The NITI Aayog on August 23, 2018 released the five Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in e Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), listing the challenges in all the defined 5 thematic areas.
The reports discuss the significance, the challenges, the ongoing actions and a future roadmap.
Earlier in June 2017, the NITI Aayog had set up 5 Working Groups to prepare a roadmap for actions in 5 thematic areas that are quite significant for the Himalayas. These areas were:
These working groups were constituted after the NITI Aayog recognised that mountains require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting.
Inventory and Revival of springs in Himalayas for Water Security
Challenge: Nearly 30 percent of springs, crucial to water security of people, are drying and 50 percent have reported reduced discharge.
Key message: Spring Mapping and Revival by using 8 steps protocol be taken up across Himalayan States in phased manner.
Call for action: Setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas.
Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region
Challenge: Himalayan Tourism is growing annually at 6.8 percent and has created huge challenge related to solid waste, water, traffic, loss of bio-cultural diversity etc. With the projected arrival of tourists to more than double by 2025, urgent actions will be needed to address issues of waste management and water crisis.
Key message: Apply carrying capacity concept to all major tourist destinations; implement and monitor tourism sector standards and apply performance based incentives for States.
Call for action: Setting up of a Himalayan Authority for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region and launching of “Himalaya Calling: An Awareness to Action Campaign” as people’s movement.
Transformative Approach to Shifting Cultivation
Challenge: In the north eastern States, thousands of the households continue to practice slash and burn (Shifting Cultivation) which needs to be addressed in view of ecological, food and nutritional security.
Key message: Assessment of nature and extent of Shifting Cultivation area, improved policy coherence, strengthened tenurial security and improved access to related programs are means to transform shifting cultivation.
Call for action: Setting up of National Mission/Program on Transforming Shifting Cultivation in North Eastern States.
Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas
Challenge: Unskilled workforce remains a challenge for the mountains as well that need high priority to address migration of youths.
Key message: Strengthening of skill and entrepreneurship will require focus on identified priority sectors where mountains have advantage, investment in trainers, assessors and training centers in industry partnership.
Call for action: Demand driven network of skill and entrepreneurship development Centers in Himalayan States is required along with consortium of institutions of high learning for mountain specific research and technology.
Data/Information for Informed Decision Making
Challenge: Challenges related to data availability, data authenticity, compatibility, data quality, validation, user charges for Himalayan States need addressal for informed decision making at different levels of governance.
Key message: Having a Central Data Management Agency for Himalayas to provide data with high fidelity scenario while addressing data sharing, access, authenticity and comparability issues will help in addressing data related issues.
Call for action: Linking with the Hindukush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment program (HIMAP) and Setting up of Central Data Management Agency for Himalayan Database at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.
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Who: NITI Aayog
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