UNEP-NSFC Triangular Cooperation Project in Lesser Himalaya Highlighted on Eos Magazine

May 17, 2024 | News

On 15 May 2024, a science news article titled “Forests, Water, and Livelihoods in the Lesser Himalaya” was published on science news magazine Eos, by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). It captures the essence of the International Symposium on “the Forests-Water-Livelihood Nexus in the Lesser Himalaya”, which was organized in September 2023 in Nepal as part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) funded triangular cooperation project “Developing Nature-based Solutions for Nepal following a Nexus Approach towards Sustaining Forestry, Water Resources and Livelihoods”, in which the UNEP – International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) is a co-leader.

The Himalaya region is one of the world’s biodiversity and climate change ‘hot spots’ where community-based forest management is applied increasingly to help balance a range of ecosystem services including stable water supplies and sustainable harvest of forest products. However, while the ‘High Himalaya’ are intensively studied, the Lesser Himalaya (i.e. Middle Mountain zone, Siwalik foothills, and Terai plain) have received far less scientific attention. These implications are critically important as over 80% of the total streamflow emanating each year from the mountain chain (excluding the westernmost and easternmost parts) derives from rain falling in the Lesser Himalaya. This article presents the complex changes in land use, land cover, climate, and demographics that are combining to stress water security for millions of people in the region. Moreover, it also outlines the cooperation on forest hydrological research and initial findings. This project is a triangular cooperation of experts from Nepal, China and developed countries.