Members' Voices: Pradeep Mehta, CHINAR


The Central Himalayan Institute for Nature & Applied Research (CHINAR) has been a Mountain Partnership (MP) member since 2017. The team advocates for sustainable mountain livelihoods in the Indian Himalayas. CHINAR’s mission is to connect nature with the livelihoods of local communities by promoting responsible tourism, rural enterprise and sustainable agriculture.

We have always been very proactive in our area. We conduct environmental learning expeditions about Himalayan ecosystems, culture, food and wildlife. CHINAR recognizes that a healthy mountain community needs to include human health and that’s why we operate a health programme in two states, benefitting nearly 2 500 families.

We strive toward sustainable rural mountain tourism to improve the livelihoods of local mountain communities by diversifying their income. It’s a necessary change to minimize migration and make these communities resilient to climate change. We are promoting the responsible tourism project in six villages, involving almost 24 families; some families have started earning approximately INR 50 000 (approximately USD 723) a year from homestays and the project has resulted in increased conservation of traditional crops, as learning about and tasting traditional food has become a highlight for tourists.

Our organization is doing at the local level what the MP does at the global level: working for mountain environments and communities. We benefit greatly from the MP; we have attended the IPROMO in 2017 and will return this year, and we held events during International Mountain Day. The MP’s activities allow us to gain knowledge and skills to take home with us, exchange perspectives and information with mountain advocates around the world and make a difference in mountain policymaking.

Thanks to our relationship with the MP, we are working with the indigenous team at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to provide a case study about indigenous food systems. As part of this collaboration, we documented the food profiling system of Namik, a Himalayan village. Our documentation traces the village’s food system from its origins to the final sale, trade or consumption of the goods. The profile includes in-depth descriptions of the indigenous Namik peoples’ agro pastoral system and details their farming, livestock management and foraging techniques. The publication is expected to be available this year.

CHINAR envisions a bright future for the Indian Himalayas. The MP acts a guide for us and other organizations working for mountains. Because of the MP, we are able to shape our organization’s future with input from likeminded groups around the globe and have real influence on policies concerning mountains.

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News by CHINAR

Photo by FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico

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