Countries of the Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region have now started pondering about the creation of the Himalayan council. This idea was discussed during a Knowledge Forum on Climate-Resilient Development jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, India, Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Koshi Basin Programme and Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme on 16 – 17th June 2016 at India Habitat Center, New Delhi. The idea is inspired by the Arctic Council which, in its 20 years of existence now has contributed a lot in addressing issues of relevance to the Arctic Region and its peoples. Although the countries of the Himalayas have made remarkable progress in socioeconomic development in recent years, challenges persist in ensuring food and nutritional security, ending hunger and poverty, and providing access to safe water and clean energy to the burgeoning population. Poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and poor health are widespread in this region. Leaders in the region have committed to end poverty and hunger, ensure food and water security, provide clean energy, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and promote inclusive growth and climate resilient development as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. However, achieving these goals requires integrated solutions, inter-sectoral coordination, the efficient and sustainable use of land, water, energy and ecosystems, the strengthening of upstream-downstream linkages, and increased regional and sub-regional coordination and communication. The creation of the Himalayan Council was thus proposed as one of the solutions by this Knowledge Forum on Climate Resilient Development which had the objective of identifying innovative ideas and integrated solutions for upstream-downstream linkages, increased regional and sub-regional communication, and inter-sectoral coordination for inclusive growth and climate resilient development in the Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region. During the forum, many other innovative ideas and case studies were shared including the climate-smart villages which are being piloted in Nepal and now adopted by the government and included in the national planning process well as the institutionalization of benefit-sharing Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) as a way to forge the linkages between upstream Himalayas and downstream regions. For more information, please see the press brief at the ICIMOD website here.
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