The ‘Eastern Himalayas Regional Workshop on Forests and Climate Change’ conducted jointly by the United States Forest Service (USFS) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu from January 24th to 28th, is the first major contribution to the International Year of Forests (IYF) in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. The decision of the United Nations Assembly to celebrate an IYF reflects the urgency of increasing global awareness of the importance of forests for sustainable development. Forests are essential for providing livelihoods to communities, as well as ecosystem services such as clean water and wildlife habitats. The workshop focuses particularly on the Eastern Himalayas (i.e. Bhutan, India and Nepal) to address linkages between forests and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The goal of the workshop is to improve information use and decision-making tools at the local, provincial, and national levels for forest resource assessments, monitoring, and management. Key topics under discussion are forest inventory and monitoring approaches that assist reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+), sustainable forest management, and climate change adaptation, including disaster preparedness. Some of the U.S. Forest Service’s leading scientists are participating in this workshop, together with scientists and land managers from Bhutan, India, Nepal, and international organisations. This meeting brings together expertise in forest inventory and analysis, remote sensing, community forestry, forest carbon estimation and modelling.
The workshop was inaugurated by the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Ms Patricia A Mahoney, who emphasised the importance of regional cooperation to conserve and manage Himalayan forests and biodiversity, which provide goods and services for the livelihoods of millions. Dr Andreas Schild, Director General of ICIMOD, highlighted the importance of robust baseline carbon estimates and development of sound methodologies for monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) at the national levels, as well as of regional technical cooperation. He also thanked the US Embassy in Nepal, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of State for supporting the regional event, and expressed optimism for future cooperation in the forestry sector.
Source: ICIMOD Press Release