26 February, Paro: In what attributes to be a space for rural innovation, fifty two change agents participated in the knowledge sharing process in the form of a National Workshop on Building Resilient Livelihoods. The workshop shared experiences and lesson learned from the European Union-funded “Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalaya” (Himalica) program” implemented by ICIMOD together with the MoAF and Tsirang Dzongkhag in Bhutan.
Dasho Rinzin Dorji, Secretary, MoAF, who is also the Chair of ICIMOD Board of Governors shared that “Himalica is one of the successful projects in Bhutan and there is much to learn from it for building resilience, given that the climate change is real. Himalica has also contributed to the overarching national goals”. He urged all participants to leave no stone unturned for recommending simple and effective solutions for up scaling and out scaling through 12th five year plan with inbuilt sustainability.
Himalica was implemented in five countries, including Bhutan, with two expected results: 1) capacity of national and regional stakeholders to deal with livelihood development and the protection of the environment in the Hindu Kush Himalayas region are enhanced; 2) poverty reduction among mountain men and women through increased resilience and the unlocking of new livelihood opportunities, and promotion of more equitable approaches is addressed.
ICIMOD partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest in Bhutan to support the development of rural mountain livelihoods in the context of socio-economic and climate change. Since its implementation, Himalica has empowered over 200 rural households in five Chiwogs in Barshong Gewog, Tsirang. It also has encouraging results to share in the following areas:
- climate resilient vegetables and goat value chains;
- reappraisal of the country’s approach to organic agriculture;
- poverty and vulnerability assessments;
- multi-dimensional assessment of ecosystems and ecosystem services; and
- promotion of beekeeping/honey and other enterprises.
Dasho Ngawang Pem, Dzongda of Tsirang Dzongkhag, recounted the Himalica Barshong journey and appreciated the visible positive impacts the programme has brought to the lives and livelihoods of the local communities due to cooperation among communities, capacity building for awareness and confidence building. She also shared the progress towards mainstreaming lessons from Himalica in Tsirang’s 12thfive year plan, gender mainstreaming and sharing results with other Geogs and Dzongda.
Mr. Basanta Shrestha, Director Strategic Cooperation ICIMOD, highlighted the rapid climate and other changes in the Hindu Kush Himalayas and the urgent need for managing these changes for enhanced resilience. While appreciating the steps taken so far for embedding Himalica’s good practices in Bhutan’s 12th five year plans, Mr. Basanta suggested more efforts towards cross-learning across the Himalayan countries, private sector engagement with “end user pay” concept for value chains and enterprise development and leveraging of global climate financing opportunities and networks.
Dr. Dhrupad Choudhury, Regional Programme Manager Adaptation to Change ICIMOD, in his workshop summary note highlighted that Himalica has successfully demonstrated many interventions which are simple and make sense for the farmers. Himalica also provides important lessons in resilience building which can be replicated easily by local government and other stakeholders.
The workshop was co-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF), the Tsirang Dzongkhag Administration and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Participants include officials from MoAF, GNHC, Tsirang Dzongkhag Administration, Barshong Geog Administration, RSPN and ICIMOD.
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