soil cover is being eroded by strong winds making restoration of vegetation more difficult. The rampant degradation of the rangelands is also forcing nomads to change their vocations. To summarise, it can be concluded that Tibetan Plateau is highly prone to heating, drying and more extreme weather conditions, which is having pronounced impacts on rangelands besides influencing the Asian monsoon system as well.

1.5 Community movement in natural resources management

Lateral and vertical integration of communities in local administration is critical to attaining equity and justice leading to good governance, especially environmental governance. Inspiring initiatives of collective actions for natural resources management do exist across the region but their integration into the existing institutions have been slow. However, there are some promising initiatives that could help in attaining the SMD goals.

Uplands of North-east India, comprising of the eight hilly and mountainous states are categorised as underdeveloped regions and also exemplify the classical paradox of `poverty in the midst of plenty?. Through an IFAD supported North-eastern Community Resources Management Project (NERCOMP) project the region is now focusing on interventions that are technically appropriate, culturally sensitive and institutionally effective, for which a `genuine partnership between communities, government and civil society? has been forged to ensure that the interventions are demand-driven and client oriented.

Since its inception in mid 1970s, the community forestry programme has been the largest and longest participatory green initiative wherein 40 per cent of Nepal?s population is involved in managing 25 per cent of country?s forest area. Not only is the programme inclusive and equitable, it has also been able to address socio-political and environmental concerns at the national and regional levels. The emerging carbon payment through the REDD+ mechanism promises to provide incentives and co- benefits to the community thereby exposing local communities to a competitive world wherein protecting community rights would be crucial.

First started as projects, these institutions have now work with genuine local participation and support and have successfully arrested the deforestation and also helped to improve forest cover. These have the potential to be expanded through legal provisions as has been already demonstrated by Nepal?s community forestry programme. Though the case studies are country specific, their strengths lie in the diversity of approaches to suit varied socio-economic situations. Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom whose award winning research on partly based on Nepal?s community forestry says, ?When collective action is high, forest users themselves monitor regularly, forest conditions get better; and when local groups have long-term rights and can harvest from a forest, they protect its conditions more?. She added, ?Having rights does not mean taking all; if they have no rights at all, why will they have interest in protecting their resources? The crucial problem is how to match forests with the interests of the people and the communities.? This has been a fundamental philosophy of Nepal?s community forestry policies.

1.6 Information and communication technologies (ICTs)

Information technologies, especially computers and mobile phones and increasing internet connectivity in rural areas, have made significant inroads in the HKH region. Tele-density in Nepal reached 41.5 per cent in 2011 from a low of 27 per cent in 2010. Bhutan has 50 per cent mobile penetration; Pakistan has had a cumulative average growth of the mobile market by five per cent during last three years and mobile and Internet penetration in the mountain regions of India has been impressive (Thulasi Bai et al. 2007).

ICTs can play an important role in development by connecting people to more accurate and up-to-date information. However, there is concern that the ?digital divide? is increasing the gap between the information ?haves? and ?have-nots? especially in mountain regions that are poor and are remote. Studies have shown that market information transmitted via mobile phones has helped farmers reduce transport costs by 33 per cent. Farmers in remote regions, like Humla in Western Nepal, have benefitted from mobile penetration for marketing medicinal plants. However, the impact of ICTs has not been uniform across the region.

Accessibility, both physical and electronic, has increased across the region during last two decades. However, subsistence farmers have found that cost of communication, about 11 per cent of their total cost of production, prohibitive. While extensive road and communication networks have played significant role in access to services and markets, there is need for policy to create mechanisms for easy access for marginal farmers.

Countries of the HKH region have begun to acknowledge the digital divide in policy but the issue of access and equity has remained unaddressed largely because of the overwhelming presence of the private sector in extending telecommunication services. Broadly speaking, computers, mobile phones and Internet access have connected remote areas to the mainstream of development. But road building rarely confirms to region?s ecological fragility and vulnerability. While technology can enhance the options for mountain communities to adapt and survive at cheaper costs by accessing market opportunities, its impact on enhancing resilient livelihoods has yet to be fully assessed.

1.7 Expansion of eco-tourism

The HKH region has always attracted tourists. Mt. Everest ? the ?jewel of the Himalayas?, lies on the border between Nepal and China. This is definitely one of the most sought natural attractions by tourists as it is the highest mountain on earth. Trekking tourism to Khumbu valley, Nepal is still a popular activity in the region.

The growing access of ICTs has contributed to the spread of tourism in the HKH region. They have made it easy for 15-20 per cent of tourists and tourism businesses for locating potential ecotourism sites and making travel plans. It is estimated that 50 million people visit mountains each year (Mountain Partnership 2008). The relationship between tourism and SMD has featured prominently in Agenda 21, and in related scientific and political debates and discussions. Tourism holds special significance for countries like Nepal as tourism earnings comprise around seven per cent of the GDP and during best tourism years (2009) the industry generated 4.7 per cent of the total employment. Tourism?s share in India?s GDP is 8.6 per cent. However, the impacts of tourism on mountain ecosystems and biological resources are of great concern because of the high fragility and environmental sensitivity of the HKH. Cultural identities and diversity in the mountains are also under threat due to the expansion of economic activities, social and environmental forces associated with mountain tourism. Tourism as an important industry in HKH region has suffered from a narrow interpretation of the allure of the mountains. Reserved as a preserve for extreme sports and adventure or romanticized as a pristine wilderness, mountain tourism especially in the HKH region has long been regarded as an escape from the woes of urban life, unblemished by the civilization-inflicted scars carried by regions at lower elevations. Whatever the purpose of visiting, tourists from around the world and the region have been attracted to the mountains; those visiting mountains comprise about 15-20 per cent of the global tourist trade.

However, many HKH countries, especially the middle-hills, have suffered the impact of this resource intensive industry, with over construction of resorts and other tourist facilities. Further, the mountain landscapes have had the unintended effect of rendering people living there invisible. They have largely ended up working as menials or porters, while the overwhelming share of the tourism revenue flows to interests outside the region.

India?s ?National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem? has laid stress on regulatory mechanisms for controlling tourist in ows in ecologically sensitive areas. Effective April 2008, the Government of Uttarakhand has restricted the number of tourists visiting the source of the holy river Ganga to 150 per day. Similarly, the Indian state of Sikkim has been employing an environmental fee, permits for entries, and stay time restrictions in some environmentally sensitive high altitude/ areas. Sikkim had a 25 per cent increase in tourist inflows in the past two decades and has developed a benchmark that can serve as a basis of responsible tourism in other parts of the HKH. Tourism holds potential to contribute to economic development in the HKH region but its expansion cannot be at the cost of loss of biodiversity, local cultures and livelihoods. The need to address such concerns while harnessing the potentials tourism to mountain livelihoods is now being recognised. However unlike the Alps, mountain tourism in the Himalayas is still in infancy. Although record annual growth rates have been forecast for South Asia (5%) ? compared to 4.1 per cent for the rest of the world ? the overall tourism potential remains underutilised. South Asia is attracts less than one per cent of the global tourists leaving the potentially largely untapped.

1.8 Major policy and legal reforms

The policy environment for managing natural resources, especially forests, has been improving consistently since the 1990s although there is lack of compliance on account of a legacy of failed institutions in South Asia. Although progress in policy reform, for example, the 1988 forest policy of India has been mixed regarding the institutionalisation of Joint Forest Management, the potential it holds to transform forestry into green economy wealth is promising. By setting up the National Green Tribunal -- an apex legal body ? India has joined the ranks of 47-odd countries in the world that attach significance to Right to Information and justice as enshrined in Agenda 21. India has also recently launched the Green India Mission.

Pakistan has already approved several policies including the National Environmental Policy (2005), National Forest Policy (Draft), National Energy Conservation Policy (2006), National Renewable Energy Policy (2006) and the Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation (2006). The National Environment Commission is the key policy institution in Bhutan. In Nepal the National Environment Policy Action Plan has been in existence since 1993. Forest policies of Nepal and Bhutan of 1993 are landmark documents that are now being considered for a global award. India has recently passed a Land Rights Bill, which assures land rights to forest dwellers and dependent indigenous community. It has also developed a range of policies and enacted many laws covering various environmental sectors. Within the ambit of environment policy and forest laws HKH countries are framing mountain specific regulations. The Assam Hill Land and Ecological Sites (Protection and Management) Bill, 2006 is one such legislation that aims at preventing indiscriminate cutting of hills and filling up of water bodies in urban areas, which had led to serious ecological problems in places like Guwahati.

Uttarakhand has recently implemented a policy for harnessing renewable energy sources with private sector/community participation targeting power generation and management through a power council. The policy permits power generation by individuals, Gram Panchayats (village councils), registered societies, and private companies. Such diversity of policies reflects mountain specificity with a possibility of adoption and replication across the HKH region. Many of such policies are also backed by fiscal incentives. Recognising forests as national wealth, the 12th Finance Commission of India recommended an incremental grant of Rs 1000 crores or USD 250 million for maintenance of forests from 2005 to 2010. This amount was distributed among the states based on their forest area. The existing system needs to be modi ed to adequately account for the mountain states. Such initiatives have the potential to be up-scaled and have possibility of emulation across the HKH region as a national payment for environmental services (PES) programme.

Policies and laws within the respective countries in the HKH reflect environment stewardship at one level. Within the region, China and India have signed up a number of acts together because only cooperate forces can solve global environmental crises, especially taking into account the fact that these two countries contribute greatly to world air and water pollution. Both, China and India are the active members the Asia ? Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This partnership among the region?s two biggest economies auger well for better environmental quality of the HKH Mountains also.

1.9 Harnessing the potential of water resources

The growing water stress, plans for mega dams on shared rivers, and uncertainties about the precise impact of climate change on water supply have brought water to the centre of the political agenda of major HKH countries. The problem is compounded by the shifting patterns of precipitation and river run-off associated with climate change, which is likely to push South Asia to the second-lowest position in terms of per capita volume of freshwater alongside the Middle East and North Africa., Overcoming the impending water crises should merit serious policy consideration In a declining resource environment scenario. But legacies of distrust, bitterness and disinclination to cooperate dampen the possibility of such a policy option. Politically the HKH remains a volatile and unstable region. Its capacity to face water crises is limited; yet a regional approach to resolve water-sharing conflicts does not exist.

Domestic and intra-country riparian water-sharing concerns have persisted in South Asia for decades despite the existence of water-sharing treaties between India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Ganges-Brahmaputra basin is one site that is most contentious that could become complex once the water crisis deepens. Even though the countries in the region have been able to harness some water resources for irrigation as well as for drinking purposes, their preparedness for an impending water shortage and increasing water hazards on account of glacial meltdown is lacking. The alarming glacier melt rate in the HKH region could mean serious water insecurity everywhere from the Indus Plains to the Yellow River basin; the problem is already being experienced in Amu Darya command area. Lack of water resources for agriculture and hydro-power could even lead to conflicts. On 25 August 2011, the Prime Minister of Bhutan issued a warning saying that their Gross National Happiness Index might be affected if the water they depend on for the Chilkha Hydel project dries up due to glacier melt. The HKH glaciers seem to be melting faster than that in other parts of the world not only due to greenhouse gases but also due to atmospheric black soot that settle on the Himalayan snows and absorb ambient heat to accelerate snowmelt. Water is an emotive as well a political issue that countries often use to divert public attention away from their policy failures. Without doubt, it is for the political leadership in the HKH region to decide on a course of action to overcome the consequences of climate change on water supply, because no outsider can undertake this important task for the region.

1.10 Emergence of major socio-political conflicts

The HKH region has been of great interest to the world due to its geopolitical, cultural, developmental and bio-cultural importance ? and of late for matters related to security. Despite the geographical proximity, countries in the HKH region are caught up in mistrust and suspicions. China and India, two largest countries in the region had a less than co-operative relationship for a long time due primarily to border disputes. As a result cross-border economic cooperation could not grow. The situation, however, began improving after the 2001/02 after the two countries signed a bilateral trade agreement.

The socio-political issues in the HKH region are complex and where mutual distrust and hostility have existed between different countries. Even at the best of times these countries find it difficult to resolve their differences, even though the failure to address the issues of climate change, poverty, water crises, and biodiversity loss would be disastrous for all.

Strategic analysts have suggested that the future may remain uncertain for the South Asia region because, unlike Europe, it does not have a history of collaborative actions for developing region-wide policies. The situation has been further complicated by religious positions that have influenced political decision-making, the absence of functioning democratic institutions, and the existence of asymmetric relations and weak implementation. The growth of extreme religious positioning has, as a consequence, has made it more difficult for nation-states to develop region-wide policies. Climate change and the critical need for collaboration for preserving the Water Tower of Asia offer a unique opportunity for these countries to develop a cooperative agenda for benefiting both the mountain communities and downstream beneficiaries of the eco-system services provided by the mountains.

1.11 Major activities in promoting the Mountain Agenda

Agenda 21, Chapter 13 has focussed and institutionalised global attention on mountains. The establishment of an International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in 1983 and the continued support to the centre is one example of such global interest in securing the environment and livelihoods of mountain communities in the HKH region. The Asia Pacific Mountain Forum was formed in 1997 to create virtual platform for exchanging knowledge in the region. Similarly, the Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC) in an arrangement created to strengthen the Mountain Agenda at the global level.

Both bilateral and multi-lateral institutions have actively pursued projects in sustainable mountain development in the HKH region. The World Bank has been active in Pakistan, as also in the lower hills in India and Nepal; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has a fairly large portfolio in the region and so has the Asian Development Bank (ADB); IUCN is active in Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. These agencies have brought active interest, resources and knowledge on sustainable mountain development. ICIMOD has remained the lead agency for promoting the mountain agenda through cross-sector linkages with governments of member countries, research institutes and civil society. To give a fillip to its efforts to promote mountain development, ICIMOD has now begun celebrating ICIMOD Day in member countries and not just its headquarters. A large number of sustainable mountain development initiatives are under or have been undertaken in the HKH region and these have created synergistic impacts and contributed to learning about socio- political institutions, economic-enterprise linkages and cross-sectoral complementarities but at the cost of losing focus on social equity, economic self-reliance and environmental sustainability ? the three pillars of sustainable development. This report has commissioned a number of case studies to provide a snapshot of activities in these areas at a micro level.

1.12 Poverty reduction measures and successes

There are many facets of poverty in the HKH region. It is manifested by low income, poor health, low access to health facilities, malnutrition, poor education, low skills, high dependence on the natural environment, high insecurity and physical vulnerability, drudgery and limited capability and entrepreneurial capacity. These dimensions of poverty are directly or indirectly associated with mountain bio-physical and socio-economic specificities characterised by geographic isolation, socio- cultural marginalisation, poor physical and economic infrastructures, poor access to market, technologies, information, poor institutional services, and limited economic opportunities. Geographic isolation, often compounded by differences in language and customs, prevents the benefits of markets, its niche products, and national economic growth from reaching the mountain people.

Limited employment and economic opportunities, and insecurity trigger out-migration keeping back only Women, the elderly and economically less active populations in the mountain areas and therefore, the lower entrepreneurial capabilities. Therefore, the nature, causes and dimensions of mountain poverty differ significantly from that in the lowlands and the need to be understood from a mountain perspective. Yet, policy makers have not fully understood poverty in a mountain context. As result, market-driven value chain initiatives and tourism have contributed to poverty reduction only for a limited population and policy and institutional response to poverty reduction has been poor across the HKH region.

India?s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is perhaps the most significant initiative in the region. It guarantees 100 days of assured employment to the rural poor in a calendar year. Though results of the cash-to-work transaction are mixed, reports indicate that the scheme has been able to reduce rural-urban migration and promoted natural resource conservation in the villages.

1.13 Growing urbanisation and high labour migration

For a long time now the mountains and hills have been a region of high migration from north to south (and sometimes the other way around), as well as from the west to the east. There has been substantial seasonal migration of labour to the plains to make up for both the unskilled labour shortages in the plains and the need for cash earnings in the otherwise non-monetised mountainous areas. This quest for food and additional sources of income has created durable exchanges across the HKH region. In addition, rulers have repeatedly provided inducements to encourage people to migrate ? often for political reasons ? to under-populated areas and to transform forests into arable land. This movement of people from the mountains and hills to the plains have also resulted in building many economic, political and cultural relationships.

Migration and population mobility are essential elements of human and economic development. In fact migration is increasingly being used as a strategy to raise family income and also adapt to the changes taking place, including that caused by climate change. New destinations have opened up for migrants over the last two decades. These have mainly been the Gulf States, South and North East Asian countries and the West. These population movements have created new regional and transnational links, connecting very distant countries and different cultures. The effects of the remittances on the recipient economies have received much media attention, but have been not been assessed thoroughly. A study carried out by ICIMOD indicates that close to 15 per cent or 30 million of the world?s migrants come from countries in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. Bangladesh, India, China, and Pakistan are among the largest countries with out-bound migrants, a significant percentage of this population come from mountain countries. Labour migration is a major livelihood strategy of mountain people. The countries of HKH region have the highest inflow of remittances that any region in the world (Kollmair and Hoermann 2011).

After Rio, migration from Nepal has tripled, and that from China has doubled. The remittances reaching the region were close to US $ 70 billion in 2007, or 21 per cent of global flows. No other region has such a large inflow. Diaspora contribution to SMD has remained a myth as home economies have not been able to encourage migrants to return and invest in productive areas thus fuelling unsustainable urbanisation as seen in Kathmandu, Nepal. Skilled migrants never return to their countries of origin. This is particularly true for educated migrants who are often unable or uninterested in investing in their own country and find the host country more attractive thus resulting in net loss to the mountains. Unless migration is purposefully managed, there is no way to make the skilled human capital relevant for SMD.

Almost all the mountain areas of the HKH region are subsistence agricultural economies, some more primitive while others have varying degrees of modernisation. Nepal and Bhutan, typical mountainous countries, are predominantly rural. Development has come to these areas last, and it has come in small scales owing to their physical and social remoteness. Again development models that worked in the plains have been transplanted to the mountains disregarding the upland specificities. Consequently, the results have not led to effective poverty reduction or sustainable development.

1.14 Growing awareness and importance of indigenous and traditional knowledge

Significance of indigenous technical knowledge (ITK) is now being incorporated in development protocols. Over one 1000 villages in Nagaland in North-east India have been organised into Village Development Boards (VDBs), with the specific purpose of taking into consideration the traditional village organization of the specific cultural group. Using this institutional mechanism, the highly distorted shifting agricultural system is now being redeveloped by strengthening the tree component that had been weakened by high deforestation. Keeping in view the traditional approaches, the state government has launched a programme called Commoditisation of Public Institutions and Services.

The programme seeks to augment existing agricultural systems, rather than attempting to bring a radical change. The approach relies on participatory testing rather than transplanting new species through extension agents at the test sites. A a dozen tree species have been tested in over 200 test plots. Water being a critical factor in sustainable management of land resources in a monsoonal region where water scarcity is acute for a major part of the year, ITK combined with appropriate water management has been demonstrated as a major factor for sustainable management of natural and human-managed ecosystems not only for the Northeast, but also for other parts of the Himalayas. Converting ITK, often seen as location-specific, into generalisations that are applicable across socio- ecological systems has been a major step undertaken to incorporate research results in public policy and development initiatives. There is a growing realisation in the HKH region that development approaches that link cultural diversity with biological diversity can form the basis for ensuring human security socio-ecologically fragile mountain systems. The Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh has sound ITK of forest, land and water management, and has a highly developed system of growing rice in the valley. The Apatanies under the overall supervision of their village headman have optimised water use along with nutrient use in their rice fields.

The HKH region is home to hundreds of ethnic tribes, and it is their ITK that helped them survive in the harsh mountain environments. It is only recently that countries in the region have begun tapping in the ITK to address some of the current concerns related to climate-induced changes in cropping pattern and for adapting to extreme weather conditions. Institutionalising indigenous knowledge can therefore be a critical element for inter-generational resources enrichment and transfer.

1.15 Regime changes and social movements towards good governance

Since 1992, there has been a general move towards greater devolution and decentralisation of power to local governments, which has to some extent reduced the marginality of mountain people and helped them attain their aspiration for self-governance. Some countries considered mountain areas as ?sensitive? borders and were kept under strict restrictions on movement of outsiders and even locals. As consequence either those areas were ignored in terms of development needs or were rapidly developed in terms of roads and other infrastructures.

The entire HKH has witnessed widespread grassroots social movements that have sometimes turned violent (such as the Maoist insurgency in Nepal) while others have been non-violent (Chipko movement in Garhwal, India). While local grievances range from complaints of marginality in national and regional governance for reasons of identity, power, religion, poverty or other socio- political causes, scholars have claimed that other factors such as environmental degradation, and lack of access to political process are key triggers for such movements (Sedon and Karki 2004). While central governments, global powers, and sometimes state powers have looked at mountain regions as possible sources of global terrorism (Afghanistan), the aspiration of mountain people are similar and much of the acrimony can resolved when more effective governance in sustainable mountain development is achieved as in the case of smaller, mountain-specific governing units such as the case of Uttarkhand in India (Tolia, 2011).

1.16 Emergence of China and India as an economic power

Together, India and China make up almost 40 per cent of the world?s population and produce six per cent of the global output. These are two very large markets. With greater integration their economic performance will have externalities?good and bad?in the neighbourhood and in the rest rest of Asia and the world. China began to open up its economy in 1978, and in 30 it considerably enlarged its share in global export of manufactured goods. India started a process of economic liberalisation about 10 years after China, and by 1991 it had achieved its best export performance in the services sector.

The global financial crisis has further accelerated the shift in economic power to emerging economies. Measured by GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, which adjusts for price level differences across countries, the largest E7 emerging economies are likely to be bigger than the G7 economies by 2020, and China is likely to overtake the US by then. India could also overtake the US by 2050 on this basis.

The rise of China, followed by India, has led to a new balance of world economic power. Their growth has driven attention to other developing and transition economies, which also have a high potential for growth, based on cheap labour, opening up to foreign technology and capital, economic liberalisation and market regulation. Since the end of 2008, all emerging economies have been hit by the global meltdown. However, India and China ? thanks to their large domestic markets ? have sustained growth rates that are still high compared to advanced economies. Thus, even during the crisis, the ?catch-up? process is still underway.

The rise of China and India as economic and political forces has created both complexities and opportunities, particularly for the smaller countries in the region. Will the high rates of economic growth with increasing interactions with the rest of the world force both India and China to cooperate and settle unresolved disputes? The fundamental differences between the two with regard to governance systems and international policy positions could deter such a development at least in the near future..

China and India pursue entirely different political paths and in practical terms, policy success has a somewhat different meaning in each country. The philosophical underpinning of their respective policies is different, and divergent political and economic ambitions, increasing rivalry over market share, access to natural resources or selection of strategic partners could even drive them further apart. Consequent to such posturing, conflict over sharing natural resources (mainly water) would remain contentious and could eve fuel new conflicts.

China is increasingly demonstrating its commitment to the spirit of international conventions such as the UNFCCC. However, China still classifies itself as a developing country and identifies itself both as member of the G8 and G-20 while maintaining its association with G77. The major strategic concern of all HKH countries in the region, therefore, is how best to work together and reconcile their respective national interests while thinking for the greater good of the region, and jointly promote sustainable mountain development.

PART II: Progress of changes in the HKH region since 1992

2.1 Assessment objectives, methods and activities

The assessment adopted a common framework for case study selection and methodology to be used. The report required to ensure the inclusion of the three-pronged objective of securing renewed political and financial commitment, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps, and addressing new and emerging challenges as a strategic entry point to the Rio+20 agenda. The assessment focused on the two major themes of the Rio+20 Conference: Green Economy for Poverty Reduction and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development. Additionally, good environmental governance was included to reflect the specific needs of the region. The report tries to highlight the specific context of the HKH region and reflects the views collected through multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultations as summarised below:

A. Virtual (e-conference) consultations

Table 7: Summary three e-Conferences (Stakeholder Consultation on Rio+20) organised by ICIMOD

e-conference event Event Duration No. of stakeholders Partipicating countries Total contribution and key issues
HKH 4-24 April 2011 296 20 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North and Latin America (majority from HKH) Over 210 Key topics: climate change, deforestation, shifting cultivation, water and globalisation
South and Central Asia (Youth Perspective) 9-29 May 2011 550 38 countries Asia Pacific, Europe, North & Latin America (mostly from HKH & Central Asia) Over 400 Key topics: green jobs, technology transfer and alternative energy, mainstreaming youth in the Rio+20 process

B. Commissioning of case studies

Table 8: Distribution of case studies by countries and themes

Event Countries covered Total case studies/remarks Thematic focus
HKH (covered by commissioned case studies) India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan 10 (Balance between 3 pillars ? economic, ecological and social/institutional of SD/SMD); policies and implementation) Biodiversity, Community Forestry; Eco-tourism; Micro-hydro; Biogas; Organic Agriculture; Watershed; CBNRM; REDD+
HKH (key informant?s sharing) Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Afghanistan Country representatives presented country priorities Capacity building, Ecotourism, bio-geographic diversity and climate impacts

C. Workshop of stakeholders from the HKH and Asia Pacific region

Table 9: Asia Pacific regional capacity building and knowledge sharing workshops

Event Participating Countries Key highlights Major outputs
Asia-Pacific Youth Forum on Climate Actions and Mountain Issues (convened as Asia Pacific Youth meeting on Rio+20), 8-12 August 2011 43 Youth from 17 countries

HKH Countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar , Nepal and Pakistan
- Capacity building sessions

- Motivational sessions

- Sustainability exercises

- Team work for developing youth statements for Rio+20
- Asia Pacific Youth Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development

- Asia Pacific Youth Position paper on Rio+20
Regional Sharing Workshop on Assessment of Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific region for Rio +20, 23-25 August 2011 50 participants from 7 countries:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China (one each), India (9), Myanmar (1), Nepal (12) Pakistan (3)
- Presentation of and discussion of case studies

- Presentation of Key Informants

- Sub/regional group work to assess key issues, challenges and opportunities and develop recommendations
- Finalisation of structure of Assessment Report

- Documentation of key issues, challenges and opportunities

- Development of key recommendations

2.2 Overview of the Sustainable Mountain Development efforts in the HKH region

This section deals with broad changes that have affected sustainable mountain development since 1992, from changes in its global definition and practice to more specific drivers of change in the Hindu Kush Mountains. What have we learned that can provide us a way forward to meet emerging challenges? What are the opportunities in sustainable mountain development, post Rio+20? These lessons are drawn primarily, though not exclusively, from specific case studies.

In the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio in 1992, a global consensus was formalised around the need to promote development aspirations of developing nations. This was called the Agenda 21. Various global environmental concerns were listed for concerted global action on different Chapters of which Chapter 13 addressed the issues of mountain environment and development.

The decade of 1992-2002 mainstreamed environmental concerns in development and many actions were offered as examples of sustainable development that culminated with the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg or Rio+10, in 2002.

Progress continued in reducing the ambiguity of the concept with the development of quantifiable indicators in sustainable development such as GINI coefficient, forest area per capita, and GDP growth per capita. Critics, however, maintained that sustainable development was a theoretical oxymoron with the word ?sustainable? implying a world of limits from ecology and the World Conservation Strategy 1980, and ?development? implying a world of no limits, from economics and ?Our Common Future 1987 (Redclift 2005).

With the collapse of multilateral environmental governance envisioned in the Kyoto Protocol, there is now a trend to remould the SMD agenda along the broad parameters of Green Economy and effective Environmental Governance - the twin themes for Rio+20. Most countries are responding to these as an opportunity to better access climate change funds and other low carbon opportunities. There is a fear that this may cause diversion of debate, funding, goals and priority from mountains to elsewhere such as the Green Economy ? once again ignoring the need to maintain balance among the three pillars and promote intergenerational equity.

How can the concerns of sustainable mountain development (SMD) be addressed in this context? How can the persistent poverty and livelihoods vulnerability of mountain peoples be addressed in more effective ways? Even with the general slowing down of ecological degradation in the mountains, how can equity concerns and access to the dividends of SMD be brought to unremittingly marginalised indigenous people in this region?

To answer these and other research and development questions, the HKH assessment team carried out 10 case studies selecting topics that while thematically covering all three pillars of sustainable development in a cross cutting manner also addressed the institutional framework and good governance issues. What follows is a description of their key findings.

2.2.1a. Van Panchayats or Community-managed forestry, Uttarakhand, India

Case Description

The Van Panchayat (VP: Village Forest Councils) is the oldest community forestry institution in the Indian State of Uttarakhand. The conservation efforts of VPs also contribute in providing a number of ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, which has acquired a significant value in the context of climate change. There is a potential for rewarding VPs through carbon payment mechanisms in Uttarakhand as it is happening in Nepal with support from ICIMOD. In India there is a distinct possibility to do so under the Green India Mission of the National Action Plan on Climate Change that can augment the green economy.

Spatial scale/location

Uttarakhand is a newly formed mountainous state formed to respond to the development aspirations of the hill and mountain people. Although approximately 80 per cent of the population of Uttarakhand depends on agriculture but only 14 per cent of 53,000 sq. km. of its total area is under crops. This also indicates the limited scope for the growth of an agrarian economy. Moreover, agriculture and allied sectors depend heavily on forest resources. Forests in the hilly parts of Uttarakhand were not codified or government-managed till 1865 and the local communities followed informal socio-cultural norms to manage and harvest the forests. The VPs are legally recognised, first under the District Schedule Act and later the Indian Forest Act 1927. The overall management of VPs, their constitution, elections, management, planning, representation of marginal groups/ Women, various rights of members, etc. are governed by rules notified under the present Uttarakhand Panchayati Forest Rules (UPFR) 2005. The highlights of the UPFR, 2005 include empowerment of Women and weaker sections of society, promotion of flexible site-specific community planning, and liberal benefit sharing of usufructs under the VP rules, 2005.

The 12,089 VPs in Uttarakhand (Van Panchayat Atlas, Uttarakhand 2007) manage over 5,449 km2 of forests in 11 hill districts. This accounts for about 16 percent of the total forest area in the state. Nearly half of the VPs were formed after the creation of Uttarakhand and was made possible by the state policy of "each village having its own VP". There have been significant new interventions, such as Community Carbon Forestry through the Kyoto: Think Global, Act Local (K:TGAL) project, managed by ICIMOD. The project addresses livelihood based management of natural resources, income generation from forest biomass residue, the case of pine needle briquetting for clean domestic energy, and financial resources for strengthening of VPs through the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), for promoting green economy by strengthening institutional governance.

The major stakeholders in the management of the VPs are the local village community, State Forest Department, State Revenue Department, civil society and funding agencies, both government and private.

Most of the VPs have been facing some major challenges, including:

(i) Inadequate forest area with regard to number of households in a village: nearly 60 per cent of the VPs are of 15 ha while 13 per cent VPs are have 3 ha forest area under their management. Policy and technical interventions are required to have adequate attention on determining viable/ optimum size of a VP;

(ii) Non-holding of timely elections for democratic governance;

(iii) Lack of adequate financial resources and appropriate incentives for effective and broad-based participation of the local community;

(iv) Lack of sensitivity and awareness on the part of government forestry personnel about the significance of VP and its role in improving livelihood options; shortage of skilled and well- oriented human resources in line departments, which has resulted in bureaucratic delays and complexities to linking livelihoods with forest conservation; and

(v) Inadequate attention to the capacity and leadership building needs of VP members and office holders, especially as regards equipping them with technical capacity and management skills to handle the challenges, and administrative and technical issues related to managing and protecting forest resources.

Relevance to Green Economy

? Create fodder banks in VPs and linking them with local dairies by promoting stall-feeding.

? Encourage integrated organic farming (including apiculture and floriculture) with support of VPs.

? Promote and add value to products like Tejpatta (Bay leaves) locally through grading and packaging.

? Produce energy using Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii) needles.

? Encourage plantation of broad-leaf species and build capacity of villagers to generate livelihood opportunities.

? Promote medicinal and aromatic plant, oil seed, fibre and natural dyes cultivation and harvesting, and resin tapping and other non-timber forest products.

? Promote eco-tourism in VP forest and village areas, and

? Improve water conservation techniques and charge royalty on sale of clean drinking water as forest produce of VPs.

Relevance to institutional governance

? Formulate and reform policy to improve the property rights of people on tree and tree products.

? Allocate optimum/minimum area of forest under the VP forest according to the size of the forest dependent population to make it a functional and viable proposition.

? Formulate policy to reward community for management and conservation of forests as carbon sinks. This should be at international, national and state level through carbon credits, Central Finance Commission and State Finance Commission, respectively.

? Formulate/ align State and Central ecotourism policies taking into consideration the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980.

? Institute mechanisms for ensuring functional democratically elected local institutions for governance.

? Institute a mechanism to build capacity of communities to handle complex natural resource management issues (protection, regulation, micro planning, implementation, value addition, sustainable harvesting) for sustainable management practices, in addition to the programmes now underway.

? Assess the implication of human-wildlife conflicts in forest rich regions.

? Strengthen existing traditional forest governance institutions rather than creating new ones for new project based interventions, and

? Conduct trainings on participatory skills and attitudinal changes for key stakeholders, including the forestry and revenue staff of the government.

? Emphasise protection and conservation models of forestry rather than target-oriented afforestation (low cost and more sustainable) and link conservation with economic benefits through clear institutional mechanisms.

2.2.1b. Community forestry and good forest governance in Nepal

Community forestry is a nationwide programme covering all districts and physiographic regions of Nepal. The programme has helped in re-greening of the mountains to a large extent. Probably, it is one of the largest and longest ongoing participatory green initiatives that involve about 40 per cent of the population in managing about 25 per cent of the country?s forests. In the last three decades, community forestry has evolved from a programme to an effective forestry resources management model for Nepal. Encouraged by the success of the programme, Nepal has adopted community-based approaches to also managing protected areas and watersheds. Experience of community-based resource management in Nepal confirms that the ?tragedy of the commons? results not from the sharing rights, but from the absence of well-defined rights, roles, responsibilities and resources (4Rs) of different stakeholders. Furthermore, it clearly shows that poor are neither bad resource managers nor agents of deforestation. Given proper incentives and tenure rights, the poor invest in and can contribute to protecting their environments.

Since its inception in the mid 1970s, the programme has evolved continuously and has been a good learning experience for government agencies, local communities, international development organisations, NGOs and CBOs. The programme has been successful in embracing changing local needs, national development priorities and international environmental concerns. The growth trajectory of community forestry has a linkage with global and national progress and is also contributing to social, economic and environmental agendas at the local, national and international levels. The community forestry took a participatory turn in early 1990s when the government enacted enabling policies, laws and regulations. It directly and indirectly incorporates the spirit of all three objectives of the CBD in policy and practice. The programme is also an excellent example of the local application of the global agenda on environment, sustainable development and human rights; and has been helping the government in fulfilling its international commitments.

Over the years, the community forestry programme has evolved in focus from subsistence-based forestry to good green governance contributing to local democracy and sustainable rural development. Community Forestry Users Groups (CFUGs) are one of the largest and strongest civil society organisations in the country. The community forestry initiative has also been an intervention that includes marginalised communities in the rural socio-political processes and has empowered thousands of rural Women as important local development stakeholders. The CFUGs have been an important development engine at local level and in many mountain areas CFUGs have been contributing to local development by performing collaborating with at least 20 ministries. In many ways, the community forestry programme has been successful in tackling the three key constraints of sustainable mountain development ? marginality, poverty and environmental fragility. Evidences also suggest that all five important livelihood assets of mountain communities have improved after the implementation of community-based forest resources management in Nepal. Evidences also suggest that community forestry has been contributing directly towards the achievement of five MDGs goals such as poverty reduction, environmental conservation, gender equality, primary education and partnerships for development, and also indirectly, to three other MDGs. These outcomes are testimony that the community-based approach to resource management supports the twin goals of both conservation of mountain ecosystems and improving wellbeing of mountain communities.

Despite the wide acceptance and visible outcomes the community based forestry resources management programmes of Nepal also have deficiencies, controversies and complications. The challenges community-based forestry has been facing are multifaceted and include institutional, social, economic, geographical, and environmental issues. For some time, social justice and inclusion have been the core issues of community forestry governance. The big challenge in community forestry has been how to overcome elite capture and make the process more equitable. These issues will become more complex when community forestry begins to benefit more from global environmental services such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).

Since mid-2000, community forestry of Nepal has been in the process of transformation. Community forestry management has been taking more inclusive, equitable and integrated approaches to address the changing socio-political, economic and environmental issues at the national and global levels. At present, national policy debates on community forestry have been dominated by commercialisation of forest products and climate change. Emerging carbon and other PES-related businesses have increased the potentials of community forestry, and possibilities of local communities to contribute to attaining the global environmental goals. These new green mechanisms can create opportunities for the wellbeing of mountain communities. Also commercialisation of community forest products and environmental services in the national and international markets can expose local communities to larger social competition. A ?multi-layer and multi-centric? institutional arrangement may therefore emerge. In the absence of proper institutional and policy safeguards, the community-market interface may generally benefit the ?most capable? at a cost to the ?most incapable?.

A good forest management practice like community forestry should focus on creating a sustainable green economy to further enhance the harmonious relationship between human beings and nature. It can be argued that new innovations and special efforts are necessary to address the issues of integration, inclusion, empowerment and enterprise, and also to manage the changing and challenging national and international contexts. A whole new set of institutions, skills and knowledge would be required to manage climate change adaptation and financial mechanisms, landscape-based resource conservation, forest-based green economy, etc. The government and community forestry institutions should be prepared to ensure that local communities in general and poor users in particular, are not deprived from a fair share of benefits from emerging green businesses. The level of future environmental and livelihood impacts of community forestry will depend on the capacity and cooperation among government agencies, community forestry institutions and the private entrepreneurs in promoting green economy and creating green jobs for rural communities.

2.2.1c. Forest Watershed CDM, Himachal Pradesh, India

Case Description

This case study describes how small farmers and forest user communities in the mid-Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, India are working to sequester over 839,582 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the next two decades through forestation and reforestation work on 4,000 hectares of variedly degraded agriculture and forest land. For their conservation activity each family in 177 village panchayats (councils) will earn between US$ 83 to US$ 145 per hectare per year as payment for carbon stocked.

As a sub-component of the World Bank-supported US$ 75 million Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project, the creation of carbon sinks through afforestation is likely to accrue a net gain of US$ 4.1 million to the communities over the next 20 years. The World Bank, a trustee of the Bio Carbon Fund, is brokering the transfer of funds between the host country and the client DNA (Oficina Espanola de Cambio Climatico) of Spain.

As the first project of its kind in the mountains, the project, which is larger than the 3,500 ha Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in China, will not only generate environmental benefits through carbon sequestration but will also improve income-generating capacity of small farmers. Through restoration of highly vulnerable degraded forestlands in Kangra and Bilaspur districts, the planned afforestation and watershed management activities are expected to generate 343 person days of employment per hectare while resulting in other environmental co-benefits such as natural water storage.

Relevance to Green Economy

The recent agreement between the Government of Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank, effective till December 2018, ensures that the carbon credits will go to the community, providing them the necessary incentive to protect watersheds and forests. The flow of ?green money? will start reaching communities in end-2011; 10 per cent of the total carbon revenue will be retained by the Forest Department as overhead charges. Some conditions will apply before the carbon credit starts to flow. The landowners need to ensure that tree density is not less than 1,100 plants per hectare; that there is no felling of trees from land under the project; and that no part of the land brought under such plantations shall be diverted for non-forestry purposes. Even though issues related to social and gender equity and community participation remains to be addressed, the project does open the door for accessing ?green payment?. The success of the project will also open opportunities for afforestation and reforestation in an estimated 2.48 million hectares of degraded wasteland in the state.

2.2.1d. Securing livelihoods and natural resource management through community empowerment: The Experience of Natural Resource Management Groups of NERCORMP

Case Description

North-eastern India is characterised by rich biodiversity and also extreme poverty. Aid dependency had eroded self reliance before the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas (NERCORMP) ? jointly funded by IFAD and the Government of India ? was launched in Assam (in N C Hills & Karbi Anglong), Manipur (in Senapati & Ukhrul) and Meghalaya (in West Garo Hills & West Khasi Hills) benefitting some 87,000 households. The overall objective of NERCORMP is to improve the livelihood of vulnerable groups in a sustainable manner through improved management of the resource base in a way that contributes to protecting and restoring the environment. Its major components are capacity building of communities and participating agencies; economic livelihood activities; community-based biodiversity conservation; social sector activities; and village roads and rural electrification. Encouraged by its success and as response to local demand, the project has now been extended to Arunachal and Manipur states of India.

The project promotes ?inclusive? and ?client driven? decision-making and development through deliberate formation of Natural Resource Management Groups (NaRMGs) tasked with decision making, fund management, implementation, monitoring, participatory planning of activities (Perspective and annual plans), and gender mainstreaming. Self-help Groups and Federations empower Women through affinity groups and alliances. Women are involved in savings and micro credit schemes as well as income generating activities. There is emphasis on reducing dependency on jhum by providing other livelihood options such as home gardens, extended home gardens with incorporation of horticulture, and wet rice cultivation. Off farm income generating activities such as weaving, handicrafts, groceries, and petty business are also promoted. Infrastructure development such as building of small irrigation systems for agriculture and village roads for accessing education and markets are also undertaken. The community has set up elephant reserves and python reserves, and have conserved fish breeding sites. Participatory 3- Dimensional Model pioneered in the Philippines is being used for community planning and decision making. The project has so far formed and used 24 different Participatory 3-D models.

The key messages from this project for Rio+20 are:

 Encourage community-led decision making, planning, implementation and monitoring

 Empowered communities can bring about transparency, accountability, inclusive growth and greater ownership of development initiatives

 Empowered communities can contribute to sustainable mountain development goals

- Social inclusion, empowerment of the marginalised

- Economic development ? local resources, value addition, alliances of marginalised

- Environmental conservation ? sustainable use and management of resources.

Relevance to Rio+20 agenda

There is a great degree of diversity among communities across the three states of India?s North East. There is general acceptance of NaRMGs and its harmonisation with traditional institutions. However, at higher level, more work is needed to ensure harmonisation. Linkages are also being formed with the private sector and the government. There is a mix of community and individual approach to development that is being tried out. In North-eastern India, 80-90 per cent of the land belongs to the community or village chiefs. As NaRMGs represent the community, there is no problem in implementing the project because the self-help groups engage entire households, especially Women, in meaningful activities.

2.2.1e. Watershed Management in Pakistan ? an adaptation and Sustainable Development practice

Case description

The Tarbela Watershed Management Project (TWMP) was initially started to control siltation in the Tarbela dam with community involvement. It has gradually evolved into a community-based natural resources management and sustainable development project in Pakistan. The project began in the 1970s and its evolutionary process was parallel with global developments like the Stockholm Conference (1972), the Rio Summit (1992), and the present discourse on the green economy. Alongside field activities related to integrated watershed development and creation of alternative livelihood opportunities, the watershed field stations also addressed the second component of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 i.e. knowledge generation about the ecology and sustainable development of mountain ecosystems. Watershed management as a discipline has also been incorporated in the curriculum of the Pakistan Forest Institute (PFI).

Key informant interviews and review of literature reveal that the local processes of the TWMP project have addressed the global concerns but evolved without juxtaposing the Agenda 21 or other global process documents in perspective. The global processes have been the major factors influencing the preparation of the TWMP project documents through other ongoing processes in Pakistan.

The results of this study show that the achievements of the TWMP are significant. An area of more than half a million acres has been brought under tree cover and soil conservation, and check damming has had a positive impact on silt load in the dam. Meeting the main objective of the TWMP ? the reduction of silt load through participatory watershed management ? is the project?s main success story. However, progress could have been much more holistic and sustainable had the concerns of biodiversity conservation also been incorporated in the project?s design. Biodiversity concerns that remained largely un-addressed are the creation of buffer zones or biological corridors for wildlife in the mountains catchments. After completion of 30 years of watershed management under different phases the project now stands at a a crossroads. There is a huge pressure and high community expectation for securing livelihood benefits commensurate with the sacrifices they have made for protecting watersheds.

Relevance to Rio+20 agenda

Climate Change as an external driver has become the most important factor affecting sustainable development in the post 1992 era and the importance of forestry in mitigation has now been recognised. Green economy is currently viewed as the viable path for low-carbon economic development and REDD+ is recognised as the best option for promoting green economy through forestry. The TWMP has been analysed for its relevance to the current discourse of Rio+20, in particular its niche in the green economy. The findings of this study show that TWMP has all the required institutional and social setups to start it as a REDD + project. However, capacity building of communities and TWMP staff, legal and technical arrangements are also required.

2.2.2 Conservation and Development of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Uttarakhand, India

Case Description

Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) form an important component of biodiversity and these are closely linked with local health care systems, rural livelihoods, and herbal industries. The Himalayan region is extremely rich both in the diversity of MAPs and indigenous/traditional knowledge on the use of herbal medicines. A majority of the communities are socio-economically marginalised and depend heavily on the MAPs for their primary health care needs. However, more than 90 per cent of the MAPs used in herbal industries today are extracted from the wild resulting in rapid decline of high value species. In accordance with the Agenda 21 commitment, and subsequent action plans under the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) all member countries and the Himalayan states need to develop long and short-term strategies for conservation, sustainable and scientific harvesting, utilisation, cultivation and marketing of MAPs with the involvement of all stakeholders.

India?s Uttarakhand state is also known as the ?herbal state? for its tremendous wealth of MAPs. The state has about 5,000 species of vascular plants, of which about one third are known to have some medicinal properties. Of these, nearly 150 species are sold to the herbal industries and are mostly sourced from the wild.

After the formation of the new state in 2000, there was a paradigm shift in biodiversity conservation and management, and efforts aimed primarily at enhancing the impact on local livelihoods. Since much of the land is hilly and unproductive for regular agriculture, the government realised that forests have potential to sustain local livelihoods if managed through meaningful community participation. An important administrative reform was introduced and a new position of the Forest and Rural Development Commissioner (FRDC) was created. The role of the FDRC is to link forests, biodiversity, and agriculture to rural development. This has resulted in a number of new polices, strategies and actions that included the reforms in MAPs sector.

The state has also made major changes to reorganise its research and development programmes in the MAP sector to include medicinal plant business, policy instruments and long-term strategies for the sustainable development of the herbal sector. A State Medicinal Plants Board (SMPB) headed by the Chief Minister issues necessary policy directives and technical guidelines. The state has also established an Herbal Research and Development Institute (HRDI) for developing and disseminating knowledge. A large number of government and non-government organisations, including traditional practitioners and scholars, have contributed to the development of state?s herbal sector.

Uttarakhand also has the advantage of access to a number of national research and development institutions based in Dehra Dun. A rapid MAP inventory and mapping project has been initiated for generating baseline data for preparing Conservation, Development and Harvest (CDH) plans that are to become a part of the Forestry Working Plans. Most significantly, the forestry administration has mainstreamed conservation and development of MAPs in divisional management plans and annual plans of operation. The Forest Department has also made provision for improved access of local communities to NTFPs.

Relevance for Rio+20 themes

The experiences of developing Uttarkhand?s herbal sector hold promise not only for the development of the state but also for other states and neighbouring countries in the HKH region. MAPs will continue to remain the most important bio-diversity resources for socio-economically marginalised communities in the Himalayan region and for the herbal industries. MAP development in the state therefore has to be comprehensive and must consider its links with nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and traditional medicines (like Ayurveda) while aiming to promote and strengthen the MAP sector in order to impact on all the three pillars of sustainable development ? ecological, economic and social. Integrated and systematic development of the MAPs and NTFP sectors can be good examples of how the green economy can work in the mountains. However, a partnership with private sector that can facilitate value addition close to the production areas and better linkages to markets through buy-back guarantees will be necessary to promote the green economy. Multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches are necessary because cultivation of rare and endangered MAP species is required to allow regeneration in the natural habitats. This explains the state policy of promoting cultivation, processing, marketing, and research in a holistic manner.

2.2.3 Transboundary Eco-tourism in Eastern Himalaya: A case of Sikkim (India) and Bhutan

Case description

Ecotourism, which aims to protect the natural environment and cultural diversity by attracting nature enthusiasts and generate revenue for local people without harming nature, has emerged as a successful mechanism for contributing to all three pillars of sustainable mountain development in the Eastern Himalaya. People involved in mountain tourism have witnessed an increase in tourist arrivals, longer length of stay, increasing visitor expenditure and retention. India and Bhutan have been promoting tourism as one of the most promising means for attaining sustainable development. Their cooperative policies are having major impacts on development. In the Eastern Himalaya region, where this case study was focused, visitors experience a safe environment and unique hospitality, with good local awareness about the opportunities that eco-tourism presents. Visitors have also appreciated the quality and maintenance of the unique bio- cultural landscape. The region?s highly distinctive natural beauty and Buddhist culture are being conserved for retaining the unique identity and also for benefitting from tourism.

Both Bhutan and India have their own tourism policies and action plans. The formulation of policies that address the place and people in the adjoining transboundary regions can assist in promoting tourism in the across borders and to foster pro-poor tourism enterprises. Regional tourism has not flourished in the HKH region as yet but the model has scope for up scaling. The case study provides an overview of the regional tourism status in Sikkim in India, and Bhutan, and suggests the need for furthering regional cooperation in tourism in a larger scale. The paper aims to explore the tourism potential in the region by promoting ecotourism as an example of transboundary cooperation between India and Bhutan.

Relevance to Rio+20 agenda

ICIMOD has been facilitating regional cooperation through its transboundary conservation initiatives. ICIMOD?s Regional Cooperation Framework, developed through consultative processes harmonises national policies and legislation for effective management of the Kanchenjunga landscape and it has been a key instrument for achieving environmental and economic sustainability among the countries that share this territory. Promoting nature tourism in this framework can have a maximum benefits and can help improve the livelihoods of people and the environment of the Eastern Himalaya.

2.2.4 Organic Agriculture in Uttarakhand ? a green solution for mountain agriculture

Case Description

Organic farming is the manifestation of the traditional environmental stewardship of the people that provides a meaningful outcome in the form of economic growth. Agriculture is the mainstay of economy in mountain regions and therefore sustainable development is directly linked to agricultural development.

The green revolution technologies did not really reach the mountain regions primarily because the farmers could not afford the expensive chemical fertilisers and irrigation. Other inputs ? intensive extension services and machineries ? were also not available in the hills. Therefore, the indigenous technologies and inputs-based diversified agriculture suited the mountain regions, which Uttarakhand is using for promoting organic agriculture or ?green agriculture?. Mountains and hills have a long tradition of collecting of forest waste and using it in barn management, and that gets recycled as an important source of carbon (humus) for soil in mountain farms. This was the only input used in crop production. This tradition also sequestered carbon under the ground as soil organic carbon, which is another benefit of green agriculture. The success of organic agriculture in Uttarakhand can thus be attributed to its rich agro-biodiversity and forestry resources (above 60% of the land). Other reasons are the very high literacy among farmers, the large number of educated rural youth not wanting to pursue traditional agriculture and state?s good network of roads, railways, and air links connecting it to large markets in Delhi and even Europe.

Creation and strengthening of farmers associations has served as a tool to ensure participation and equity for small farmers, and also a mechanism to take care of supply chain issues such as marketing, certification, and integration of internal quality management system to help ensure traceability and organic compliance. The Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board (UOCB) was set up in 2003. The state approached Sri Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) for support and an initiative, Himmothan Pariyojna, was given the responsibility to run the programme. The State and the SRTT contributed equally to finance the initiative with support of the UOCB, which is viewed as a model institution in a totally new sector in the country. As a support mechanism the state government has tasked the state seed certification agency to undertake organic certification and has also named the State Organic Certification Agency (USOCA), as another major support measure.

Relevance to Rio+20 themes (Green Economy)

Organic agriculture that includes forestry, range and pasture development fits into the sustainable development agenda of mountains like ?fish in water?. Recent global reports indicate how organic agriculture can contribute to climate change adaptation and provide resilience to farmers in vulnerable regions. Organic agriculture that localises food systems has the potential to mitigate nearly 30 per cent of the global green house gas (GHG) emissions and save one sixth of global energy use (Mae Wan Ho and Lim Li Ching, 2009). Sarah Borron,(FAO, 2006) has argued that environment disturbances affect farmers from marginalised regions and organic agriculture techniques can increase resilience in the areas of soil and water, biodiversity, landscapes as well as community knowledge systems. These are essential for building resilience for the climate change impacts in the HKH region. As discussed above the Organic Production Initiative now needs to be brought into a long-term policy framework of mountainous countries and regions. Institutions supporting the programmes need to be strengthened with realistic budgets. Private sector participation needs to be encouraged and consumer forums need to be built to bring about sustainable and fair trade mechanisms. The government has to take a position on the harmful factors like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), intensive agriculture policy and contract farming.

Development agencies can play a supportive role by fostering reliable institution support systems that can initially help provide the components that farmers find difficult to access such as bio-pesticides and organic fertilisers. Besides, technical capacity building, acquisition of adequate technology and skill-based training, marketing, initial financing for certification and localised input production are some of the immediate requirements. Further, Participatory Guarantee System of group certification schemes can be launched in order to take advantage of scale economies (marketing, production, and certification).

2.2.5a. Case Study on Nepal?s Bio-Gas Programme ? Opportunities for Green Economy and Sustainable Mountain Development Goals

Case description

Biogas, as source of clean energy for rural households in Nepal, is environmentally friendly, economically feasible, and socially accepted. Biogas technology has been in use in Nepal since 1977. The Biodiversity Support Programme (BSP) has also been a successful rural development programme that has fostered a partnership among government agencies, donors, the private sector, NGOs, and Community Based Organisations (CBOs). Initial investment subsidies and low interest loans with long repayment periods were some of key elements for the success and expansion of the programme.

At the local level, the biogas programme has multiple social benefits. A major household benefit is the reduction in the time and energy spent by Women and children in collecting firewood for cooking. Reduction in air pollution, including CO2 and black carbon emissions, is a major environmental benefit. Biogas plants with attached toilets have also promoted better sanitation. The biogas programme also promotes local employment because it requires skilled workers for construction, maintenance, marketing, and financing of biogas plants. Further, the residual biological slurry can be used as organic fertiliser. The biogas programme supports the government?s goals of promoting sustainable energy, improving access to energy for the rural poor, and reducing poverty by providing high quality biogas plants to poor households at affordable price. The biogas programme also provides economic benefits through energy and fertiliser substitution, and increased yields from animal husbandry and agriculture.

This case study shows that Nepal has appropriate infrastructure at the macro level, with as many as 243,065 domestic plants installed across the country by July 2011. Effective enforcement of quality control has ensured that around 93 per cent of the plants are operating satisfactorily. This statistic is very high compared to neighbouring countries. Initially greater emphasis was given to extension and promotion while Research and Development (R&D) was given low priority. However, in recent years a number of organisations have initiated programmes to carry out applied research on various issues not only limiting to domestic biogas plants but also on the benefit to rural farmers communities.

Relevance to Rio+20 agenda

Nepal?s biogas programme has made significant contribution in the improvement of the local, national and global environment. It supports forest conservation goals by substituting the traditional cooking fuel ? firewood. Such use of renewable energy contributes to improving the local and global environment by reducing GHG emissions. However, the government has not devised clear policies for providing incentives to promote institutional or community biogas plants. Due emphasis is also needed to support R&D activities for promoting biogas in the mountainous regions for meeting sustainable mountain development goals.

2.2.5b. Micro-hydro Energy Development in Northern Pakistan

Case Description

This study documents a good practice in decentralised development of renewable energy and climate change mitigation in one of the most fragile ecological settings of the world that faces unsettling climate change impacts. With coordinated support from government, NGOs and research and development organisations and funding/ lending agencies, communities in the remote mountains of the HKH region are not only meeting their energy needs from close to 300 self-managed Micro Hydel Projects (MHPs), but are also helping in offsetting carbon emissions and in generating and trading certified emission reductions (CERs) under a UNFCCC recognised CDM project.

The MEPs are changing rural livelihoods in the geographically remote, ecologically fragile and socioeconomically marginalised mountain valleys of Gilgit-Balistan and Chitral (GBC) in northern Pakistan. The entire area is prone to natural disasters and, in recent years, climate change impacts have become visible as weather patterns show extreme swings. Pakistan in general and the remote off- grid valleys of GBC in particular face acute energy shortages. The insufficient provision of energy, despite high potential for clean hydropower, forces people to cut alpine trees and other vegetation to meet their basic energy needs. The use of diesel and other fossil fuels has also increased both by small businesses and local power utilities.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) introduced MHPs as a community-led development initiative in the region in 1990. The management of MHPs has been built on the traditional practices of common property management. By 2005, these communities had built 240 MHPs, with a combined installed capacity in excess of 10 MW. When Pakistan ratified the Kyoto Agreement in 2005, a CDM project was conceived, which after a rigorous and long process was registered with the UNFCCC in October 2009. The bundled CDM Project envisages constructing 103 new MHPs with a total capacity not exceeding 15 MW, at a cost of US$ 18 million over a seven-year period. The participating communities have provided 20 per cent cash as equity contributions towards the total investment; 50 per cent of the cost is contributed by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) in small grants, and carbon income and loan financing make up for the remaining 30 per cent.

Relevance to Rio+20 agenda

The main lesson is that MHPs are an ideal fit for remote and fragile mountain environments where the population is scattered and where extending and maintaining the national grid over long distances in a difficult terrain is expensive. Therefore, decentralised approaches to generating and distributing clean energy may be the best option in such isolated areas. However, the scaling-up of the approach will require strong commitment by the government in terms of enabling policies and incentives. One practical way to do this is for the public sector to build and maintain ?mini grids? and allow local investors and community organisations to generate clean hydroelectricity to feed such grids.

The financing mechanism and business model also provide a scalable partnership approach. Public funds are leveraged to raise community equity from capital and carbon markets. The ownership of smaller units is community-based, and units of 0.5 MW and higher, are designed to operate as formal power utilities with three goals: economic gain, social services and environmental protection.

2.3 Major institutions and networks launched or strengthened

Agenda 21, Chapter 13 has institutionalised global attention on mountains. Although ICIMOD was established in 1983, it was Rio?92 that contributed to its strengthening through continued support for its operations including the setting up of other similar organisations and networks. Using the spirit of the Chapter 13, ICIMOD is providing an example of a mountain-focused initiative that is making efforts in securing the environment and livelihoods of mountain communities of the HKH region,

The Asia-Pacific Mountain network was set up by ICIMOD in 1995 after the Rio?92, It was based on the recommendation of the ?SUDEEMA Call to Action 1994 and Asia regional response to Agenda 21 Chapter 13. The initiative was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It is intended to be a knowledge-sharing platform connecting mountain regions and individual members through dialogue and networking. The network captures, enriches, and disseminates information from a variety of sources on mountain development issues in and for the Asia-Pacific region. The APMN acts as the Asia-Pacific node of Mountain Forum (MF) ? itself an outcome of the Chapter 13 ? a role it has played since 1996. In more than a decade of its operation, the APMN has been able to make notable contributions to build knowledge repositories and expertise by collaborating and networking with its large membership[1] that includes organisations for promoting SMD. APMN has over 250 organisational and 2300 individual users.

The APMN operates as a hybrid network within ICIMOD supporting the Mountain Partnership Consortium that includes both the Mountain Partnership (MP) and Mountain Forum. ICIMOD has defined APMN as its ?communication arm? and plans to enhance its role in communication, networking and information and knowledge sharing activities beyond the ICIMOD regional member countries for greater Asia Pacific-wide integration and to fill the gap in knowledge, information, and data among the ICIMOD member countries and beyond.

The Mountain Forum operated as a network of regional networks (in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin and North America) and was supported by the Mountain Forum Secretariat (or global Node) based in ICIMOD till 2010. Is is now based at CONDESAN, at NGO working in the Andean Mountains in Lima, Peru. The Mountain Partnership (MP) was set up post after the WSSD in 2002 and is a voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improve the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments. APMN housed in ICIMOD presents itself as key knowledge sharing partner in the Asia Pacific region as a decentralised hub of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat.

Across the HKH region, various bi- and multi-lateral institutions have pursued projects to demonstrate sustainable mountain development. The World Bank has been active in Pakistan, and also in the lower hills across India and Nepal; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has a fairly large portfolio in the region and so has the Asian Development Bank (ADB); and IUCN is active in many countries of the HKH region. These have brought active interest, resources and knowledge on sustainable mountain development.

Among the development partners, IFAD has specifically channelled funding to the poor in the uplands aiming at livelihood improvement through community-based resource management. The projects in Northeast India, Uttarakhand, and Nepal have benefitted the poor, Women and marginalised mountain communities in the HKH region. One of the most relevant programmes that can be cited in the context of Rio+20 is Rewarding Poor People for Environmental Services (RUPES). According to IFAD (2010), poor rural people have the potential to be important players in natural resource management and carbon sequestration. An IFAD-supported programme has helped build momentum and public interest in rewards for environmental services, and has developed ways to reward poor farmers who protect ecosystems in China, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines and Viet Nam in upland farming and forest systems.

According to Dennis Garrity, former director general of the World Agroforestry Centre, ?Many people living in Asia?s upland communities manage landscapes that provide environmental services to outside beneficiaries. These services include clean and abundant water supplies from watersheds, biodiversity protection and stocks of carbon that alleviate global warming. Rewarding communities for providing these services reduces poverty and provides incentives to manage uplands in ways that enhance the sustainability of the lowlands, compensate for carbon emissions elsewhere and support global biodiversity conservation goals.? (http://www.ifad.org/climate/perspectives/rupes.htm)

2.4 Social and gender equity and inclusion

Two decades after from Rio?92, the discourse on Women?s equality and empowerment in the context of development has become sharper and more focused. Concretely, the focus has shifted from Women in Development (WID) and Gender and Development (GAD) approaches to approaches that are more nuanced and critical. The early conceptual basis of WID did not address the basic structures of inequality in relations between Women and men, as it had a tendency to focus solely on ?Women?s? issues. This realisation led to much broader discourses and a wider working framework leading to GAD, which focused on the socially constructed dimensions of power, the division of labour and gender as they cross-cut with other dimensions of difference (i.e. class, caste, age, marital status, life- cycle positioning, profession, etc.) and the unequal power relations between and among Women and men, as central categories of analysis (Marchand and Parpart, 1995; Verma, 2001). Further shifts in approaches in gender analysis and research have been concerned with transformations in gender power relations and Women as active agents of change and important knowledgeable managers of their environments. In many parts of the HKH Mountains, however, gender is still considered to be synonymous with the category Women, and is inter-connected social, economic, and cultural roles and relations between Women and men are normally confined to largely academic discussions. There is also the tendency to shy away from critical questions regarding transformations in gender power relations (Marchand and Parpart, 1995).

In mountain regions, gender inequalities in access to resources and decision-making processes that affect communities, cultures and environments (U.N. General Assembly Resolution 64/205, 2010) are some key challenges that hinder active participation of Women and men in sustainable development processes. Although Women in the HKH have always played a critical role in local development, agriculture and natural resources management, in recent years, their workloads in these work domains have intensified without corresponding increases in access to development resources, decision-making and land rights. In the hills of Nepal and Uttarakhand for instance, Women have taken up pioneering roles in managing forests and taking up leadership of community responsibilities. However, Women continue to face differential access to resources, ownership and control over critical natural resources. Despite a number of development programmes and initiatives by different agencies on gender and development, including agriculture and natural resource management issues, there is limited evidence- based data on the role of differently positioned Women in sustainable mountain development, and the weak focus on transforming existing skewed gender power relations have led to limited impact.

Moreover, different drivers of change also create new, or exacerbate on going dynamics. For instance, high rates of male out-migration mean that Women experience intensive workloads, responsibilities and burdens, which in turn often results in low enrolment and drop out of girls from formal education as well as increase in gender-based violence and trafficking of girls and Women. Increased labour burdens have not translated into increased roles in decision-making or control over resources. These trends are further exacerbated by changes in the climate and environment, and during times of climate induced disasters (ICIMOD, 2009; Mehta, 2007). It is also well known that Women are further constrained by unequal power relations, gender-biased attitudes and sometimes, systematic exclusion and under-representation. It is therefore important to increase knowledge of how inequality and drivers of change such as climate change are linked and how unequal power relations are affected by social, economic, cultural and political constraints in dealing with adaptation and sustainable development measures.

2.5 Food security situation in the region

The HKH region made tremendous progress in food production during 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. With impressive growth in food production, China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, transformed themselves from countries with chronic food-deficit to those that were almost self-sufficient in the early 1990s. Except Afghanistan and Nepal, all the HKH countries had exported some food grain during the late 1990s. This growth in the agricultural sector has faced setbacks (Rasul 2010). Productivity of major food grains has slowed and has even declined for some crops (Kumar et al. 2008) with food production failing to keep pace with population growth. As a result, South Asian countries are now finding it difficult to meet the most basic food and nutritional needs of their people and remain vulnerable to food insecurity.

In South Asia Afghanistan is the most vulnerable in terms of food security. Wheat ? the staple food crop ? has seen a decline in both the productivity and production and other major crops have also suffered owing to conflicts and droughts. Because of its mountainous terrain and an arid to semi-arid climate, crops are cultivated on only about 14 per cent of the country?s total area. In 2006, consumption in each income group was estimated to have fallen below the minimum nutritional requirements. The unstable political and security environment combined with limited resources and very high population growth (more than 2.0 % per year) may force per capita consumption to continue to decline over the next decade.

Nepal?s food security situation has deteriorated sharply over the years. Nepal was exporting agricultural commodities such as rice, jute, timber, garments, hide, and skin up to mid 1980s. In 1975- 76, Nepal?s food-grain exports were worth NPR 5,954 million. Exports declined drastically in the 1980?s and Nepal has now become a net importer of food. From having one of the highest agricultural productivity rates during the 1960?s, Nepal?s agricultural productivity became the lowest in the subcontinent in the 1990s 1(as cited in Cho et al, 2004). Food security has remained a serious concern in remote areas. Generally, those in the lowest income quintile fall short of the minimum needed to fulfil their nutritional requirements. According to a UN report, 2.5 million people in Nepal need urgent food assistance (Pyakuryal, 2009). The WFP estimated population of moderately, highly and severely food insecure people to be 3.6 million (Nepal Food Security Bulletin, 2010). Nepal's food security has remained a serious concern in remote areas. In 2009, the WFP reported that 43 of Nepal?s 75 districts faced a food deficit, and 23 districts were chronically food insecure. There was surplus production of cereal grains in Nepal in 1999/2000 and up to 2007/08 except in 2006/07. It had a surplus of 68,496 MT in 1999/2000 and 83,051 MT in 2000/01. However, the deficit in 2008/09 was 132,916 MT (Figure 5)

Figure 5: National Production Surplus/Deficit (UNDESA: Please Reference Full Submission for Figure)

Bangladesh is also considered a vulnerable country in terms of food security. Although the rice yield is marginally increasing and there is significant progress in overall food production, the production lags behind domestic demand fuelled by population growth. The per capita food consumption is close to the minimum nutritional requirement (2199 calories per day in 2004). Only the top two income groups were estimated to have exceeded the nutritional target in 2006 (Rasul, 2010). The food security situation has been made more fragile due to regular floods and cyclones that damage crops and affect food production. Bangladesh currently imports three to five million tonnes of cereal per year on average, depending on weather conditions (Rasul, 2010).

Bhutan is also vulnerable in terms of food insecurity although country?s food affordability index is continuously increasing. Only 3.4 per cent of its land is suitable for arable agriculture, although more than 80 per cent of the people depend on agriculture for livelihood. Productivity is low and variation in cereal production is very high. More than one tenth of the cereal consumed in the country is imported or comes as food aid (Rasul, 2010).

India experienced the success of the green and white revolutions, and has made significant progress in food production since the 1960s ? it became self-sufficient in food grain and was exporting a sizeable volume of food in the late 1990s. However, production began declining from 2000 while the population has continued to increase. In 2000, net cereal production was 172 million tonnes and it decreased to 163 million tonnes in 2001 and in 2003 it further declined to 143 million tonnes. An estimated 222 million Indians (20% of the total population) in 2006 were below the minimum nutritional requirements (Rasul, 2010). As the major food grain producer and consumer in South Asia, India?s challenge is not only to feed its growing population but also to help the neighbouring countries meet their deficits, especially during crises.

Pakistan has also made tremendous progress in its agricultural sector compared to 1960s and the country achieved near self-sufficiency in food during the 1980s. However, food production has remained erratic and has failed to keep pace with population growth (2.4 %). As a result, food security has remained a persistent concern of the government. In 2006, 10 per cent of the population was estimated to have less food than required and the situation could deteriorate further over the next decade due to the gap between population growth and food production (Rasul, 2010).

2.6 Analysis of initiatives: challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, links to Rio+20

Mountains of the HKH region face multiple issues and continuing, and new challenges. While the persistent challenges of poverty, rapid urbanisation, population growth and environmental degradation are having greater impact, there are new challenges resulting from climate change, youth migration and growing social conflicts that have aggravated the old challenges. Climate change induced threats and higher rate of global warming in the mountains are causing disproportionate impacts on the HKH Mountains and hills. Economic and food crises, social and political unrest, shrinking development space, and slow progress on past commitments are the key challenges facing the mountains. Globalisation and ecosystem degradation are also seriously affecting and changing agriculture and ecosystem production and productivity directly increasing food insecurity and social and gender inequity. The HKH Mountains are important for their role as water towers of Asia, as biodiversity hotspots or shelter for fragile faunal and floral species, and most importantly as the global environment regulators resulting from their unique location and landscape.

2.6.1 Frame conditions for the analysis of progress in SMD

HKH Mountains unlike other mountain systems of the World support many different ecosystems and provide key goods and services that provide livelihoods to millions of people and are also the basis for human activities beyond their natural boundaries (Beniston 2005). Most of the goods and services provided by these mountains have their origin in the upper slopes that are sparsely populated. The consumers of these goods and services are mostly in the lowlands, especially water and energy. Highland and lowland systems are thus highly interdependent in terms of ecology and economy and also social and religious linkages. Himalayan mountain communities with their rich traditional ecosystem knowledge and highly adaptive capacity contribute significantly to the quality and the sustainability of these goods and services. However, they are rarely and/or poorly compensated for the services they provide to downstream communities.

2.6.2 Analysis of the case study findings in the context of SMD

The case studies provide a snapshot of micro level changes. Looking at the macro picture based on the messages of the case studies indicate, that while India and China have boomed economically, the rate of change in the HKH region, which is largely rural, has been modest in terms of pace and scale of change. Ethnic conflicts, cross-border tensions, demographic transition including outmigration and increased and unplanned urbanisation have had adverse influence on local economies and the environment. In contrast, growing tourism, increased remittances and improved market linkages for natural and organic products have helped the mountain and hilly regions to register modest growth although growth has not been uniform.

Despite relative invisibility, the significance of sustainable mountain development (SMD) has been established on the global agenda on account of the above mentioned micro-to-macro level progress and changes much of which have also been documented by the 10 case studies in 5 countries of the region (Table 1 provides the list of the case study topics):

Table 10. Summary highlights of the case studies in the HKH region

Case study theme Major findings
Medicinal Plants/NTFPS Identification and removal of policy barriers can improve access to medicinal plants by local people and double the benefits; can be a model sub-sector for SMD
Community-based NRM Enabling communities to participate in planning, designing, implementing and monitoring of NRM at local level can empower and lead to improved resource governance
Community forestry and REDD+ Good model of forest resource governance enabling farmers to improve livelihoods and participate in and benefit from REDD+; CF of Nepal is a good practice case for SMD as it gives ?triple dividend?: improved environment in terms of watershed management and biodiversity conservation, enhanced local income and carbon sequestration -adaptation, mitigation and poverty reduction
Eco-tourism Important source of income to local community with relatively more distributive effect achieving income equity.
Van Panchayats (Community forestry) Generate multiple products such as clean energy, compost, fodder banks; carbon co-benefits (REDD) and lead to biodiversity conservation
Forestry CDM CO2sequestration; helps to develop new forestry institutions; benefits and sharing are issues that need to be addressed.
Organic agriculture Improved agro-ecosystem resilience, soil organic carbon deposits; reduced costs; increased net income; high community acceptance.
Bio-gas promotion A good program promoting massive peoples? participation; significant social and economic benefits (carbon credits being paid) and recognised environmental benefits (CDM board has awarded CER certificate).
Micro-hydel projects Low-cost, clean and sustainable source of energy for remote mountain communities (off-grid locations) offsetting carbon emissions and generating and trading CERs under a UNFCCC recognised CDM programme.
Watershed management Watershed conservation in catchment areas of a major storage and hydroelectricity dams has multiple benefits; Policy weaknesses have led to poor sectoral coordination and thematic integration of social and environmental pillars; future potentials are high including that through REDD+

2.6.3 Major learning from the case studies

Green projects are suitable for subsistence economies: Most of the mountain areas of the HKH region are under subsistence agriculture. Some are more primitive while others have varying degrees modernisation and inroads of the market economy such as Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India; Kathmandu in Nepal; and Kunming in Yunnan, China. Nepal and Bhutan, typical mountainous countries, are over 80 per cent rural. Development has come to these areas due to emphasis on specific niche products such as apples, vegetables, rice as well as services and it has come in different scales due to remoteness. In most of the mountain cities and towns development models have been transported from the plains without much regard to mountain specificity and therefore the environmental consequences have been rather devastating, especially in more fragile valleys.

Traditional cultivation systems have potential for organic production: Mountain areas of the North Eastern States of India and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh have been practicing traditional forms of agriculture called shifting cultivation for centuries that have been blamed for deforestation and environmental degradation. Social and ecological scientists have been documenting evidences and and suggest that shifting cultivation with adequate fallow cycle can guarantee sustainablity. Sedentarisation of agriculture has been a preferred policy for both greater service provision and maintenance of public security. The case study has indicated that, sedentary agriculture alone will not provide food and ecological security besides being culturally inappropriate. A more sustainable solution is community resource management strategy and policy under which land and tree tenure is assured, access to technical and extension service is improved and communities are allowed to chose the crops, and trees, including agro-forestry practices. These have demonstrated that not only food security is qualitatively improved but area under low-intensity shifting cultivation or for that matter nomadic and ranging lifestyle, results in preservation that is evident in parts of the TAR of China and Afghanistan.

Decentralization and devolution can lead to good governance: After 1992 there has been a general trend towards greater devolution of powers to local governments. Most of mountain areas were considered sensitive border areas and were kept under strict watch of central governments or as parts of larger plain dominated governance units that either ignored mountain people?s development needs or awarded them with development projects in terms of roads, infrastructure or industry which were captured by non-mountain intermediaries, civil servants and or local elite thus disrespecting local ecology, culture and needs. Change in mindset has followed the acceptance by governments of the need to accommodate local developmental aspirations, without suspecting secessionist tendencies, which still exist in parts of mountain areas. These social movements and conflicts are about identity politics, caste and class grievances, and protests against general irresponsiveness to local aspirations. Mountain communities that have been given economic freedom and political autonomy to choose the development path have addressed to SMD goals better as shown by case studies of Van Panchayats in Uttarakhand in India and Gilgit Balistan in Pakistan.

2.6.4 Finding a balance among the three pillars of sustainable development

The nature and extent of the problems, issues, gaps and possible solutions in SMD have changed and/or multiplied in some cases since 1992. The multiple challenges and threats are bringing in new perspectives in the region and demanding a new strategy and orientation on the part of scientists, researchers and policy makers for finding a balance among the three SMD pillars. While in the 1970s, the region was concerned about rural development, in the 1980s the shift was to deforestation and soil erosion and general environmental degradation ? all linked to the vicious cycle of population growth, environment degradation, and poverty. The issue of development and environment was thus within the region and the problem was considered to be caused by internal forces leading to unsustainable land use.

In the first decade of the 21st century, and with climate change, the fragile Himalayan ecosystem has come under threat, primarily from external drivers of change. Therefore, the challenge of balanced development in the HKH Mountains faces a set of challenges resulting from its specific geological, socio-cultural and geo-political situation (Moddie, 2008). In the 1990s, globalisation and economic liberalisation swept the region and India and China are emerging as economic and political powers. The analysis below provides indications on how the mountain countries have approached their social, developmental and environmental policies in the HKH region: they have attempted to attain SMD in an un-uniform and unbalanced manner.

Social Pillar: The challenges of reducing poverty that were identified 25 years ago are still real and as imposing as they were. Only the context, in terms of the trends that are unfolding, and in terms of our understanding of the problems, has changed. During the last 20 years mountain poverty has come down but not in terms of absolute numbers and amounts of natural resources used. Even though deforestation and forest degradation was reduced in many countries, they have once again increased due to social conflicts and poor governance in some countries like Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As roads link the remote regions to national and international markets, the very notion of subsistence farming is undergoing a fundamental change, and in many areas it is fast losing relevance. The small farmer in the HKH is facing multiple challenges both from within and outside. There has been slow but steady increase in access to resources including credit, increased literacy, and opening up of new opportunities outside the countries e.g., labour market in emerging economies ? though this remains limited or inaccessible.

Nepal?s economy has been surviving largely on remittances. However, the remittance is not fuelling the rural economy due to lack of investment opportunities, the required entrepreneurship among the youth, and lack of security. The migrants move in increasing numbers with their families from villages to market towns and urban centres. With the increased role of remittances, economies have also exposed themselves to increased vulnerability. Outside interests are benefiting from many opportunities in the mountains ? tourism, biodiversity resources, hydropower, both micro and mega, development. The challenge is to create an enabling and favourable investment climate and security environment where mountain communities can benefit and prosper from these new opportunities.

Although sustainable mountain development is being morphed to green economy, poverty alleviation remains the top challenge for the economies in the HKH. What relation does gradual or fast transition to green economy have with SMD and its outcomes are still unclear? Should mountain regions have specific indicators for measuring the green index such as a Gross Mountain Product (GMP), to draw attention to cost of and benefits could be a way of measuring the use of the ecosystems goods and services? Addressing these and other related questions are crucial for articulating and eventually achieving sustainable mountain development in the HKH region.

Environmental pillar: Global warming and climate change have added a new dimension to our understanding of environment and related challenges. This has brought to fore the complexity of the policies and processes that need to be reformed and/or formulated to redefine the sustainable development path. It is already clear that climate change impacts are much more pronounced on the mountains than on the plains. In two decades since Rio, while the world is back to reinforcing ?sustainable development? through a global transition to low carbon or green economy in which climate change and poverty eradication centre stage. The HKH region, despite economic gains in fast growing developing countries such as in India and China, is struggling to end mountain poverty. The region still hosts more than 400 million of the world?s poor.

Rapidly increasing events and surface warming demand a major shift in the way the critical ecosystem services including rangelands, biodiversity and forestry are managed. While the poverty reduction requires continuation of economic growth, the type of future natural resources management regime needs to incorporate measures to build resilience and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The Himalayan countries face a daunting set of tasks in building more resilient agriculture and natural resources sectors to protect food, energy, water and ecological security. There is also need for greater understanding and response to the threat of climate-induced migration. More than 60 per cent of the economically active population in the HKH depends on agriculture. A pro-growth, pro-poor, and pro- mountain development policy agenda that supports agricultural sustainability, including more targeted adaptive management programme for ecosystem services, can improve resilience. The agriculture and forestry sector can also help mitigate GHG emissions in the HKH region if we can provide appropriate incentives and innovative institutions, capacity building support, technologies, and management systems and by sequestering carbon in standing trees, soils and range lands. Incorporation of agricultural adaptation and mitigation in the on going international climate change negotiations can open opportunities for financing of sustainable growth under climate change constraints in the mountains. Mitigation strategies that support adaptation and development investments with climate change co-benefits should be favoured for enhancing ecosystem services in the mountains.

Economic pillar: The region is faced with challenges that are not only specific to its sub-regions but also those rooted in its socio-cultural distinctiveness. Barring Bhutan, the country that has pioneered Gross National Happiness (GNH) as an indicator of gross happiness based on good conservation of environment, economic development and social and cultural identity, other countries are focused on achieving higher economic growth rates measured by GDP. The later approach is obviously facing questions and challenges mainly for its sustainability. Road networks have made inroads into the mountain and information and communication technologies (ICTs) have connected remote valleys, and even small and large hydro projects have adversely impacted environment and natural habitats. Infrastructure development and ecosystem destruction has kept pace in the mountains, creating economic impact at the cost of forest degradation, and increased hazards in the form of landslides, floods and displacement of people.

2.6.5 What has worked and what has not

Many initiatives on sustainable mountain development have been undertaken in the HKH region and they have led to synergistic impacts and also contributed to learning. The development has often taken place at the cost of losing focus on social equity, economic self-reliance and environmental sustainability ? the three pillars of sustainable development. Some of the key lessons learned are analysed in the following sections.

Accessibility, both physical and electronic, has increased across the region. Extensive road and communication networks have played significant roles in improving access to services and markets. Computers, mobile phones and Internet access have connected remote areas to the mainstream of development. However, while policies across the region have helped reduce the cost, the issue of access, equity and cultural identity has remained unaddressed. Road building has rarely confirmed to the region?s ecological fragility and vulnerability although the concept of ?green roads? was successfully demonstrated by Switzerland ? the Lamosangu-Jiri road ? in Nepal. The gap is non- existence of policies and regulations and where they do exist, the little attention there is on implementation. How availability of technologies have enhanced options for mountain communities to adapt and survive at cheaper costs by reaching out to wider market opportunities remains to be assessed.

In recent years, many examples of grassroots, medium-scale, and state level initiatives have emerged and these have potential for building on the existing momentum to reverse the negative trends of environmental degradation. This has been demonstrated by various case studies.

? Community-led initiatives in the ecologically fragile and economically-vulnerable mountain valleys of Gilgit-Balistan and Chitral have demonstrated the virtue of micro hydro projects, both as means to weather unreliable power supply and to leverage carbon credits for expanding the reach of such projects. While 240 micro-hydro units (10 MW) are operative, 103 such units are to be built over next seven years.

? In terms of number of plants and per capita biogas generation, Nepal has conclusively demonstrated the efficacy of an eco-friendly technology. With 93 per cent of the 243,065 domestic biogas plants operating effectively, there has been a 30 per cent reduction in the use of firewood. Since biogas has been covered under the Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement, CDM has opened a new opportunity for further promotion of the technology.

The impact of community-led decentralised energy generation notwithstanding, many parts of the HKH region have been converted into power-houses for generating hydroelectric power for use in the plains. Within the framework of SMD, there is need for a policy push in favour of private sector participation for low-carbon energy development options in the mountains with adequate safeguards for inclusive development and local benefits. Lateral and vertical integration of communities in local administration is critical to attain equity and justice. There are inspiring initiatives across the region but their integration in existing institutions have been lacking. Some of the promising initiatives are discussed below.

? Uplands of North-east India, comprising of the eight states, are one of the most under developed regions in India. Through an IFAD-supported NERCOM project, the region is now focusing on interventions that are technically, appropriate, culturally sensitive and institutionally effective, for which a ?genuine partnership between communities, government and others? has been forged to ensure that the interventions are demand-driven and client oriented.

? Van Panchayats are managing 16 per cent of state?s total area in 11 hill districts of the Uttarakhand state and are examples of decentralized planning and management for access and benefit sharing of forest resources. As a consequence, ecosystem services emanating from the forest of Uttarakhand are worth USD 50 billion per year. The Government of India has allocated USD 272 million to forest rich states for better managing their forests for 2005- 2010. This fund has been increased by 10 per cent to be used over the next five years.

? Since its inception in mid 1970s, Nepal?s community forestry programme has been the largest and longest participatory green initiative wherein 40 per cent of the population has been involved in managing 25 per cent of country?s forest area. The programme is inclusive and equitable and has also been able to address socio-political and environmental concerns at the national and regional levels. Emerging carbon and PES in the form of REDD+ are exposing local communities to a competitive world wherein protecting community rights would be yield triple dividends ? mitigation by sequestering carbon, adaptation by conserving biodiversity and watersheds and reducing poverty by improving livelihoods.

Created experimentally, such institutions have proven to work with true local participation from planning to benefit sharing and have the potential to be expanded with legal protections. Though these approaches also suggest that one-size-does-not-fit-all, their strength lies in the diversity of approaches to suit varied socio-economic situations and therefore the potential for generating knowledge and disseminating it in other mountain regions. Such bottoms-up institutions also strengthen the three pillars of SMD and ought to be preserved through legal provisions.

Many areas in the HKH region have been the last to open up to outside forces and processes. Though the rate of opening has been varied, markets have penetrated faster and deeper into the mountain hinterlands and areas with very little government presence. Efforts have also been made to connect the communities with markets but the challenge has been to protect and enhance local livelihoods in the process.

? With over 1.020 million small tea farmer households as members, the West Garo Hills Tea Farmers Federation has been able to arrest price crashes and ensure better returns for growers. The next step is to solicit support to set up a tea-processing factory and open up the option of the growers in adding value to their produce, and marketing finished product. The federation has set an example and demonstrated that alliances of small producers with a supportive administration can help them to take charge of their livelihood options and move towards economic development. Markets are not intrinsically bad and the existence of powerful and committed intermediary institutions with knowledge, legitimacy and joint venture links can increase the bargaining power of local mountain people and such efforts can result in win-win opportunities.

? In the state of Uttarakhand, India, the setting up of the Organic Board has reduced the transaction costs of having a reliable institution for certified organic products. The right institution-at-the-right-place greatly enhances the carrying capacity, resilience, sustainability and social equity goals of SMD. When they are backstopped with proper legal support, they can take off to a national scale as is the case of community forest management led by FECOFUN in Nepal, Van Panchayats and organic farmers in India.

Markets for mountain good and services are important for the green economy or low carbon growth path. Following the failure of the Kyoto Protocol and other multilateral agreements to allocate global warming penalties to historical polluters, there is now a shift towards decoupling economic growth from greenhouse pollution. There is a great shift towards a low carbon economy and India and China are already making great strides in this direction (see the green indicators in the chart attached). The scale of impact in reducing global warming by mountain areas of the HKH region might be modest but they serve as important learning experiences for leveraging new marketable opportunities.

? One opportunity that can be stressed is the greater need for regional and national institutions to help local mountain communities tap to national and global resources for accessing markets, availing public services, and gaining legitimacy and power to influence through instruments such as Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC). Such institutions can promote sustainable mountain development more effectively.

Despite political and economic uncertainty, the HKH region has been a veritable laboratory of innovative approaches towards SMD. It is, however, another matter that neither has these approaches have not been integrated nor scaled up to desired levels for creating impact. As a consequence, the social pillar in the form of social and gender equity and equality, has largely remained unachieved and poverty has continued to persist. The challenge is to build upon existing initiatives from an equitable poverty alleviation perspective.

? Good work on watershed management must be sustained, value-added and up-scaled. Climate Change adaptation can piggyback watershed projects in conflict ridden regions like Afghanistan, Nepal and North-east India where conserving soil and water for addressing food security is critical. Elsewhere in the region, watershed management alone can help reduce siltation in large dams viz., Tarbela in Pakistan as shown by the case study. Watershed management can be multi-purpose approach and also help address equity concerns.

Sustainable mountain development calls for integration of thinking and action around diverse approaches. Multidisciplinary in approach, interdisciplinary in thinking and trans-disciplinary in actions would be the way to go for achieving the elusive goal of sustainability in the mountains. This would need empowering communities, educating and engaging youth and re-crafting and strengthening supportive institutions.

2.7 Progress in poverty reduction, social and environmental sectors

According to the MDG progress report, China has achieved the highest progress in poverty reduction by bringing the percentage of people below the poverty line from 60.2 per cent in 1990 to 15.9 per cent in 2005. Pakistan has also reported a very good success and brought poverty numbers down from 64.7 per cent to 22.6 per cent. Bangladesh and Bhutan have also made modest progress while Nepal and India are poor performers (Annex 1, Table 2).

Bhutan has the highest literacy rates among the Women and China has the highest literacy rates for both the male and females among the HKH countries (Annex 1, Chart 1). In terms of occupation, close to 50 per cent of the mountain people are still engaged in farming and animal husbandry, with the highest numbers in China?s mountainous provinces (Annex 1, Chart. 2). Mountain people across the region perceive food and fodder shortages as the most likely crises in the future (Chart 3). Mountain households in Afghanistan are the poorest (79%) followed by Nepal (27%) and Pakistan (20%); their incomes are less than USD 500/year (Annex 1, Chart 4). Animal dung, shrubs and branches, and firewood are the major sources of domestic energy for more than 90 per cent of mountain people in China, Nepal and Bhutan (Annex 1, Chart 5).

Among the environmental indicators in the region, both China and India have increased their CO2 emission by 50 per cent between 1990 and 2005. In terms of the energy use, Bangladesh has the highest GDP per unit of energy use at PPP b$ 9.8/kg. oil equivalent followed by China and India but the highest growth is once again in China ( 2.1 to 4.4 Kg oil equivalent) (Annex 1 Table 3).

In terms of land cover change, during 1990-2005 China increased it tree cover from 16.8 percent to 21.2 percent and India from 21.5 percent to 22.8 percent. In terms of deforestation rate, Afghanistan lost 3.1 percent of its forest cover per year followed by Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar. During this period, Nepal?s forest cover came down from 33.7% to 25.4% (Annex 1 Table 3).

PART III: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable mountain development

3.0 General overview

The HKH region faces enormous environmental, political, social and developmental challenges. The scale of the challenge is shown by the fact that out of the six countries which account for almost 50 per cent of the annual growth of the human population in the world, four belong to the HKH region ? India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (UNPD 2001). This demographic challenge, which over the years has rapidly changed the region from a nature-dominated landscape to a human dominated environment, is expected to result in acceleration in the rate of environmental degradation and natural resource use, and an increase in the vulnerability of mountain societies and economies due to pressure for more natural resources for meeting the increasing demands for food, energy, biodiversity and water. It is clear that major natural processes ? local, regional and global ? will be influenced by increased human activity, creating a much higher degree of complexity through the interaction of human, natural, economic and political driving forces (Messerli et al. 2000, Steffen et al. 2004). Climate change will aggravate and accelerate the socio-economic and demographic challenges with devastating consequences.

Without going into the complex arguments, scientific controversies and/or political disagreements to challenges mentioned above, this report uses most recent data, information and knowledge and presents findings from the perspectives of climate change, disasters, economic growth, and social and political conflicts juxtaposed in the context of democratisation, devolution, good governance, and growing global attention on the HKH region.

Two years after the Earth Summit, the average living standards have improved but so has poverty, deprivation and gaps between rich and poor. Although decentralised and devolved governance have been pursued, conflicts have multiplied and the rising social aspirations and quests for identity politics are threatening the pace of development. Global market forces have made deep inroads into the region but out-migration continues to depress local production potentials. Some SMD has been achieved in parts of the HKH but others are either not learning or the customisation and transfer of knowledge and south-south collaborations are not taking place as much as they should.

3.1 Emerging trends and opportunities for sustainable mountain development

Climate change has brought about complex problems but for mountain countries it has also opened up a number of opportunities. For example, increasing warming in the highlands also mean that a number of new crops can be cultivated and also new pasture and forest species can appear at higher slopes. This also allows new forms of scientific explorations and livelihood pursuits.

What is required is rethinking of mountain development for building ecological infrastructures not only to produce goods for subsistence but to also generate services that can benefit downstream communities (e.g., water storage). However, environment being an overriding concern, the approach has to be on building resilience of successful programmes (e.g. community forestry, biogas energy and organic farming) and on addressing poverty and inequity, improving property rights and governance. Other emerging opportunities for SMD include expansion of green practices, such ecotourism, high-value mountain products, and harnessing mountain forestry for carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation with in-built mechanisms to address equity and environmental sustainability concerns.

3.1.1 Building on the success stories and learning from the failures The links between mountain resources and sustainable livelihoods in the HKH region are intricate and tightly knit; almost 1.3 billion people rely on the limited mountain resources, especially water. In Bhutan, for instance, an estimated 78 per cent of the population are rural dwellers and depend extensively on mountain resources to sustain livelihoods. The situation is somewhat similar in Afghanistan, Nepal, and Myanmar. Tighter demographic controls, quest for long-term conservation and policies for harnessing hydro-power resources are helping Bhutan to attain higher GNH.

In Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, countries are united by geography and thereby face common problems, issues and challenges. But the political landscape is different and climate change, political instability and transboundary contentions threaten the region?s ability to thrive and prosper. From the perspective of SMD, the HKH region has not been a success story largely because of the inability of the countries to implement the sustainable development agenda they signed on at Rio. The failure is partly also because of the multiple crises such as climate change, energy crises, food insecurity, increased disasters and growing conflicts. These have made mountain communities more vulnerable and perhaps less resilient, and the region more fragile 2. However, the opportunities to manage water, biodiversity including agro biodiversity, tourism and agriculture are immense. For this the region would need effective regional co-operation and collaboration in sharing policy and institutional support, financial backing, multi-stakeholder partnerships and above all, learn from each other.

3.1.2 Scope for Green Economy for sustainable development and poverty reduction

Markets for mountain good and services, which are invariably natural and increasingly organic or environmental friendly, have been growing. For example, the global trade in herbal medicines including pharmaceutical and neutraceuticals based on medicinal and aromatic plants is estimated at USD 120 billion/year where China?s share is between USD 5-10 billion and that of India about USD one billion/year. Green economy has attracted global attention as a major agenda at the Rio+20 conferences. Due to the failure of the Kyoto Protocol to mitigate the alarming increase in global warming, especially in the mountains and with the prospects of reaching no legal agreement on GHC replacement at the end of 2012, there is now a shift towards decoupling economic growth from GHC related issues. There is global agreement that all countries have common but differentiated responsibilities to pursue low carbon economic growth paths. India and China are already making strides in this direction. The scale of impact of global warming on the HKH Mountains is one of the highest and it is plausible to argue for global policies and financial support to a transition to a green economy in the mountainous regions. The transition to a low carbon economy involves gigantic domestic resource allocation on the Green Economy, estimated at USD1.4 trillion a year by the global communities. The HKH countries are not in a position to mobilise such resources.

The modest scale of mountain economy terms of the green economy is underscored in the state of Uttarakhand in India. Tolia (2011) found that the plains-based economy had the fruits of green revolution in agriculture pushing GDP growth by around 8-9 per cent a year while the hill economy remained at 2-3 per cent and was limited to forest and rain-fed agriculture. The over-riding theme is that while progress and change in the HKH region might be unprecedented by historical comparison to its own records, such changes have been eclipsed by change in the larger non-mountain economies. As result the mountains have remained invisible on national and global agendas.

Climate change and eradication of poverty take the centre stage in sustainable mountain development. The global focus is on green economy but the number one priority in developing mountain countries is poverty alleviation ? including the mountainous regions of India and China. What relation does this Asian transition to green economy have on SMD? Is there need for developing a mountain specific indicator like GMP (Global Mountain Product) to draw attention to costs of and benefits of development in the mountains, instead relying only on GDP?

Some of the specific issues and questions relating to situating the green economy in the context of sustainable mountain development are: a) How to build documentary evidence of national and regional/global influence or contribution of the ecological footprints of mountains? b) What specific roles can mountains play in transforming the ?brown? economy of the countries to green economy since the current perception and opinion of the national policy makers is that it may be marginal and negligible. For example, in national reports for Agenda 21, chapter 13, the policy space allotted to mountains is very small. It is therefore challenging to use the green economy plank for leveraging more space in national policies.

Global effects of climate change on mountain ecosystem services and globalisation are eroding local culture and values, traditional management systems and knowhow and rules of natural resources governance. Therefore, land use and ultimately local environment management need special analysis and focus. Climate change compensation funding instruments may simply be a change of the label of development aid to make it part of climate change action/green economy support with attached conditionality.

Access to funds remains slow and requires specialised human resources, relevant data and legal regime, and grant seeking is generally a difficult and tedious process to go through. Demand for SMD must therefore articulate local payoff mechanisms as part of global green economy, such as low carbon economy. Decoupling the economy and GHG emissions is fine but there should be a separate window for funding for mountain development.

The green economy focus on production should include the negative implications of unbridled consumerism. One pertinent question to ask will be: Can the green economy actually deliver in terms of changing ground realities for indigenous, local and poor people and rewards (through PES, REDD, REDD+) for good environment stewardship and helping in carbon sequestration through good forest management and use of indigenous knowledge for ecological farming?

Balance between social and environment, and institutional and economic issues; and emphasis on equity and inclusion in the green economy are important. Countries, states and mountain areas should be ranked on their progress on SMD to draw attention to the lack of success on the three pillars of sustainable development.

Ethical values of justice can be explored through suitable international policies for mountains for seeking just redress and rewards for mountain peoples from regional (downstream) or global restitution for the loss and damage caused to mountain ecosystem goods and services alongside provisions for restoring ecosystem services.

It has been scientifically established that the HKH region influences global climatic systems through jet flows, heat exchanges and the distribution of climatic change and that is could be affected by the adverse impacts of climate change on fresh water resources, biodiversity, food security and disasters. The mountainous regions therefore need to be compensated for the damage and loss through suitable climate and non-climate finance mechanisms.

The HKH region is particularly vulnerable to extinction of globally important biodiversity, threatening future sources of medicines, food and other non-timber forest products ? all of which are essential to fuel a green economy. Many of these genetic resources are being forced to move higher up the slopes on account of climate change, causing habitat degradation and replacement.

3.2 Green Economy: Driving factors and key issues for the HKH Mountains

A recently released preview of the 2011 Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), a robust analytic tool ranking expert perceptions of national green reputations against a new custom index of 37 datasets measuring their performance, indicated that China, the second largest green house gas emitter, is also the second in green performance. (www.dualcitizeninc.com/ggei2011.pdf)

However, to date, there is no unified view among the HKH countries on what represents and drives a green economy and there is also no clarity on what it means for the Mountains 3. We need to identify opportunities from developing and least developed mountain country contexts for promoting SMD, and identify specific and strategic approaches to implement green and low-carbon economy concepts. There is a need for new global policies and finance to support poverty reduction and sustainable development through green economy solutions. Here the critical role of good governance cannot be overstressed. The key outcomes that can be desirable for mountains is a mountain ecosystem services- based economy that is both pro-poor and pro-growth and addresses the issues of ecological fragility, social inequity (creating employment for the poor and reducing inequality and marginality) and economic underdevelopment (by reducing poverty and reducing costs of living) that is run by mountain communities and supported by suitable and capable national and regional agencies.

3.2.1 Green Economy: opportunities

Green economy has ample opportunities in the mountain eco-systems but there also are risks. Any green and low carbon solutions in mountain regions should create jobs, promote access to markets and prioritise poverty reduction. Green economy transition in developing and least-developed countries should not constrain the policy space of countries to pursue their development paths, which have been limited. There is a need for a separate programme of work for mountains in the UNCSD process to develop green growth pathways in the mountainous regions by recognising, valuing, and realising the ecosystem goods and services produced by the mountains.

3.2.2 Green Economy: challenges

Mountain countries will face numerous challenges in adapting and adopting green economy policies. Different countries are interpreting green economy differently and are embarking on different approaches to promote green growth concepts and practices to achieve sustainable development and SMD. Some authors are equating green economy and sustainable development, which is not correct. Green economy can be a means to achieve the end i.e., SMD in the mountains. The common challenges mountain countries are or will face are: How to document good green economy relevant cases on which the future pathway can be charted correctly? How effective are the approaches, and what lessons can be learnt from the experiences?

3.3 Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD)

According to the Rio+20 Secretariat 4 ?a key motivation for the Rio+20 Conference to include this agenda is the lack of progress in the achievement of agreed sustainable development goals? across the globe. The general objective of this theme is to achieve ?the overall integration of environment and development issues at national, sub-regional, regional and international levels, including in the UN systems?. Some of the key issues identified were: a) lack of implementation of commitments; b) absence of national setup and lack of mainstreaming; c) lack of capacity building, d) lack of coordination and integration among and between sectors, and e) lack of accountability. These were all relevant and true for the HKH region.

Therefore, IFSD in the context of the HKH region should aim to identify the actors at local, national and regional levels and set out the functions of institutions for achieving better coherence and coordination among agencies implementing sustainable development activities, especially in the mountains. Although the UNDESA is focusing more on reforming the UN systems based on the ?one UN? concept, for the HKH mountain countries, the need is to reform the traditional and overly bureaucratic national and regional institutions into modern service delivery type of organisations bringing in more transparency, accountability, good governance and knowledge management. Replacing and reforming out dated policies, reconciling the contradictions among different overlapping policies and implementing the laws and policies will be equally important. In general, there is lack of coherence, coordination and effective monitoring of progress based on agreed targets at all levels. Therefore, any new institutional framework must avoid overlaps and duplication of activities, and synergies need to be achieved in programming efforts of international as well as national organisations through enhanced participation of all stakeholders for attaining good governance.

3.3.1 Key challenges for institutional strengthening for SMD

Mountain countries and regions face multiple challenges in creating good institutional framework and more importantly, for avoiding the past track record of poor implementation of SMD commitments and policies. The latter was caused by weak national setups and lack of capacity, coordination, and integration efforts that need to be addressed effectively to ensure clear institutional functions and accountability safeguards at all levels.

3.3.2 Role of research-based knowledge and information

Developing proper institutional framework will also have to consider the role of research organisations both at national and regional levels for filling the knowledge gap. SMD issues in the HKH are of transboundary nature e.g., water, biodiversity, markets, and quality standardisation for green products. Before transforming into a green economy, these countries must set green accounting policies and green technology adaptation institutions to assist the shift from GDP to GMP. Consumerism today is a driver of change, changing values and attitudes of the people, but in the green economy context consumers need to also give premium to green products that will require awareness raising, in which data and information will play an important role.

3.4 Role of technology and technical capacity building

Green economy will require ?green technologies? that will need a suitable framework and mechanism for enabling technology adaptation, retrofitting, and transfer to developing mountain countries. Therefore, strengthening of multi-lateral and research institutions focusing on mountain friendly technologies and knowhow, given the specificity of mountain systems, should be a pre-requisite in the new institutional framework.

Promotion and transition towards a green economy need capacity development in education, research, advocacy and policy reforms. Similarly, enabling policies and institutions are needed to provide necessary incentives to producers of mountain-based ecosystem goods and services. Regional as well as upstream-downstream approaches are needed for promoting green markets and for addressing the challenges of poverty, biodiversity loss, trade barriers and climate change. In summary, there is a need to develop a green economy roadmap for the mountains in the HKH region based on comparative advantages in terms of different eco-systems niches and/or those where nations have and building competitive advantages through training, skills development, provision of appropriate technologies and financial support. Capacity building of policy makers remains the utmost priority because good policies are needed to drive the new development process.

3.5 Opportunities for social and gender equity and inclusion

Future work under this topic needs to focus on achieving equitable and inclusive sustainable development. Development that reduces economic poverty and enables all groups of people in contributing to creating opportunities, in sharing benefits, and participating in decision-making will go a long way in ensuring that SMD makes a real difference to both Women and men equally. Gender inclusive development means that a number of issues that affect the differentiated relationship between and among Women and men and their ability to participate in the green economy and environmental resource governance in the HKH region are taken seriously. In a rapidly changing climate, environment and socio-cultural context, Women need to assume active leadership and decision-making positions. The challenge development interventions face will be how sustainable development measures and policies take into account the prominent role of Women and gendered knowledge in shaping an equitable and inclusive green economy, natural resource management and for ensuring access to and provision of development resources (water, information, education, health, income, agricultural inputs, etc.). Taking into account the role of Women in the mountains, especially in agriculture and natural resources management, institutions need to be supported in strengthening their resilience to climate change impacts mainly in the context of valuing indigenous knowledge, the sustenance of low-carbon development pathways and SMD. Research also needs to focus on the collection and analysis of gender-disaggregated data, indicators and differentiated experiences of Women and men as they adapt to multiple drivers of change.

The initial findings of ICIMOD?s the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) work indicate that Women in general are more vulnerable than men to climate change as they face more social, cultural, economic and political barriers that limit their ability to cope and access resources that are critical for livelihoods and survival. At the same time, they are also at the frontline of climate change (Nellemann, Verma and Hislop 2011). Women?s increased responsibilities, indigenous knowledge and stewardship in managing natural resources, households, communities, environments and income generating activities in the context of the migration of males, and rapid economic changes, position them well in contributing to effective strategies for adaptation to climate and global changes (HICAP Bulletin, ICIMOD/CICERO/UNEP/GRID Arandal 2011).

3.6 Role of regional institution for sustainable development of the HKH Mountains

3.6.1 Overview

Given the growing interest in mountain issues among the HKH countries and the changing regional and global contexts, the role of regional institutions will have to match with the growing expectations of regional and international stakeholders. The views expressed by the regional stakeholders, indicate that organisations such as ICIMOD will have a challenging role ahead as a result of the impacts of global climate and environmental changes and ongoing regional socio-political and economic transformations. The growing importance of the Himalayan ecosystems goods and services need more collective and concerted management actions at the regional level to ensure sustainable development. Since issues such as freshwater shortage, increasing natural hazards, environment pollution, ecosystem degradation, rapid melting of ice, loss of biodiversity, persistent poverty and increasing vulnerability, and human insecurity are common and interconnected issues, they will need common solutions. (Schild, 2008; and Jodha, Karki and Yadav, 2008) Coordinated efforts from all countries of the region, and continuous support from global development partners will be needed to address the challenges. The changing regional context offers an increased role for regional knowledge development, sharing and enabling institutions. Some of works that can help in the promotion of SMD goals are given below.

3.6.2 Promoting the mountain agenda globally

While the role of mountain systems as a provider of essential services to the global community has been recognised, regional countries and relevant international organisations have to set priorities in support of mountains. Regional institutions can play an important role in raising awareness, and providing concrete data and evidence on Himalayan ecosystems and environment in order to enhance regional and global commitment and actions to support sustainable development in the HKH Mountains, while strengthening upstream-downstream relationships.

3.6.3 Facilitating regional cooperation

While the need for transboundary regional cooperation has now been realised, implementation is a real challenge given the difficult geo-political situation. ICIMOD as a non-political regional knowledge-based organisation has been providing a neutral and common platform for knowledge exchange, sharing and learning. This can facilitate regional dialogue and cooperation among the HKH countries, and enhance common understanding on sustainable solutions

3.6.4 Facilitating information and knowledge sharing for disaster risk reduction and resilience building

The HKH region is classified as the most vulnerable region due to its exposure to multiple risks of extreme events and natural disasters including landslides, floods, droughts, and glacial lake outburst floods that can endanger sustainable development infrastructure. Reducing the risk of natural disasters is critical for poverty alleviation and for sustaining development efforts. There is a need for a regional organisation that can play the role of a catalyst in sharing information and real time data in order to reduce such risks and vulnerabilities.

3.6.5 Reducing scientific uncertainties and knowledge gaps

There is a lack of mountain disaggregated data. Easy availability of accurate socio-economical, environmental and biophysical data is vital for policymakers, resource managers and researchers for sustainable management and allocation of limited natural, human and financial resources for achieving sustainable development. Data generated by national and international institutions in the HKH region are often of a national nature. There is a need for an agency that can contribute by developing and continuously tracking the trends of key indicators of sustainable development.

3.6.6 Valuing mountain ecosystem services

In the context of green economy, there has to be proper valuation of the role of the Himalayan mountain system as the providers of critical ecosystem goods and services. These include water, watersheds, biodiversity, and rangelands, its role as regulator of regional and global air circulations, as a destination for eco-tourism, and in pollination through indigenous honey bees. These values need to be translated into enabling policies and actions to help reorient national and global policies towards HKH region resulting in increased investment in research, conservation and development. Providing more realistic economic value for these green services is possible through carbon financing tools such as REDD+, PES and other compensation mechanisms. This is expected to provide incentives to the mountain people to sustainably manage and preserve the vital goods and services while enhancing their own livelihoods by practicing sustainable resources management.

3.6.7 Facilitating cross-country learning in sustainable mountain development solutions

The new agenda of the green economy and good environmental governance will require new knowledge, technologies, and capacities. Although institutions have been generating valuable knowledge in the HKH, the knowledge has largely been country specific. Regional institutions can play an important role in consolidating this knowledge, bringing in regional perspectives and facilitating cross-boundary learning for promoting multi-disciplinary and integrated approaches that can enhance SMD.

3.6.8 Accessing and customizing global knowledge for the HKH region

Scientific knowledge, experiences, simple technologies, and good practices generated in other mountain systems of the world especially the Alps, the Andes, and the Pacific mountains, might have relevance for conservation and sustainable development in the Himalayas. However, external knowledge, technologies and practices may not always suit the needs in the HKH region due to different socioeconomic contexts and capacity levels. Tailor making, retrofitting and customising the tools, technologies and knowledge are needed and this can be done by a regional sustainable development organisation.

3.6.9 Networking and building partnerships

Mountains provide global services and therefore promotion of the mountain agenda will need regional and global partnerships and networking. ICIMOD has its footprints in Chapter 13 and has been an active member of different global forums on mountains and mountain development, while focusing in the HKH region. Therefore, in order to play the role as a specialised agency on mountain issues, it will have to build strategic partnerships with relevant regional and global organisations with a view to promoting symbiotic and synergistic relationships to better address the multiple challenges confronting the HKH region and their implications at global level.

3.7 Conclusions

a) Our analysis of the case studies and e-discussion outputs indicate that mountain people have not been the real drivers of change in the HKH Mountains. The key players or drivers have been the people in power ? the political leaders, bureaucrats, non-governmental actors and international development players including donors. Traditional or public sector institutions are generally centralised and function in archaic ways ? still they have been the predominant drivers of change. Changes have occurred since the Rio 92 summit ? both spatially and temporally ? and some have been for the better, others for the worst. Historically speaking, as argued by an e-conference contributor, the HKH Mountains have been the refuge for people who escaped the violence of wars and social conflicts in the plains. The prevailing peace and tranquillity allowed them to develop unique socio-cultural ?bonding? with the mountains. However, due to neglect, marginality and poverty, these mountain communities have generally been the losers in the seemingly good processes of decentralisation, devolution and governance.

b) In general, changes introduced by successive regimes have been at the cost of peace and harmony of co-existence in the HKH Mountains. Peace has meant more than just the absence of war. New kinds of conflicts over sharing and appropriating natural resources such as water, forest, pasture, and biodiversity have been simmering all across, going beyond the management capacity of the traditional social institutions. Seemingly beyond repair, the undesirable changes of the past can only be reversed by engaging and connecting with diverse mountain dwellers in multi-stakeholder discussion and dialogue frameworks by creating a neo-institutional mechanism of nurturing green economy that suits the mountain people, and by investing in developing technology conducive to the fragile Himalayan geo-morphology.

c) Translating good intentions into sustainable or smart actions would warrant re-thinking new institutional frameworks and developing good governance practices while promoting a low- carbon growth path in the HKH Mountains. There is a downstream demographic push to extract more resources and pressure the ecological balance in some parts of the HKH region. Multi-pronged strategy through education, awareness raising, making the playing field level, developing enabling policies, and creating institutional spaces can help in creative management of the growing demand on mountain resources and services. Learning from local cultures, rebuilding on local knowledge, and strengthening good practices could be crucial drivers of change. Participatory conflict resolution techniques as practiced in the Philippines may also be useful in the HKH communities.

d) Trans-boundary nature of natural resources, especially water, and cross-border relations in managing the mountain resources has yet to get the attention the issues deserve. Should not the countries of the region develop joint policies, programmes, regulations and institutions for sustainable development of the HKH region? They should ? perhaps ? given that they share many common problems and potential solutions. Only cross-scale and cross-border linkages can help resolve the complexities of equitable sharing of natural resources across diverse social systems. Clearly, there is a case for negotiating out-of-the-box solutions, which should be possible through collaboration and co-operation amongst the key players involved in sustainable management of the HKH Mountains.

e) It is understood that a diverse group of people are aiming to influence the Rio+20 agenda and are interpreting and positioning the green economy agenda using their own understanding and contexts. From the HKH region, the views are that the green economy should not be an alternate to sustainable development that was agreed 20 years ago. Instead it should be a revamped mechanism to reinvigorate the SMD. The crucial question for the mountain is: what form of the green economy can be a good instrument for addressing the problems? Like sustainable development, which has limitations in terms of its interpretation and application, the green economy too can be applied at cross-purposes and that should be avoided.

f) It is being argued that the ?top down? agenda of the green economy is to break the current inertia in the global climate change debate. The views of the HKH mountain regions, however, are that the gain for the environmental pillar need not be a loss for the economic pillar if the green economy can be made to deliver green products and green jobs. Therefore, a balanced approach is needed while promoting green economy concepts in the mountains. Issues of scale, indigenous peoples? rights to resources, and the poverty reduction related outcomes of green economy will be important to consider more than the agenda itself. The green economy concept has already been criticised as being heavy on technology, financial and human resources. Therefore its implications on feasibility, sustainability and gender dimensions must be critically examined. Also important is addressing governance issues, especially social and gender equity and participation of stakeholders in design, implementation and benefit sharing of green economy initiatives.

g) It is clear that the proposed or evolving development and institutional frameworks for any low-carbon or green growth agenda should clearly and properly reflect the needs and aspirations of the mountain people. The drivers for the transformation to green economy and new institutional governance should be the people of the mountain regions and not external forces who might fund and benefit from the initiatives. Change agents and community leaders should be the real drivers of change.

Policy messages

h) From the discussions of challenges, issues, and opportunities above it can be concluded that SMD from the perspective of sustainable mountain development in the HKH region has not been a success story. The main reasons for this are the emergence of new and multiple challenges and crises such as climate change, energy crises, food insecurity, market meltdown, increased disasters and growing conflicts. Together, the global, regional and local drivers of change have made the mountain communities more vulnerable, exposed to new risks and therefore, less resilient. The resulting impact on downstream populations could be more severe owing to increasing occurrences of extreme events such as floods and droughts. However, there are also some opportunities for mountain communities. What is lacking is awareness, knowledge, change of mind-sets and above all, good policies and institutional frameworks.

i) The Mountain Agenda cannot be revived for the sake of the mountains alone. It would need to be argued for all from the upstream-downstream perspective, showing the importance of the mountain ecosystem goods and services in a wider context. Equitable and enabling trade regimes, cross border co-operation, knowledge management, common markets, combined with benefit sharing mechanisms by harnessing water resources and promoting public- private-civil society partnership could be the new rallying points for developing a comprehensive green economy agenda for the mountains. A shift from the piecemeal watershed approach to the higher level, of integrated river basin approach with cross-sectoral integration, is vital for addressing the impending challenges including climate change and food security. Mountains specific institutions also need to be strengthened through capacity enhancement and expansion of knowledge because 20th century institutions cannot resolve 21st century problems.

j) The case studies and e-discussions have captured the essential contours of the emerging issues and the impending challenges in mountain development. In the lead up to the Rio+20 summit the task will be to get stronger, incremental and meaningful political and financial commitments from member country leaders so that mountain friendly green economy programmes and instruments get the desired attention that is needed for converting the green opportunities into economic incentives for the vulnerable mountain communities. Least developed and developing mountain countries and regions will also need easy development finance, technology adaptation and transfer mechanisms, and concessional market access for green products.

k) The role and importance of ecosystem goods and services of the HKH Mountains has increased with clear recognition that they have equal or higher role for downstream countries as well as the outside world. The global view of mountains has also shifted towards developing better understanding on the specificity of mountain systems. Enhanced appreciation of Asian mountains as the drivers of change is perfectly timed for renewed attention to the issues and challenges for developing a mountain agenda that is imaginative and forward looking both for the mountain dwellers and those who live downstream.

l) Although costly, mountain countries must invest in green projects and carry out necessary policy reforms to provide incentives to sectors such as agriculture, natural resources and industrial development for promoting green technologies and practices in the mountains.

m) Regional cooperation is necessary for promoting the green economy and good environmental governance since accessing markets, finance and technologies will be critical for the green economy to succeed.

n) Green economy based on national conditions and context can provide opportunities to promote human wellbeing and intergenerational equity and the mountains can contribute significantly to make it happen.

o) Rio+20 should be an opportunity for not only reinforcing the spirit of Agenda 21 but must be a step forward for bringing the environmental and social pillars of SMD at par with the economic pillar in terms of importance in order to harmonise the global processes in favour of mountains and other vulnerable countries because the mountains matter to everyone, in terms of the broader roles they play in regulating the natural global systems.

Annexes (UNDESA: Please Reference Full Submission for Annexes)

Sustainable Mountain Development

In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) ? commonly referred to as ?Rio 1992? or ?the Rio Earth Summit? ? mountains received unexpected high political attention. They were granted a chapter in the ?Agenda 21? as fragile ecosystems that matter for humankind.

Since then, a wide range of efforts by different actors have been undertaken to promote ?Sustainable Mountain Development?. Some of them relate to the above event others just emerged on their own. However, in view of the forthcoming UN Conference ?Rio +20? in 2012 it seems relevant to assess and understand what has been achieved by whom and how. It appears equally important to learn what has worked or not and why in order to draw lessons for more effective interventions in future. The anticipation of possible future challenges or opportunities may further help to be better prepared for their management. This will certainly encompass the adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change as the ?main stream concern of the last decade? well as probably the ?new mainstream paradigm? of Green Economy. But as in the past, major unexpected and unpredictable political, social, economic or even technological changes and innovations may overshadow any of these mainstreams.

In this complex world of today, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation as one of the most committed agents in global Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) over the past 20 years, has commissioned a number of regional reports to assess achievements and progress in major mountain regions such as in particular Central Asia, Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) and the South East Pacific, South and Meso America or the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) has commissioned - in the context of the Swiss Presi- dency of the Alpine Convention 2011/12 ? a specific report on the Alps. In addition, UNEP has provided a separate report on Eastern Europe and started compiling a report on Africa?s mountains.

The insights gained through these assessments in which key local, regional and global actors have been actively involved are meant to feed into a range of processes such as the UN Secretary General?s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability (commonly referred to as ?GSP?), the preparation of the UN Conference in Rio 2012 and possibly the next cycle of the ?Commission for Sustainable Development? (CSD) or its possible successor structure. The present document is to be considered as a ?work in progress?. Hence the Organizers of the ?Lucerne World Mountain Confer- ence? highly welcome inputs, feedbacks, and suggestions for further improvement.

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