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Protect the pulse.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya is the pulse of the planet. Being at the top of the world, changes happen here before they happen anywhere else and the beat of this place vibrates across the globe. We are ICIMOD. Together with our partners, we protect the pulse. 

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Clearing the air

It is hard to think of the past month without being reminded of the air pollution that engulfed us here in Kathmandu. Several factors contributed to the extremely bad air quality in Kathmandu and many parts of the HKH region in late March and early April. The prolonged dry season over the winter months had already resulted in high levels of pollution in the region, which was only made worse by the forest fires that raged across much of the mid-hills and plains of Nepal and surrounding areas.

As we monitored the forest fires using the satellite-based tool which we helped to develop and implemented by our partners, it made for a scary sight. The scale of the map made it sometimes seem like the whole of Nepal and surrounding regions were on fire. There were days when even weather/meteorology satellites confused the smoke/haze with cloud cover over our region, while air quality index readings were reaching extremely hazardous levels.


Geospatial Application Development Analyst (project position)

Application deadline: 16 May 2021

Division: Geospatial Solutions, MENRIS, SERVIR-HKH



Episode II: The Bhutan chapter

Date: 07 May 2021

Organizers: ICIMOD and FAO

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Call for vendors – HUC online portal

Deadline: 14 May 2021

We are looking for local vendors to enhance the existing functions...

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Empowering women in geospatial information technology – Pakistan 2021 edition

Deadline: 21 May 2021

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The call for SANDEE winter grants for 2021 has been announced!

Deadline: 30 May 2021

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Featured news/articles


Investigating air quality in the Kathmandu Valley: The need for data

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Natural coastal land expansion offers hope to low-lying Bangladesh

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Covering all bases: Nepal’s Karnali Province plans for multi-hazard early warning systems

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Training Bhutan’s forest field officials in mapping human-wildlife conflict hotspots

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Experts highlight women traders’ vulnerability to COVID-19, other stressors

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Fourth UIBN RSC meeting: Focus on stronger country ownership and sustainability

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Featured videos

आगो लगाएको

World Water Day 2021

फोहोर बालेको

Decentralized renewable energy solutions for food value chains in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region

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Featured dataset

Habitat suitability data for the Clouded Leopard

The Hindu Kush Himalayan region (HKH) is an important biodiversity hotspot with more than 488 protected areas covering 39% of the region's geographical coverage. A majority of the protected areas are small and isolated and are not large enough to address conservation challenges. Only about 20% of the protected areas are transboundary in nature. There is limited data available on habitat suitability for conservation planning and landscape management in the Far Eastern Himalayan Landscape. A study carried out under the Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalayas (HI-LIFE) Initiative at ICIMOD, estimates habitat suitability for the Clouded Leopard in the Far Eastern Himalayas using remote sensing and geographic information system tools, and available secondary information.

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The status and decadal change of glaciers in Afghanistan since 1990

The glaciers in Afghanistan were mapped using Landsat satellite images from 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2015. An object-based image analysis was used to delineate the boundaries of clean-ice and debris-covered glaciers, which were further validated against high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth. The glaciers equal to or larger than 0.02 sq. km were mapped with 97% accuracy.

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Community-based trophy hunting: Integrating conservation and community livelihoods

The Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir landscape (HKPL) is an important habitat for several iconic species of wildlife, including the critically endangered Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus), the endangered Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii), and the near threatened snow leopard (Panthera uncia), among others. In the late 1990s, Pakistan and Tajikistan introduced trophy hunting with community participation as a conservation tool to combat illicit hunting and poaching of wild animals.

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अति संवेदनशील बाढ़ क्षेत्रों तक पहुँच: समुदाय-आधारित बाढ़ पूर्व-चेतावनी प्रणाली

CBFEWS is an integrated system of tools and plans managed by and for communities. It provides near real-time early warnings when rising flood waters are detected. The warning information is transmitted to caretakers who disseminate the information to the rest of the community, government line agencies, and stakeholders. Although the detection of flood risk and its communication to vulnerable communities are driven by technology, the primary functioning of the CBFEWS lies in a people-centred approach to flood response

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Proceedings of the regional webinar on harnessing the comparative advantages of black cardamom

Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) is an important cash crop in all three countries in the Kangchenjunga Landscape – Bhutan, India, and Nepal. These countries are uniquely positioned to capitalize on black cardamom, a species that originated in the landscape and may be marketed as a niche Himalayan product through a geographical indication (GI) tag.

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Proceedings of the workshop on exploratory assessment of the export potential of Sudurpashchim Province, Nepal

Over a third of the population in Sudurpaschim Province, Nepal lives below the poverty line, and about three-fourths of the employed population is engaged in agriculture. Collection and trade of non-timber forest products is also an important source of household income.

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Proceedings of the meeting on tiger conservation: Exploring potential collaboration between Myanmar and India

Bilateral collaboration between India and Myanmar received a boost with the signing of an MoU for cooperation on “Combating timber trafficking and conservation of tigers and other wildlife” in February 2020. As a transboundary conservation and development initiative implemented by ICIMOD and our partners in China, India, and Myanmar, HI-LIFE...

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Journal articles

Bajracharya, SR; Khanal, NR; Nepal, P; Rai, SK; Ghimire, PK; Pradhan, NS (2021). 'Community Assessment of Flood Risks and Early Warning System in Ratu Watershed, Koshi Basin, Nepal.' In Sustainability 13: 3577.

The community-based flood early warning system enables local communities to enhance their resilience to flooding risks. We highlight the efficacy of the community assessment of flood risks and early warning systems. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, we evaluate the progress of such a system implemented in the Ratu River – a small tributary of the Koshi River in Nepal. The establishment of a community network in 2015 was instrumental in the dissemination of flood early warning information and in building local capacities to understand risks and take timely action. The flood early warning resulted in awareness-raising, strengthened upstream–downstream linkages, and resulted in a greater willingness among communities to help each other prepare for flood disasters in the Ratu watershed.

Gul, C; Mahapatra, PS; Kang, S; Singh, PK; Wu, X; He, C; Kumar, R; Rai, M; Xu, Y; Puppala, SP (2021). 'Black Carbon Concentration in the Central Himalayas: Impact on Glacier Melt and Potential Source Contribution.' In Environmental Pollution 275: 116544

Nepal, S; Pradhananga, S; Shrestha, NK; Kralisch, S; Shrestha, JP; Fink, M (2021). 'Space–Time Variability in Soil Moisture Droughts in the Himalayan Region.' In Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 25: 1761-1783 DOI: 10.5194/hess-25-1761-2021.

We examined soil moisture drought over a 28-year period (1980–2007) in the transboundary Koshi River basin in the central Himalayan region. We found that the J2000 model can simulate the hydrological processes of the basin with good accuracy. We observed considerable variation in soil moisture in three physiographic regions and across the four seasons due to high variation in precipitation and temperature conditions. Our results suggest that both the occurrence and severity of droughts have increased in the basin. Our insights on the frequency, spatial coverage, and severity of drought conditions can help improve management of water resources and enhance agricultural productivity in the region.

Shi, P-l; Duan, C; Wang, L; Wu, N; Kotru, R; Gurung, J (2021). 'Integrated Landscape Approaches to Building Resilience and Multifunctionality in the Kailash Sacred Landscape, China.' In Journal of Mountain Science DOI: 10.1007/s11629-020-6500-x.

We use the perspective of integrated ecosystem management to strengthen crop-livestock integration and innovative livelihoods, and propose a multifunctional Kailash Landscape to activate the inter-linkages among agriculture, animal husbandry, and heritage pilgrimage/tourism. We analysed a case study of the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative in China by land use and land cover change and its consequence on multiple ecosystem services. We found integrated landscape management to be effective in building resilience of socio-ecosystems by reducing the vulnerability of traditional agriculture. We show that integrated landscape approaches provide an effective perspective for sustainable socioeconomic development in this sacred landscape. Our findings highlight the importance of landscape-scale ecosystem-based adaptation to environment change.

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