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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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2019 in retrospect: A year of impactful work

I am pleased to share with you our Annual Report 2019 (download here). With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on in the HKH, it was particularly gratifying to go through the pages and recall when our work was in full swing, together with communities and partners in the region and in other parts of the world. I would like to share a few highlights of our work in 2019.

The report opens with my reflections along with Eklabya Sharma, Deputy Director General of ICIMOD, on our work and accomplishments over the last decade. I am proud of the progress we have made on several fronts and would like to go into more depth in the next newsletter.


Annual Report 2019

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COVID-19 impact and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in the HKH and compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities already impacted by climate change.

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COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and the future in the Hindu Kush Himalaya: Perspectives from the mountains

Missed attending our recent webinar?

Watch the recording on YouTube

Bam-e-Dunya photo contest 2020

Theme: People and Environment of Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape

Submission deadline: 15 October 2020

Enter now

Resonating a unified voice: the HKH Call to Action

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Supporting sustainable hydropower development in Nepal

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What ever happened to shifting cultivation?

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Unlocking the potential of cloud computing and Earth observation

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Featured news/articles


A bearer of tidings: Teacher uses ICIMOD science application to help avert disaster in Dhading, Nepal

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Renewed support for SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya regional hub

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Larger glaciers in the Hindu Kush are behaving like glaciers in the Karakorum

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ICIMOD’s work and the COVID-19 crisis

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Featured dataset

Soil loss in Koshi Basin 2010

High levels of water-induced erosion in the transboundary Himalayan river basins are contributing to substantial changes in basin hydrology and inundation. Basin-wide information on erosion dynamics is needed for conservation planning, but field-based studies are limited. This study used remote sensing (RS) data and a geographic information system (GIS) to estimate the spatial distribution of soil erosion across the entire Koshi basin.

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ICIMOD Annual Report 2019

The stories in this annual report provide a summary of our accomplishments over the last year. They showcase key aspects of our work on multiple fronts – from working with communities, engaging policymakers, facilitating regional cooperation, promoting gender and social inclusion, and generating new knowledge and building capacity – to create positive change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

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COVID-19 impact and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in the HKH and compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities already impacted by climate change. However, it also presents an opportunity for concrete actions toward the transformation necessary for a more resilient and inclusive HKH. In this comprehensive policy paper, we assess the impacts of the pandemic, the risks and vulnerabilities, and provide policy responses and actions required for countries and more robust regional and international cooperation for the mountains.

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Leveraging multi-stakeholder partnerships for Integrated Water Resources Management in Afghanistan

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) was adopted in 2009 as a suitable approach for sustainable management and development of water resources in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan National Water Sector Strategy identifies issues of importance and develops policies in the field of water resources.

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Benefiting from the REDD+ Himalaya Programme: Success stories from Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Nepal

The case studies presented in this report are from work carried out under the REDD+ Himalaya programme in Bhutan; the states of Uttarakhand and Mizoram in India; Shan state in eastern Myanmar; and Dolakha, Gorkha, and Chitwan districts in Nepal.

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The Hindu Kush Himalaya call to action: sustaining mountain environments and improving livelihoods

The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is the pulse of the planet. Being at the top of the world, changes happen here before anywhere else, and its beat vibrates across the globe. But urgent actions are required to ensure the health of this global asset and the wellbeing of its people.

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Journal articles

Bharadwaj, B;  Rai, RK; Nepal, M  (2020). 'Sustainable Financing for Municipal Solid Waste Management in Nepal.' In PLOS ONE 15: e0231933  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231933.

We used plastic waste to explore the possibility of generating revenue for financing financing municipal solid waste (MSW) management in Nepal’s municipalities. We find that anincrease in 1% of plastic material recovery rate and collection efficiency could cover an additional 4.64% and 2.06% of the costs of managing plastic waste, respectively. In addition, an increase in tax on imported plastic materials could also motivate recovery of plastic waste for recycle and reuse. This plastic recovery- revenue exercise could be expanded to other materials such as paper and metal to fully understand the possibility of sustainable financing of MSW management and reducing environmental harm in developing countries like Nepal.

Sharma, G;  Namchu, C;  Nyima, K;  Luitel, M;  Singh, S; Goodrich, CG  (2020). 'Water Management Systems of Two Towns in the Eastern Himalaya: Case Studies of Singtam in Sikkim and Kalimpong in West Bengal States of India.' In Water Policy 22: 107-129  DOI: 10.2166/wp.2019.229.

Adhikari, S;  Mahapatra, PS;  Pokheral, CP; Puppala, SP  (2020). 'Cookstove Smoke Impact on Ambient Air Quality and Probable Consequences for Human Health in Rural Locations of Southern Nepal.' In International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17020550.

Ahmed, B;  Rahman, MS;  Sammonds, P;  Islam, R; Uddin, K  (2020). 'Application of Geospatial Technologies in Developing a Dynamic Landslide Early Warning System in a Humanitarian Context: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.' In Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk 11: 446-468  DOI: 10.1080/19475705.2020.1730988.

Our study aims to develop a localized landslide early warning system (EWS) for Rohingya refugees and their host communities in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh. We use landslide inventory and susceptibility maps, rainfall thresholds, a dynamic web-based alert system, and advanced geoinformation techniques to develop the landslide EWS. We find that approximately 5,800 ha of forest land cover disappeared due to the 2017 Rohingya influx. Land cover changes through hill cutting and slope modifications, and unplanned urbanisation are predominantly responsible for slope failures. Consecutive five-day periods of rainfall between 95–220 mm could initiate landslides in highly susceptible areas. The EWS can support local authorities and international organizations in reducing disaster risks.

Chen, P;  Kang, S;  Tripathee, L;  Panday, AK;  Rupakheti, M;  Rupakheti, D;  Zhang, Q;  Guo, J;  Li, C; Pu, T  (2020). 'Severe Air Pollution and Characteristics of Light-Absorbing Particles in a Typical Rural Area of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.' In Environmental Science and Pollution Research 27: 10617-10628  DOI: 10.1007/s11356-020-07618-6.

Raut, S;  Gupta, N;  Nautiyal, P; Everard, M  (2020). 'Re-Establishment of Fish Passage for Conserving Threatened Migratory Species of West-Indian Himalayas.' In River Research and Applications 36: 314-317  DOI: 10.1002/rra.3577.

Field surveys between 2010 and 2018 supported by a review of published literature reveal that few fish passes have been constructed in dams in the Indian Himalayan region, and their efficacy is largely unproven. Major problems associated with fish pass designs include uneven success across a range of species and largely untested effectiveness at the large scale of many major dams. We emphasize the need for a new approach to understand the operational drawbacks of different types of fish passes and to take an adaptive approach to both design and operation using field data to improve fish pass efficiency. These measures could contribute significantly to the conservation of threatened migratory fish in the increasingly impounded rivers of the Indian Himalayan Region.

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