Dr David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD (International Center for Integrated Mountain Development), Nepal, Intergovernmental Organisation working for the betterment of people living in Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. Dr. Molden, has been instrumental for the development of the “Himalayan University Consortium” to promote academic learning and exchange in HKH.
Prior to joining ICIMOD, Dr. Molden was DDG, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) based in Sri Lanka and was awarded with prestigious “Crystal Drop Award & Stockholm Water Price” awards for his contribution in this domain. In a candid chat with Dr Anil Jaggi, Editor-in –Chief, CompanyCSR (leading CSR News & Views Portal), Dr. Molden spoke about the journey of ICIMOD under his visionary leadership and future roadmap to support UN-SDGs in HKH region.[divider][/divider]
Q: Please do share the vision and philosophy of ICIMOD, tasks undertaken, accomplishments,and challenges in the past decade.
In the last decade, we have been addressing issues of change in the HKH. We have issues of outmigration, climate change, and change brought about by globalization processes. This is also a region challenged by poverty and malnutrition. So it is a very complex environment. ICIMOD’s role is to develop solutions, backed by research and science, to help mountain people respond, build resilience, and adapt to change.
Q: How do you define the role and responsibilities of ICIMOD in the 21st century in filling gaps and engaging concerned stakeholders, especially policymakers at the top?
Q: How important is it to conserve the fragile biodiversity and ecology of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) for the rest the world?
Q: How do you see the relevance of the UNSDGs for mountain communities in general and HKH communities in particular?
Q: The Himalaya is a major source of natural resources—water, fresh air, flora and fauna,minerals and timber. What are your suggestions for the world community to compensate for these resources as responsible consumers?
Q: ICIMOD works in eight countries. How do you differentiate development practices taking place here with other mountain ranges, especially for women and youth of the region(s)?
Other areas that are of special concern in the region are gender equality and out-migration. Social barriers are being broken and more and more women are taking up leadership roles. So, there has been progress. But we also see male-dominated institutions that don’t necessarily accept or give that space to women to progress. That is something we have to work on more.
Q: The search for better employment opportunities is the major cause of migration in the HKH. What are your observations and suggestions to address such issues?Would you like to share a success story?
ICIMOD worked with government of Myanmar to develop a strategy for ecotourism. We also worked with the local community of Ruma in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh to setup homestays. Now they have more tourists visiting there. We have been promoting homestays in various locations to ensure that the benefits of tourism are spread to remote locations and communities. There are several such examples of work with local communities across the eight countries.
Q: What are your suggestions to and expectations from the private sector, especially under their strategic CSR, in terms of supporting this mission?
Q: Can you share the roadmap of ICIMOD for the next decade? How do you see ICIMOD fulfilling the expectations of the UN SDGs?