The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development's (ICIMOD) Regional Program on Transboundary Landscapes received the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award presented by the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation on June 29, 2018. The winner of this award is determined on the basis of a rigorous global competition that takes into account projects, publications, pieces of legislation, or other concrete accomplishments in the natural resources field.
Begun in 2012, ICIMOD's Transboundary Landscapes program is focused on the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) area. The program advocates the use of the landscape approach for managing biodiversity, an approach that delineates areas based on shared ecosystems instead of administrative boundaries. By facilitating cooperation between countries, the landscape approach fosters multi-stakeholder dialogue and analysis. The effects of climate change and natural resource degradation have acute transboundary impacts in the HKH. Poverty, outmigration, and globalization are significant regional challenges that countries can collectively address across national borders. To accomplish this, an operational system that enables countries to collaborate at bilateral and multilateral levels is necessary.
Through partnerships with over 55 government and non-government institutions, ICIMOD's Transboundary Landscapes program is implementing four initiatives in parts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Its efforts have helped build a regional constituency for sustainable mountain development while enhancing impact and technical outreach, and improving the quality of knowledge produced through associated scientific studies.
The Kailash Sacred Landscape and Development Initiative, the flagship of the Transboundary Landscapes program, is an example of the program’s success. China, India and Nepal have established a collaborative and interactive platform for bio-culture diversity conservation and ecosystem management in the Kailash Sacred Landscape. Different levels of governments, non-profit institutions and the private sector actors have come together to explore a pathway for sustainable mountain development. The ICIMOD transboundary program produces evidence that informs high-level decision making and ultimately benefits local stakeholders from all of the participating countries.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) represents the interests of the Chinese government in ICIMOD, and is responsible for organizing and coordinating program implementation. CAS attaches great importance to supporting ICIMOD’s initiatives on transboundary landscapes.
Under the auspices of CAS, the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, in collaboration with Chinese partners from Chengdu Institute of Biology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Sichuan University and Tibet Academy of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, has implemented thematic components of the transboundary landscape program, including projects for innovative livelihoods, ecosystem management, access and benefit-sharing of biodiversity, and long-term environmental and socio-economic monitoring.
The overarching goals are to fill the gaps in the data, and identify synergies between conservation and development to support local governments and communities with long-term environmental management mechanisms that promote sustainable development. Since its implementation in Pulan County, Tibet Autonomous Region in 2012, the Kailash Sacred Landscape initiative has been integrated with strategic thinking about the Belt and Road initiativeand the Gangdis International Tourism Cooperation Zone.
This initiative provides a scientific basis for government policies and community development for efforts such as the protection of cultural heritage resources, the development of tourism resources in Ngari Prefecture.