One main recommendation was to promote cooperation among the 8 HKH countries

Environment: Promoting trans-boundary cooperation among the eight Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) countries, and monitoring forest area through remote sensing were some of the recommendations the symposium on transforming mountain forestry made in Dehradun, India.

Sustainable use of mountains, establishing perennial plots and small wildlife enclosures, and developing a wildlife management concept were also recommended.

The symposium’s recommendations will be submitted to the respective countries in the region for action within a month’s time, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) (Dr) Rajan Kotru said.

ICIMOD, the Forest Research Institute and the ministry of environment, forest and climate change together organised the symposium for more than 250 participants from the HKH region.

Dr Rajan Kotru said that intensive stewardship of mountain forests was an emerging theme that must be scoped.

“Representatives shared that there should be development in the HKH network of markets with minimal regulatory hurdles, which can be attained through trans-boundary cooperation among policymakers and practitioners,” he said.

Among others, the symposium also recommended deepening the private sector engagement and innovative exchange of knowledge and information at various levels.

The governor of Uttarkhand, KK Paul, who attended the closing, said the symposium’s recommendations should influence policy.

“Some traditional practices, like the “sacred graves” in the tribal areas of northern India, could offer cultural methods of sustaining forests,” he said.

One of the participants from Bhutan, Namgay Wangchuk, said the symposium highlighted challenges and constraints in exploring future cooperation in the realms of mountain forestry.

“This is a new beginning for countries to work together on sustainable mountain forestry in the HKH region,” he said.

The symposium saw as many as 26 plenary and parallel sessions that delved on a plethora of issues related to mountain forestry.

The eight HKH countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

By Yangchen C Rinzin and Rinzin Wangchuk, Dehradun