Resilient Mountain Solutions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

Multiple Authors
People working in an agricultural mountain environment
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya


The Resilient Mountain Solutions (RMS) is an initiative developed and led by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The initiative builds on the outcomes and results from The Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) and research and solutions developed and tested by ICIMOD and its partners to identify a range of options that have proven effective and applicable in the diverse mountain context of the HKH.

The initiative aims to equip people in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) region with simple and affordable technologies and knowledge required to build long-term resilience. Its overall goal is to enhance the resilience of women and men in the HKH to socioeconomic and environmental changes, including climate change.

RMS combines the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development with climate change adaptation, resilience, and preparedness for future risks to form an integrated approach to resilient mountain development. To operationalize the initiative, RMS in organized around five major components: (1) Knowledge generation and application, (2) Building resilience through innovative solution packages, (3) Gender, social inclusion and governance, (4) Regional scaling and policy uptake, (5) Communication and outreach; and one cross cutting component on capacity building.

The initiative is supported by the Governments of Sweden and Norway for a period of 5-years starting from 2018 to 2022. GRID-Arendal is supporting the initiative with the development of a series of communication products, which includes the developing an Atlas of Adaptation Solutions for the Hindu Kush Himalayas.

*This weADAPT article is an abridged version of the original text, both from GRID-Arendal’s website and the ICIMOD flyer which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.

Resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The vast HKH mountain range stretches from Afghanistan to Myanmar, passing through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Bangladesh, and is home to important yet fragile ecosystems directly supporting the livelihoods of 210 million people living in the mountains and 1.3 billion living downstream.

Research indicates that the incidence of natural hazards such as floods, landslides, and dry spells are likely to increase. These changes pose a threat to people’s livelihoods, their agricultural production, and food security, as well as to the availability of ecosystem services. Such changes will not only affect people in the mountains, but will have significant impacts on over a billion people living downstream of the HKH.

Changes to the social and economic makeup of communities together with the changes in climate and the natural environment, pose new and challenging situations for people in the mountains. This highlights the importance of strengthening the resilience of communities and institutions to be able to deal with and adapt to current and anticipated changes.

This calls for traditional knowledge and strategies to be coupled with continued scientific research and pilot actions on the ground in order to address the new situation and identify mountain specific solutions for building resilience to change.

The Resilient Mountain Solutions programme

There are three main components of the Resilient Mountain Solution programme. These are: 1) Resilient Mountain Villages, 2) Development of resilient solution packages, and 3) Knowledge dissemination and upscaling:

Component 1 – Resilient Mountain Villages:

  • This component draws elements from the climate smart agriculture and climate smart villages approaches of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR).
  • This component will address the issue of current climate variability at farmer and community levels by adopting climate friendly approaches to reduce the day-to-day risks arising from on-going climate variability and other changes.
  • A key aspect is the promotion of sustainable and adaptive farming practices and the development of value chains for niche mountain products to promote sustainable development by increasing the incomes of rural populations, with a particular focus on women farmers.

Component 2 – Development of resilient solution packages:

  • Though many knowledge gaps on change and resilience in the HKH have been filled by earlier research at ICIMOD, there remains a need to continue to further strengthen knowledge for resilient solutions targeted to the many and varied challenges that communities in the mountains face.
  • RMS would work to develop new location-specific solutions and actionable proposals to build adaptive capacity through working closely with governments and other institutions in selected countries.

Component 3 – Knowledge dissemination and upscaling:

  • This component will focus specifically on ensuring that the knowledge generated and the resilient solution packages developed and refined are made accessible to key stakeholders to ensure sustained impact.
  • The project will work closely with key stakeholders, including governments, relevant institutions, and other decision-making and implementing bodies, to build their capacities to take up these solutions and integrate them into relevant policies and programmes for adaptation, resilience building, and disaster risk reduction.

For further information contact Nand Kishor Agrawal:

Suggested Citation:

ICIMOD. (2017). Resilient Mountain Solutions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.Available at: