Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) gathers momentum

The Comprehensive Assessment of the HKH Region: Actions to Sustain a Global Asset, conducted as part of the larger Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) programme, is building strong momentum. A writeshop was held in late January and the website launched (www.hi-map.org), and currently the chapter teams are being finalised and have started drafting the chapters.

The Assessment addresses the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region and will serve as a basis for evidence-based decision-making to safeguard the environment and advance people’s well-being.

The comprehensive assessment of the current state of knowledge of the HKH region will increase the understanding of various drivers of change and their impacts, address critical data gaps and lead to a set of practically oriented policy recommendations. The assessment process will involve a broad and diverse group of researchers, practitioners and policy makers, and culminate in a major publication with a reputed international publishing house in 2017. 

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) fourth assessment report predicted that climate change will be the most prominent driver of global change in the 21st century and pointed to the lack of consistent long-term monitoring in the HKH region. The report called for national, regional, and global efforts to fill this data gap. Not much progress was made in the HKH region by the time of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report. While universities, nongovernmental organisations, and scientific organisations have made progress in assembling and consolidating existing data, the information remains too fragmented and incomplete to derive any meaningful conclusions about trends and scenarios. HIMAP, which brings together hundreds of scientists and policy experts from the region and around the world, aims to address these gaps and chart a way forward. A comprehensive assessment that goes beyond climate change, it is expected to greatly assist efforts to address threats, act on opportunities, and scale cutting-edge approaches.

To build momentum and move the assessment process forward HIMAP organised a Coordinating Lead Authors’ writeshop from 26 to 28 January, 2016 in Kathmandu. Bringing together over 40 authors to work on the HKH Assessment  this milestone event focused on drafting outlines of each chapter of the assessment; identifying potential lead and contributing authors, reviewers and others involved in the assessment. The assessment process, including engagement of policy makers was developed and agreed on by the participants. 

The writeshop was attended by over 20 Coordinating Lead Authors, HIMAP Steering Committee Members and 15 chapter anchors from ICIMOD. ICIMOD Director GeneralDr David Molden provided an update on the process and status of the Assessment to date while Dr Philippus Wester, Coordinator of HIMAP, delivered a presentation on the aims of the HIMAP assessment and the building blocks of an influential assessment. 

The three days were structured into several sessions along with group work concentrating especially on developing the chapter outlines by the chapter teams. Discussions focused on generating key messages for the chapters, outlines of sections and paragraphs, potential lead authors, and the distribution of tasks and rough timeline. An open peer review process was also agreed on. The Steering Committee members stressed that an active communication strategy will be crucial to achieve traction in policy processes. There will be several HIMAP dissemination workshops after the assessment book is complete and a communications strategy will be developed. As part of the meeting the HIMAP informative Web Site http://hi-map.org/ was inaugurated. The web site gives access to the structure of the assessment, author profiles and interviews, news on progress and will later also frame the peer review process.

The target audience for this assessment are the people who make decisions on investment in and management of mountain development—natural resource managers, private-sector investors, policy-makers and civil-society members. In addition, the assessment aims to inform the general public about important mountain issues so that everyone can help to make better decisions through political processes in the HKH countries.    

For more Information, contact
Philippus Wester, Coordinator HIMAP
Email: Philippus.Wester@icimod.org

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