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Commemorating, taking stock and moving 
forward in a time of crisis

At ICIMOD, we look back over four decades of work to combat the most pressing challenges in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, and consolidate urgent actions for the future in a context of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.
Our current strategy, entitled ‘Moving Mountains’, embodies the promise and the ambition of an institute striving to fulfil its mandate to “build and share knowledge that drives regional policy and action and attracts investment that enables the diverse countries and communities of the HKH to transition to greener, more inclusive, and climate resilient development”.
At the crucial crossroads of ICIMOD’s 4th decade, we take this opportunity to look back, take stock, and commemorate the achievements of the past, and to consolidate the urgent actions for the future. As defender, mediator and spokesperson for the HKH region, ICIMOD remains steadfast in the fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.
Above all, ICIMOD personifies a beacon of hope for the HKH – as a regional institution that can bring people together from widely divergent nations, cultures, and realities to a common platform, to understand and act on the challenges that affect us all.
As an intergovernmental organisation, outside the realm of politics, we can do this in a spirit of peace and harmony together with our sister states – the regional member countries of the HKH, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.


Following discussions in 1974 and 1975, under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere programme, concrete commitments are made to establish an International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal.


An agreement is signed on 30 September between UNESCO and his Majesty’s Government of Nepal for the establishment of an International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.


Mr Peter Gueller (Switzerland) is appointed the first Regent of ICIMOD.

1983 - 1987

Laying the foundation

Focus: building the institution’s identity and niche, and establishing a base of operation.
The First International Symposium and Inauguration of ICIMOD are held in Kathmandu.
Professor Kenneth Colin Rosser (UK) becomes the first Director General of ICIMOD.
A Documentation Unit/Library is set up.
A three-year Senior Fellowship Programme is initiated, funded by the Ford Foundation.
  • Computer technology arrives at ICIMOD.
  • ICIMOD’s first project, entitled ‘Strengthening Rural Energy Planning and Management in the HKH, is launched, funded by the European Economic Community (EEC).

1988 - 1992

Reaching out

Focus: promoting integrated mountain development as the essential tool for achieving sustainable development of vulnerable mountain regions.
A Mountain Risk Engineering programme is implemented, with handbooks published for use by regional engineers and faculties
  • Dr E Frank Tacke (Germany) becomes the second Director General of ICIMOD.
  • Pioneering work on honeybees in mountain agriculture begins
  • ICIMOD’s first Annual report is published.
  • GIS and remote sensing facilities through the Mountain Environment Regional Information System (MENRIS) are established.
  • Board of Governors is restructured and ICIMOD Support Group established.
  • Books relating to Mountain risk engineering published
  • ICIMOD contributes to the Mountain Agenda (Chapter 13, Agenda 21), at World Summit, Rio de Janeiro
  • ICIMOD’s Living Mountain Lab, previously known as the ICIMOD Knowledge Park, is set up, following the generous provision of 30 hectares of land by the Government of Nepal. At that time, it was largely degraded forest. Over the last three decades, the area has been restored, mostly through natural regeneration – a process by which trees and shrubs are renewed by natural seeding, sprouting, suckering or layering.

1993 - 1997

Reviewing and consolidating

Focus: on its 10th Anniversary, ICIMOD reviewed its work to date, focusing on the constraints and opportunities of mountain development, and consolidated future activities.
  • Mountain Tourism programme begins
  • Mr Egbert Pelinck is appointed the third Director General of ICIMOD
  • Rangelands programme begins
  • First transboundary biodiversity conservation initiative in the Everest region begins
  • Regional Collaborative Programme Phase 1 is launched to facilitate regional cooperation and promote the wellbeing of mountain people by overcoming poverty, inequality and marginality
  • Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) is established at ICIMOD
  • Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN) and Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association (HIMAWANTI) is established with support from ICIMOD.
  • ICIMOD establishes its first internet structure
  • First intensive, field-based research and development initiative (People and Resource Dynamics Project) begins.
  • The first Mercure Earth Station in South Asia is established by ICIMOD at the Ministry of Population and Environment of HMG Nepal, providing access to timely and comprehensive information on the environment and sustainable development through data within UNEPnet and links to the internet.
  • Feasibility assessment of establishing conservation corridors in the eastern Himalayas.

1998 - 2002

Partnerships and networking

Focus: a series of collaborative international events bring people together from across the HKH to discuss a range of significant mountain issues; major programmes and workstreams are launched.
  • Regional workshop is held in Kathmandu, Nepal, on the role of self-governing institutions in community forestry management in the HKH
  • International conference on ‘Sustainable development of the HKH region: Mountains 2000 and beyond’ is held in Wildbad Kreuth, Germany.
  • Regional Collaborative Programme Phase 2 commences, to mainstream mountain development in the HKH region.
  • The Regional Rangeland Programme is launched, with the aim of reducing poverty among mountain people dependent on the rangelands and to improve productivity of rangeland ecosystems of the HKH region.
  • ICIMOD’s Living Mountain Lab, then known as the Demonstration and Training Centre’ is inaugurated by the Crown Prince of Nepal, HRH Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, on 21 December
  • The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) is launched, previously based at IUCN-the World Conservation Union, Nepal. SANDEE is a regional network that uses economic tools and analyses to address South Asia's environmental challenges. It works in ten countries in South Asia - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Dr J Gabriel Campbell becomes 4th Director General of ICIMOD
  • First regional glacial lake inventory is undertaken.
  • Consultations with representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan for the development of a regional flood information system lead to the establishment of the HKH-HYCOS initiative.
  • First International Year of Mountains is observed with Asia High Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal
  • The Global Mountain Women’s Partnership is drawn up, to address issues expressed during the ‘Celebrating Mountain Women’ international conference in Thimpu, Bhutan.
  • ICIMOD becomes founding member of the global Mountain Partnership.
  • The First Global Mountain Summit is held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • Development of Mountain GIS Portal facilities sharing and dissemination of geoinformation on key mountain ecosystems for improved decision making.
  • Work commences on the new ICIMOD HQ building in Khumaltar, Nepal.

2003 - 2007

Developing regional partnerships

Focus: Partnerships in mountain development, securing the future of the HKH. A New strategy is launched, developed through an analysis of poverty and vulnerability in the HKH.
  • Knowledge management department is created to ensure continuity and sharing of acquired knowledge.
  • 20th anniversary of ICIMOD is celebrated.
  • International Mountain Day is celebrated for the first time on 11 December in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • ICIMOD’s films A man called nomad and Timber to Tibet won international awards and recognition.
  • ICIMOD contributes to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Mountain Biological Diversity.
  • ICIMOD’s HQ in Khumaltar is completed and inaugurated.
Monitoring and evaluation system is developed.
  • The ICIMOD-China National Committee Secretariat is inaugurated.
  • Research on the region’s atmosphere is initiated.
  • Pakistan country office is established.
  • Afghanistan country office is established.
  • Dr Andreas Schild becomes fifth Director General
  • Himalayan University Consortium is established.

2008 - 2012

Regional, responsive, relevant

Focus: Partnerships in mountain development, securing the future of the HKH. A New strategy is launched, developed through an analysis of poverty and vulnerability in the HKH.
  • ICIMOD and regional member countries approve seven transboundary landscapes for regional cooperation
  • ICIMOD becomes part of the global discourse on climate change and water, through membership to UNFCCC and observer status at IPCC and RAMSAR.
  • ICIMOD highlights Himalayan water issues at World Water Week, Sweden.

2013 - 2017

Emerging opportunities and integrated solutions for the HKH

Focus: Contributing mountain perspectives to global agendas and discussion while implementing the five Regional Programmes: Adaptation to Change, Transboundary Landscapes, River Basins, Cryosphere and Atmosphere, and Mountain Environment Regional Information System.
  • First class of students graduates with a Master’s in Glaciology from Kathmandu University, a programme established with support from ICIMOD
  • ICIMOD and partners co-organise the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit in Nagaland, India
  • ICIMOD participates in the Arctic Circle Meeting
  • ICIMOD jointly organises two side events during UNFCCC COP-19 in Warsaw, Poland – ‘Adaptation without Borders: Building Cooperation for Resilient Regions’ and ‘Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in South Asia’
  • ICIMOD, in collaboration with the Association of American Geographers and through the SERVIRHimalaya initiative, launches a ten-month fellowship for university students in the region.
First publications on climate change are released:
  • ICIMOD receives United Nations Convention on Climate Change’s Momentum for Change 2014 Lighthouse Activity Award for the Community flood early warning system (CBFEWS) developed with Aaranyak, India
  • ICIMOD initiates the Hindu Kush Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP), conducting a series of assessments every few years after initial publication, to help fill a need for regional data identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • ICIMOD under MENRIS launches the Regional Database System
  • ICIMOD participates in the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, COP 20; ICIMOD organises side event ‘‘Opportunities and Challenges in Conserving Transboundary Landscapes in the Hindu Kush Himalayas’, at CBD COP 12
  • ICIMOD invited as lead author on Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
  • ICIMOD collaborates with the Government of Myanmar to craft an Ecotourism Policy and Management Strategy for Protected Areas
  • The Himalayan Climate and Water Atlas, developed with GRID Arendal, is launched
  • A special issue of the International Journal of Water Resources Development sharing ICIMOD research on a range of Himalayan water-related challenges is launched at the Fifteenth World Water Conference of the International Water Resources Association in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • ICIMOD became an Observer in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council in Geneva
  • ICIMOD’s strong response to the Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal is recognised with the ESRI Humanitarian Award
  • ICIMOD hosts the first symposium of the International Glaciological Society (IGS) in Kathmandu
  • ICIMOD becomes a knowledge partner for NITI Aayog – a premier think tank of the Government of India
  • Over 250 representatives from around the world met at the World Mountain Forum – co-organized by ICIMOD in Mbale, Uganda – to discuss sustainable mountain development in the context of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • ICIMOD generates the first comprehensive inventory of glacial lakes in the HKH region using a consistent data source to map glacial lakes in five major basins of the region
  • ICIMOD awards the first honorary title of ICIMOD Mountain Chair to Phanchung, Director of Research and External Relations at the Royal University of Bhutan
  • ICIMOD launches a private-sector engagement strategy focusing on five areas: linkages with ongoing ICIMOD activities, sharing knowledge, scaling up solutions, promoting regional cooperation, and encouraging investment in sustainable mountain development.
  • ICIMOD organises the international conference ‘Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future’ bringing together more than 300 policymakers, development practitioners, scientists, researchers, and journalists working in the region came together to discuss resilience.

2018 - 2022

Leveraging opportunities for transformative change

Focus: Mobilising science to build the evidence base for developing solutions at the nexus of livelihoods and environment, linking knowledge with policy and practice, and ensuring that knowledge is put to use.
  • The HKH Call to Action campaign launched during the first HKH Science–Policy Forum
  • ICIMOD joins the Indian Himalayan Council for sustainable development in the Indian Himalaya
  • Bam-e-Dunya Network formed with representatives from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan
  • ICIMOD becomes a founding member of the Alliance of International Scientific Organisations of International Scientific Organisations (ANSO) along with a consortium of 40 partners as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Ten ICIMOD researchers are engaged in the development of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, with one researcher serving as co-lead. ICIMOD works with the IPCC, IPBES, and GBIF to highlight the mountain agenda author on a cross-chapter paper on mountains as part of the report.
  • ICIMOD publishes the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, the first definitive regional report on the status and future of the region
  • Dr Jyoti Prakash Tamang holds the ICIMOD Mountain Chair from 2019-2021
  • CryoHub, a collaborative web-based platform that enables access to and sharing of cryospheric data is launched
  • ICIMOD scientists and researchers as part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, help install a network of weather stations
  • ICIMOD co-sponsors and co-funds the Cryosphere Pavilion at COP 25 and holds the Hindu Kush Himalaya Focus Day on 11 December, International Mountain Day
  • In collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations, ICIMOD co-hosts a side event “Impacts of Climate Change on the Mountains” at the 2019 High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York
  • Dr Pema Gyamtsho becomes the first Director General of ICIMOD who hails from the region.
  • ICIMOD produces a paper on ‘COVID-19 impacts and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya’
  • During the first HKH Ministerial Mountain Summit, ministers from the HKH countries sign the declaration on the HKH Call to Action agreeing to strengthen regional cooperation in the HKH
  • ICIMOD and UNDP produce an updated glacial lake inventory
  • ICIMOD involved in drafting the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
  • ICIMOD implements a special project on ‘Aichi Target 11 in South Asia sub-region’ with the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Dr Christopher Scott holds the ICIMOD Mountain Chair from 2020-2022
  • Izabella Koziell becomes Deputy Director General of ICIMOD.
  • SANDEE-ICIMOD launches an open access book ‘Climate change and community resilience: Insights from South Asia’
  • ICIMOD co-publishes an open access book with Springer ‘Earth observation science and applications for risk reduction and enhanced resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region: A decade of experience from SERVIR’
  • ICIMOD along with UN Women and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-produce the report ‘State of Gender Equality and Climate Change in Nepal’
  • The Mountain Prize is renamed the Dr Andreas Schild Memorial Mountain Prize in honour of the late Andreas Schild, former Director General
  • ICIMOD staff contribute as lead authors for the chapter ‘Short-lived Climate Forcers’ in the IPCC AR6 Working Group 1 report. Staff also contribute to the Technical Summary and the Summary for Policymakers documents of the IPCC AR6 WG1.
  • ICIMOD organises side events at the Cryosphere Pavilion as a part of the HKH Focus Day during COP 26 in Glasgow
  • The Mountains of Opportunity Investment Framework receives endorsement from Rt. Hon’ble Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister, Government of Nepal, and strong support from high-level representatives from RMCs
  • ICIMOD marks the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development by participating in several events and consultations throughout the year. ICIMOD supports the organisation of the Mustang Advocacy Summit on Sustainable Mountain Solutions, which saw the launch of the Mustang Declaration on Sustainable Mountain Solutions.
  • ICIMOD experts contribute as co-leads and contributing authors to the cross-chapter ‘Mountains’ in the IPCC report ‘Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’
  • ICIMOD launches new Strategy 2030 – Moving Mountains
  • ICIMOD participates in COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in December

2023 - 2027

Moving mountains

Focus: Addressing significant challenges including rapid climate change, biodiversity loss, increased disaster risk, and rising poverty and inequality, and achieving our vision of a greener, more inclusive, and climate-resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya.
  • ICIMOD launches the campaign #SaveOurSnow on 29 May 2023, during celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest.
  • ICIMOD publishes the landmark report – Water, Ice, Society, and Ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalaya – the most accurate assessment of changes to the Asia high mountain cryosphere to date. It is also the first time their impacts on water, biodiversity and society have been properly mapped.