From 18-20 September 2006 in Kathmandu, Nepal, a regional workshop was organized by ICIMOD on “Policy Priorities for Sustainable Mountain Development” in the framework of a GTZ-ICIMOD programme on policy processes. This workshop brought together over 60 high-level policymakers, researchers, and development managers, including senior government officials from seven countries of the region (Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan), representatives from civil society, non-government organisations, and international research and development organisations.
The purpose of the workshop was to share lessons, experiences, and good practices gained through ICIMOD and its partners’ work in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region with a particular focus on the discussion of important policy issues, options, priorities, and solutions related to the conservation of natural resources, production of goods and services, environmental management, social and gender equity and sustainable development issues. The SARD-M Project presented its policy assessment activities in the region and participated in a working group session on “How can ICIMOD help improve policy making process & capacity building of policy makers in Regional Member Countries (RMCs)?”
The workshop participants developed a set of recommendations on priority policy issues that will be important for ICIMOD to focus on in the coming years. One of the major issues that came out of the workshop was the need for integrated, multi-sectoral and multi-institutional participation and effective involvement of the mountain community and stakeholders in policy design and the development of approaches and strategies for enhancing and promoting local and national ownership. The need for developing capacities in this regard as well as the development of national and regional platforms for information sharing to support policy development were also seen as important.
At the SARD-M Project Regional Workshop in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas held from 17-18 July 2006, it was found that despite the different policy making and governance systems of case study countries (i.e. Bhutan, China, India and Nepal), a general consensus existed on following common needs:
▪ Capacity building of local level (district and below) in participatory planning, implementation and monitoring of development policies and programmes.
▪ Improving coordination among line agencies and civil societies in policy formulation, programme development and implementation, and overcome sectoral barriers.
▪ Improving networking among national and regional institutions to facilitate sharing of lessons and good practices as well as consolidating regional initiatives.
Thus the findings of the SARD-M Project Workshop were very much in line and complementary to those of the GTZ-ICIMOD Workshop and reinforced the relevance of the SARD-M Project in addressing the policy needs of mountain regions. The follow-up activities that will be carried out by the SARD-M Project in the HKH should thus contribute to addressing pressing policy issues in the region.