Framework for Developing Vision 2040

G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development
Framework for Developing Vision 2040
Mountains play an important role in maintaining significant share of water, biodiversity,
food, energy, etc., and hence critical for world environment. In recent years mountain
development has attracted significant attention particularly after the Rio Conference (1992)
and subsequently the Rio+10 and Rio+20 events. Government of India clearly emphasises on
mountain development and appropriately launched the National Mission for Sustaining the
Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). The Himalayan region, considered the youngest mountain
chain in the world, is highly fragile to natural processes and anthropogenic activities, such as
adverse impact of climate change, deforestation and forest degradation, land use change, land
degradation, natural disasters, and encountering unplanned infrastructure development. As a
consequence biodiversity, forests and glaciers are under increasing stress in several parts of
the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR). The general economic condition of the native
communities in IHR is far below the average; they are marginal people with minimal political
representation in decision.
It is argued that the sustainable development and future wellbeing of Himalayan people must
be based on sound scientific facts and by devising appropriate actions and policies for
efficient use of mountain resources. It highlights the need of promoting environmental
sustainability and human development in IHR based on innovative researches,
communication and partnerships among all concerned. The region is generally considered
data deficient that hampers its economic growth and poses a challenge to its sustainable
development. There is truly a need of a global/national knowledge centre on Himalaya to
cater latest and authentic information, and data base related to diverse disciplines so that
researchers, professionals, planners and general public can use it for the benefit of the region.
G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) is undeniably
well placed to take up such mission for the IHR.
GBPIHED Mandate and Core Competence
the Ministry of
Environment and
Forests, Govt. of
India in 1988-89
institute with its
located at KosiKatarmal,
Almora. It also
comprises four
regional stations at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh (Northeast Unit), Pangthang (Sikkim Unit),
Srinagar (Garhwal Unit) and Mohal (Himachal unit) to cater the regional needs. Besides the
Institute also has one Mountain Division placed at MoEF&CC. The focal point for Institute’s
R&D activities is the IHR. Currently GBPIHED focuses on six broad research themes; it
conducts innovative researches in a broad range of environmental fields with the goal of
integrated and sustainable development of the IHR. In past 25 years it has developed core
competence and database in selected priority areas.
GBPIHED: A profile of thematic areas of activities, core competence and ongoing activities
Thematic areas
• Environmental
Assessment and
• Watershed
Processes and
• Biodiversity
Conservation and
• Socio Economic
• Capacity Building
and Development
of Knowledge
• Biotechnological
Core Competence
Ongoing activities
• Natural resource assessment and
• Water resource conservation,
• Biodiversity characterization,
monitoring, conservation and
• Documentation of indigenous
knowledge systems
• Environmental physiology, plant
tissue culture and microbiological
• Environmental impact assessment
and environmental management
• Wasteland development and
• Resource mapping for rural
planning and management
• Strategic Environmental Assessment
(SEA) of hydropower Projects
• Climate change impacts on
ecosystem services
• Ecological, Social and Policy
Implications of Changing Water
Resource Scenario
• Biodiversity patterns under changing
resource use and climate scenarios
• Farming Systems and Changing
Climate Regime
• Ecotourism and biodiversity
• Capacity Building for NRM
• Conservation & sustainable
utilization of Himalayan biodiversity
• Extremophiles from Himalaya
The Institute has established collaborative relationships with several national/ international
research organizations to advance the Institute's research outreach and scientific revelation. It
has undertaken joint projects with ICIMOD and engaged in transboundary researches, namely
Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation & Development Initiative (KSLCDI),
Khangchendzonga Landscape Conservation & Development Initiative (KLCDI), and
Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalaya (Hi-LIFE), with GEF-UNEP-FAO initiative
on Global Pollination, and with Earth Watch Institute in Citizens-Science Programme on
assessment and quantification of forest ecosystem services with special emphasis on
pollination in the Indian Himalayan agro-ecosystems. Through Integrated Ecodevelopment
Research Programme (IERP) the Institute also supports extra mural research programmes in
the IHR. It clearly reflects that the Institute is well-placed to promote green development and
play a key role in policy development at national as well as in the fora of state governments
on behalf of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Vision building for GBPIHED
The Himalayan ecosystems and communities, while moving towards sustainable growth, face
many key challenges. The Institute visions for sustainable growth of the IHR by evolving
economic and integrated management strategies for natural resources and building
communities resilience to climate change and disaster risks, and to act as a national inter-
state agency for cooperation for the sustainable development of the region. Accordingly it
plans to build a vision for next 25 years as GBPIHED Vision-2040.
GBPIHED: Guidelines, Action Plans and Policy Documents
Action Plan for Himalaya for its Sustainable development
Guidelines for Location Planning, Rain Water Harvesting and Application of Green Roads
concept in hills
Action Plan for Siwalik Area Development
Village Environment Action Plan (VEAP)
Action Plan for Conservation of Biological Diversity of Indian Himalayan region (IHR); and,
Strategy and Action plan for Wild Plant Diversity of India under NBSAP
State-of-Art Review of Glacial studies, Glacial Retreat and Climate Change
Planning Commission Task Force Report for Comprehensive Development of Hill States and Hill
Feasibility Document for Cold Desert Biosphere reserve (CDBR)
Guidelines for sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (G-SHE)
Since the Institute is working extensively in the Himalayan region over the past over 25
years, it has comparative advantage over other agencies in the IHR. In order to address some
of the key challenges of the IHR, the Institute requires further strengthening. It would evolve
from present status of developmental research and knowledge advisory furthering to
knowledge management and policy planning in medium term, and finally heading as a
Global Institute for Sustainable Development of Himalaya by 2040. Therefore, the vision
of GBPIHED need to be based on strengthening of R&D and advancing better understanding
between science, society, policies and practices for sustainable development of the region.
For this purpose the Institute needs to generate and stimulate science and traditional
knowledge based information about the diverse facets of sustainable development, and to use
its R&D to advance understanding between science and society through strengthening
policies and practices of sustainable development, and their implementation for the benefit of
the people of IHR and their surrounding environment.
Key challenges in IHR
• Poverty and subsistence agriculture
• Conservation and management of natural resources
• Climate change and disaster mitigation
• Promotion of clean energy
• Building economic resilience and spatial planning for the sustainable development
• Public health, education, communication and behaviour change
• Livelihood promotion
• Developing skills through education, training and capacity building
Framework for Vision Building
The process
The Institute intend to evolve as a stimulating, informative and critical R&D centre and
forum for intellectual debate on significant environmental issues by building, advancing and
strengthening relationships and understanding between science, society, policy and practice
of sustainable development. It plans to unfold and facilitate perspectives from a wide range of
disciplines and methodologies in both social and natural sciences to develop integrated
knowledge about the processes responsible for environmental change. The R&D would
address on global and national priorities and initiatives, strengthen ongoing R&D on areas of
the Institute’s core competence, building on past successes, focusing on gaps and
convergence, suggestions from interim reviews (done independently by Prof. KS Valdiya and
twice by IIT Roorkee), and prioritizing activities as per stakeholders concerns to address key
challenges for sustainable development of the IHR. Some key areas could be issues of
fragility, conservation of genetic diversity and livelihood supports, developing appropriate
land use planning and watershed management practices, promotion of ‘best practices’ norms
for infrastructure construction, encourage cultivation of traditional varieties of crops and
horticulture using organic farming, develop multi-stakeholder partnerships, promote model
for tourism-inflows consistent with the carrying capacity and protect unique mountain
landscapes with ‘incomparable values’ in forestry sector, environment, urbanization, tourism,
planning, etc. The ultimate goal of the Institute would be developing programmes/activities/
thematic areas/actions in the form of Centre of Excellence that would be engaged and
contribute in policy making, and devising good governance and management of natural
resource and conflict resolution. Such centres would undertake evidence based researches in
policies and issues in governance relating to resources and institutions. Besides it would also
impart training and capacity building programmes in relation to decentralization, conflict
resolution, and management issues related to local level governance, and decentralized
GBPIHED framework for sustainable development of IHR
To address the sustainable development in IHR the Institute requires a paradigm shift and
undertake defined developmental researches (demand driven R&D), and upscale productorientated researches by taking feedback at different stages and producing interdisciplinary
knowledge on the diverse environmental aspects. It would focus to devise strategies for
sustainable development, and evolve, demonstrate and disseminate innovative technologies;
strengthen policy advocacy and technological backstopping with more consultative exercises
/brainstorming meetings with stakeholders. The Institute would deliver state-of-art
methodologies/approaches as knowledge products, and generate fair understanding on
dynamic processes of the Himalayan ecosystems. With its focused research outcomes and
partnership/collaborations with other agencies the Institute will carry out policy advocacy for
sustainable development of the IHR. It is planned that by 2025 the Institute would act as a
centre for managing knowledge for development, a platform for regional cooperation and an
interstate forum for sustainable development. By 2040 the Institute is expected to take a lead
as a Global Institute for Sustainable Development of Himalaya, acting as mountain policy
repository leading selected Thematic Centres of Excellence along with global mountain
Resource support
To achieve the above said goals/ targets the Institute would require scientific manpower and
monetary support, which could be achieved as proposed below:
Scientific and Technical Manpower
In order to achieve the envisaged goal of becoming a Global Institute for Sustainable
Development of Himalaya in 2040, it is critical to increase manpower (Scientific and
Technical); currently the number is only 37 scientists. There is also call for a continuous
knowledge support to various State governments of IHR as well as to various trans-boundary
initiatives. The increase in faculty would greatly help in raising the level of external funding
to over 3 times by the two and half decades. Keeping this in mind recruiting faculty positions
in different disciplines is absolutely necessary. Therefore it is proposed to increase scientific
strength up to 63 scientists by 2025. It is also extremely important that by 2025 each major
R&D theme has at least one representative scientist in all the Units. Further, another Unit in
the northeast region and one in J&K be established in the next ten years. Thus the Institute is
proposed to grow as a global knowledge centre for which specialized manpower will be
required; hence the scientific strength should be increased to 100 by 2040. The positions of
technical and administrative staff will follow the usual norms. This modest projection of
faculty positions would markedly help in meeting the different objectives of the Institute.
Besides permanent faculty, project based staff, consultants, visiting fellows and experts
would also be recruited as per need and available funding. The Institute would also support a
few short/long term internship students for skill and human resource development.
Funding Pattern
The Institute receives core funding from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate
Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India. The activities are, however, substantially
strengthened through external funding obtained from different National (MoEF&CC, DBT,
CSIR, DST, MoWr, MoRD, UGC, ICSSR, INSA, ISRO, ICAR, NEC, State Govts., etc.) and
International (ICIMOD, UNESCO, NORAD, TSBF, CIDA-SICI, McArthur Foundation,
BCN, UNDP, FAO, UNIDO, UNICEF, SDC, etc.) agencies.
At the time of its establishment during 1989-90 the Institute received a total of Rs. 50 lakhs
of core grant from MoEF, which has gone up to Rs. 1300 lakhs by 2015. The external
funding support was negligible in 1989-90, however at present the faculty (37 Scientists) are
generating about Rs. 400 lakhs per year (i.e. about 24% of total budget) from external
The Institute is expected to develop a road map for achieving self-sustainability in terms of
financial resources. The Institute proposes to approach to National and International donors
and private corporate houses for funds under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Thus,
approximately 76% of total fund requirements (i.e. Rs. 7500 lakh) is proposed to be
generated by the faculty from external sources by 2040 and the remaining 24% will be
obtained from the MoEF&CC based on average rate of increase of about 4% per year. It is
expected that the most sustained sources of funding would be corporate groups and
international donors whose contribution would be Rs. 2250 lakhs by 2025 and Rs. 7500 lakh
in 2040, besides the MoEF&CC. It may, however, be noted that enhancement of the Institute
funding from external sources would highly be based on the number of faculty which should
reach at least 63 by the year 2025 and 100 by 2040.