Plenary 4: Dynamic Sustainability

Friday 4 March, 09:00 – 10:30 am, World Expo Hall

Keynote speeches:

  • Tim Forsyth (London school of Economics and Political Science): Moving beyond myths: Mountains as a dynamic social-ecological system
  • Eklabya Sharma (ICIMOD): Mountain Knowledge Systems, Policy and Practice: Partnership for Sustainable Development

Chair: Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt (UCA)

Rapporteur: Andrew Stevenson (ICRAF) and Muhammad Asad Salim (ICRAF)

Plenary 5: Mountains as pathways to the future

Friday 4 March, 02:00 – 03:30 pm, World Expo Hall

Call for action on mountain futures:

  • Bing Lu and Dossa Gbadamassi (Through Their Eyes), Video presentation: Message from conference participants for Mountain Futures
  • Panel from India and Pakistan with representatives from African and Latin American countries, donors and international organizations
  • Jianchu Xu (ICRAF): Mountain Futures Project

Chair: Linxiu Zhang

Rapporteur: Andrew Stevenson (ICRAF) and Muhammad Asad Salim (ICRAF)

S3a: Engendering the Anthropocene: challenges in scaling up gendered seeds and practices

Wednesday 3 March, 04:00 – 05:30 pm, VIP 1

Mountain women and men use, manage and conserve natural resources in diverse ways in increasingly fragile and rapidly changing environments. High rates of male outmigration and the social and power relations structuring access to productive resources put undue pressure on women who are often singularly responsible for household livelihood security in the absence of men. Limited mobility and socio-cultural norms shape women’s participation in decision-making processes and access to the wider information-communication arena. Building off the Bhutan +10-conference on women and sustainable mountain development (ICIMOD 2012), this session critically examines innovative and market-driven seeds of good practice on engendered adaptation to climate change, water and food security in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, which also challenge cultural norms underlying gender inequality.

From improved millet cultivation, a climate-resilient and highly nutritious staple, to its processing and value addition by women entrepreneurs in the mid-hills of Nepal, to increased participation in water governance and disaster risk reduction in Chitral, Pakistan to women’s role in local tourism in Lijiang, China, the seeds presented by participants in this session illustrate the diversity of mountain women’s engagement in sustaining livelihoods. Participants examine key enablers including local, national and regional development actors and organizations, an empowering learning environment facilitated by collaborative research, visionary leadership and clearly dedicated resources for mainstreaming gender. Yet challenges in taking seeds to scale persist—violent conflict, repeated natural disasters, the limited life-span of project resources and the deepening of gender inequality—shape the landscape of resilience.

Chair: Sara Ahmed


  • Arjumand Nizami (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Climate change and impact on women’s vulnerabilities—A case study from the Pakistani Highlands
  • Delia Catacutan (ICRAF): Shifting gender roles and land-use preferences—Implications for mountain futures
  • Yufang Su (CMES/KIB): Gender assessment of vulnerability and capacity to adapt to climate change: Yunnan case study
  • Chanda Gurung Goodrich (ICIMOD): Women as leaders in adaptation
  • Qun Zhao (YASS): Adaptation strategies around crop production from a gender perspective in Jianchuan County, Yunnan, China
  • Mona Sherpa (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Facilitating women’s participation in water planning and management in Nepal
  • Yahui Zou (YASS): Analysis on the impact of financial remittance towards origin family/recipient family under the context of climate change: A case study of Southwest Yunnan
  • Xiao’ou Ou (YASS): Women migrants, climate change and adaptation—A case study from Yunnan

Rapporteur: Sara Ahmed

S4d: Mountain crops: Integrated approaches for livelihoods and landscapes

Friday 4 March, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, Gorgeous View Hall

Montane agricultural systems are very diverse, dynamic and productive, yet also highly susceptible to change. Agricultural intensification, the introduction of new crops, and climate change may lead to an imbalance in the traditional practices, resulting in land degradation and loss of agricultural diversity. This session will introduce existing sustainable management techniques from different cropping systems, as well as discuss techniques that address the rehabilitation of degraded agricultural landscapes. Multiple aspects of agroforestry systems for sustainable productivity of mountain crops will be explored.

Chair: Stefanie Goldberg (KIB) and Greg Forbes (CIP)


  • Greg Forbes (CIP): Sustainable potato production in the highlands—can we learn from Andean farmers? The presentation will focus on several major sustainability indicators related to sustainable highland potato production, and examine some traditional Andean approaches that may have lessons for conventional potato production.
  • Anne Ostermann (ICRAF): Land degradation caused by unsustainable intensification of agricultural production in mountain regions. Unsustainable intensification of agricultural production in mountain regions is causing land degradation. Based on two examples from China and Myanmar, this presentation will show how we aim to increase sustainability by establishing locally-adapted agroforestry demonstration sites.
  • Sailesh Ranjitkar (ICRAF): Distribution of ‘lapsi’ in the Himalayas. Choerospondias axillaris is a multipurpose agroforestry tree species. Its fruit is nutritious with a high market value; the trees themselves serve provide timber, fuelwood and fodder. This presentation will demonstrate how our research identifies climatically and biophysically suitable zones for lapsi plantations in current as well as future climate scenarios.
  • Dan Jeffers (CIMMYT, YAAS):  Sustainable maize production in midlands and highlands of Asia, focusing primarily on breeding for disease resistance, adaptation to different cropping systems (e.g. potato/maize relay cropping) and improved nutrient efficiency.
  • Qazi Abbas (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Crop corridors. Climate corridors depict regional consequences of climate change (past changes and future scenarios) for crops in a specific area. In these corridors, we can model the prediction of a crop in the region. I have selected four important crops that grow in the highlands of different districts in Pakistan’s Hindu-Kush Himalayan region (Chitral and the neighbouring Swat, Dir, and Mansehra). In these corridors I will show the future climatic conditions for crops in these areas. These corridors help decision-makers make adaptation decisions, and help organized farmers to secure their inputs in favour of appropriate yields. This is an important tool for ensuring long-term food security in a country where the agricultural impact of climate change is highly evident.
  • Philippe Vaast (ICRAF): A decision-support tool for tree selection in smallholders’ coffee farms in Uganda. Mountain areas are the perfect place to study the effects of temperature and humidity on coffee along an altitudinal gradient, and the role of shade trees in buffering climate changes and other services (e.g. limiting soil erosion). The presentation will give an overview of a decision-support tool developed to help farmers select the ‘right’ trees according to the ecosystem service(s) they need.

Rapporteur: Clément Rigal

S4c: Translating Policy into Action in Pakistan

Friday 4 March, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, Shangri-La

This session aims to highlight real action in the field to deal with the impact of climate change. Scientists and researchers engage themselves in exploring the dynamics of climate change and how these changes are going to impact globally. Policies are formed at the highest strategic level and are often full of promises and commitments to achieve change goals. For a farmer down in the field however, the question remains very practical: I know something is gravely changing but what should I do?

This session brings four seeds of change which are aimed to address such questions in Pakistani and Nepali contexts, and it is believed that these will provoke thinking on four fronts: (1) How does the right assessment of hazards and vulnerability risks lead to appropriate decision-making on DRR?; (2) What is integrated water management in practice? How to plan water as a driver of disaster as well as a determinant of food security?; (3) Taking Pakistan’s example with little local capacity to deal with climate change, what actions were taken to institutionalize climate change research and action?; (4) Going step by step: How are local adaptation priorities determined—the tools and their application.

Chair: Zahoor Ahmad Swati


  • Subodh Sharma (Kathmandu University): Opening note: What are the challenges in translating policy measures into action?
  • Jawad Ali (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Hazards and vulnerability risks assessment. An example from Chitral, Pakistan
  • Bikram Rana (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Putting integrated water resource management into practice, Nepal
  • Zahoor A. Swati (UAP): Institutional solutions on climate change adaptation—needs and challenges
  • Arjumand Nizami (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Pakistan): Summarizing: Adaptation planning, how, for whom and at which level?

Rapporteur: Arjumand Nizami and Jawad Ali

S4b: The Mountain Futures Initiative

Friday 4 March, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, World Expo Hall

The Mountain Futures Initiative is a global group of scientists and practitioners who are searching for the seeds of a positive future in the mountains of the South American, African and Asian highlands. We believe that elements of a just future are already present at a local scale, and that the right policies and processes at the national, regional scale or global scales are vital to foster and further develop them. A better future can be created by creating and responding to a feedback mechanism within an integrated social-ecological system. Understanding, seeking and nurturing seeds for change is essential to coping with the challenges that mountain regions face. The “Mountain Futures Project” will examine five proposed themes: 1) Natural capital; 2) Community-based (endogenous) Development based on local values; 3) Managing mountain landscapes; 4) Training and high-level education for young leadership; and 5) Intercultural communication and policy dialogue. The Mountain Futures project will provide opportunities to collaborate with mountain indigenous communities in producing knowledge that is adapted to global change; nurture seeds that fundamentally change the human-environmental relationship; and generate creative and bottom-up scenarios that focus on transformation towards alternative, positive futures for mountains and humanity that are rich in cultural and biological heritage, and yet also feature well-articulated pathways to achieve them.

Chair: Yanhong Wu (IMHE) and Dipak Gyawali (Nepal Academy of Science and Technology)


  • Jianchu Xu (ICRAF)
  • Wei Deng (IMHE)
  • Alejandro Argumedo (INMIP)
  • Jeremias Gasper Mowo (ICRAF)
  • Dipak Gyawali (Nepal Academy of Science and Technology)
  • + Regional participants from Asia, Africa and Latin America

Rapporteur: Tim McLellan (ICRAF) and Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel (CDE)

S4a: The Science, Policy and Practice of Climate Change Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalaya – HICAP session

Friday 4 March, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, Fontainebleau

The Hindu-Kush Himalaya (HKH) region provides water, ecosystem services, and livelihoods to more than 210 million people and is a source of water for more than 1.3 billion people downstream. Climate change and other changes have already begun to impact ecosystems and communities across the region as well as those downstream. Traditional adaptation techniques, which have supported people in the mountain areas for centuries, are no longer able to keep up with the rapid pace of change.

The Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) has carried out comprehensive scientific research on climatic changes and their impacts on ecosystems, food security and people’s vulnerabilities and has also developed potential adaptation measures at community level, combining local and traditional knowledge with scientific evidence. To effectively support communities in adapting to change, solutions must be developed that take into account in-depth knowledge of both local conditions and broader global and regional climate change trends for the HKH. A critical next step is to engage with decision-makers in the HKH to support the development of appropriate policies and actions based on available knowledge and experiences.

This session will focus on ongoing adaptation research and pilot actions in the region, in particular regarding effective and efficient adaptation strategies to be reflected in the aforementioned policy priorities. The session design will involve a keynote speech and 2–3 presentations followed by a panel discussion to recommend potential adaptation actions and policy development processes in HKH countries.

Chair: Abid Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, Pakistan


  • Eklabya Sharma (ICIMOD)
  • Nand Kishor Agrawal (ICIMOD)
  • Bob van Oort (CICERO)
  • Bjorn Alfthan (GRID-Arendal)
  • Chanda Gurung Goodrich (ICIMOD)

Rapporteur: Nand Kishor Agrawal (ICIMOD)

S3d: Biocultural heritage and indigenous peoples’ resilience in global mountains

Wednesday 3 March, 04:00 – 05:30 pm, Ziyun Hall

Mountain indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as temperatures are rising at disproportionately higher rates at higher altitudes. While these changes are having increasingly serious impacts on mountain ecosystems and indigenous peoples, communities are responding and adapting in unique ways. Time-tested models of indigenous territorial management and stewardship practices, including the Biocultural Heritage Territory (BCHT) approach, are being promoted as local-to-global responses. The BCHT approach is characterized by a mosaic of land uses and highly productive, sustainable management practices. It is contributing to landscape level outcomes to conserve biodiversity, optimize ecosystem services, enhance agro-ecosystems and productivity, develop economic livelihoods, strengthen participatory decision making and landscape governance, as well as protect indigenous peoples’ rights through local to global collective action.

This session will present the experience of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) in establishing a global network of Biocultural Territories in centers of crop diversity. Expert representatives from Peru, China and India will present case studies from those countries and discuss how mountain indigenous peoples are using their knowledge and innovation systems, local-global networks, and collaboration with scientists to develop innovations for resilient food systems and community development.

Discussion will also focus on the use of international learning exchanges as key to strategy for climate change adaptation and long-term community resilience. Relationships amongst indigenous peoples living in distinct bioculturally diverse mountain environments, addressing these relationships at the intersection of global environmental and development policy and local climate change impacts.

Chair: Alejandro Argumedo (INMIP) and Yiching Song (CCAP)


  • Bicultural Territories (photo movie): introduction
  • Alejandro Argumedo (INMIP): The potato park Ayllu system; The INMIP: the network of in-situ sites
  • Yiching Song (CCAP): The stone village biocultural heritage landscape
  • Yunyue Wang (Yunnan Agricultural University): Biodiversity for climate change adaptation: The case of Hani terraces
  • Yiping Fang (IMHE): Economic wellbeing disparity of Chinese mountainous regions and institutional pathways toward social equity

Rapporteur: Andrew Stevenson (ICRAF)

S3c: Integrated tree crop livestock systems

Wednesday 3 March, 04:00 – 05:30 pm, Zijing C

Demand for livestock products has been growing and is projected to increase tremendously in the future. This has intensified competition for agricultural land and labour between livestock and crop production. Livestock production is an integral part of the indigenous farming systems used by smallholders in the mountains of the Asian Highlands. The diversity of these mixed farming systems has developed as a response to environmental conditions, especially temperature, rainfall, altitude, type and intensity of animal production and human intervention.

Trees can play an important role in increasing feed supplies on small farms and among landless livestock owners. These feed sources are especially important during critical periods of feed shortage, such as during the dry season. The traditional knowledge of mountain communities is a crucial component of indigenous farming systems, along with the suitability of diverse tree species in different agroecological zones. Climate and soil affect the distribution of trees and can determine the type of crops that can be grown. These in turn determine the feed base and the quantity, quality and distribution potential of livestock and animal production systems. Feed resources provide a direct link between crops and animals, and the interaction of the two largely dictates the development of such systems. In the context of a changing climate and the ever-growing demand for livestock products it is high time to promote well managed tree crops and livestock integration. Indigenous knowledge can be integrated with scientific evidence to revitalize traditional farming systems. For example,  traditional and scientific approaches can together indicate the climate suitability of trees, crops and livestock, and identify fodder trees that can provide highly nutritious feed to livestock. In turn, crops can be nourished by organic manure.

This session will present the experience and potential of the integration of tree crop and livestock in several agroecological regions in the Asian highlands. Expert representatives on animal nutrition, indigenous practices and potential tree distribution will present case studies and discuss how mountain indigenous peoples are using their knowledge and collaboration with scientists to develop innovations for future livestock production and environmental sustainability.

Chair: Dengpan Bu and Ruijun Long


  • Dengpan Bu (CAAS): developing the integrated crop-tree-livestock system in China
  • Sailesh Ranjitkar (ICRAF): Ethnobotanical approach for selecting tree fodder species
  • Yanfei Geng (KIB): Ethnobotany in fodder species for forest-based gayal (Bos frontalis)
  • Fan Zhang and Bill Bleisch (China Exploration and Research Society): Developing market value-chain for Tibetan pastoralists in NW Yunnan
  • Peilong Yang (Institute of feed science, CAAS): Feed resource in trees: utilization of cellulose by enzyme and microorganism
  • Ruijun Long (Lanzhou university): Integrated tree-crop-livestock system in the Himalayan region

Rapporteur: Sailesh Ranjitkar (ICRAF)

S3b: Sustaining Cultural and Biological Diversity in a Rapidly Changing World

Wednesday 3 March, 04:00 – 05:30 pm, Zijing A

Montane landscapes foster diversity of many kinds. The same physical features—steepness, ruggedness, ridges and valleys—are used to explain apparently unrelated orders of diversity such as plant species diversity or linguistic diversity. In some cases there is a clear causal connection between the orders of diversity; for example, transhumant pastoralist paths are complex anthropogenic ecosystems that involve animal dung both as fertilizer and as transport for seeds, the creation of ecotones around temporary pastures, the deliberate cultivation of ethno-veterinary herbs along the route, the creation of watering holes, and so on. The more culturally diverse the transhumant route is—the more it is shared among different communities—the more diverse the anthropogenic drivers of ecosystem diversity will be. At the same time, the biodiversity of the entire transhumant gradient supports cultural diversity, with both sacred sites and pilgrimage routes contributing to cultural exchange and the transmission of indigenous ecological knowledge.

These sacred landscapes have been shaped and maintained over generations, many are ancient with roots in antiquity and even pre-history. They are always shared, whether among lineages, ethnic groups, or across major religious traditions. They are sites where differences at a finer scale are made possible through participation in a shared landscape. As the scale of sharing increases, so too does the complexity of overlapping eco-social processes. The resulting diversity is measurable as linguistic, ritual, and taxonomic richness, but it cannot be encompassed by any single epistemology.

In this panel, we will explore the links between social and biological diversity in sacred montane environments around the world. We invite contributions that analyse particular cases, large-scale comparisons, historical studies, and speculative studies that explore how the eco-social processes within sacred montane landscapes offer a model for the conservation of both culture and biological diversity, and for the Anthropocene in general.

Chair: Shengji Pei (KIB) and Yuming Yang (Yunnan Academy of Forestry Sciences)


  • Shengji Pei (KIB): Sacred landscape conservation initiative in Yunnan
  • Irena Zhernosenko Irina (Uch Enmek Nature Park)
  • Mamyev Daniel (Uch Enmek Nature Park)
  • Zhaoli Yan (Chengdu Institute of Biology): Mt. Kailash sacred landscape
  • Yuming Yang (Yunnan Academy of Forestry Sciences): Linking culture and biodiversity for conservation
  • Robert Zomer (ICRAF): A role for sacred landscapes in the mountains of the Anthropocene

Rapporteur: Yongping Yang