Climate Change is one of the most formidable threats that mankind is facing. Hence, the Government of India has been launched National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in 2008 to address the issues of Climate Change. The NAPCC comprises of eight National Missions of which National Mission on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) is the only area-specific mission.
The Mission needs to deliver better understanding of the coupling between the Himalayan ecosystem and the climate factors and provide inputs for Himalayan Sustainable development while addressing also the protection of a fragile ecosystem. The ecosystem of Himalayas is not only the life of India but also for the entire Indian Sub-continent. It is a source of fresh water and also plays an important role in lending a sub-tropical touch to the climate of India.
Functional Areas of National Mission on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
The National Mission on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem is the only area-specific mission and formulated to develop a sustainable national capacity in a time-bound manner to continuously assess the health status of the Himalayan ecosystem. The functional areas of the mission are given below:
1. Himalayan glaciers and associated hydrological consequences
2. Prediction and management of natural hazards
3. Biodiversity conservation and protection
4. Wild life conservation and protection
5. Traditional knowledge societies and their livelihood
6. Capacity in regulation of science and critical peer evaluation to help governance issues related to sustenance of the Himalayan Ecosystem
7. Assist in restoration and rehabilitation process of Uttrakhand
Objectives of National Mission on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
1. To develop a network of knowledge institution for research based on the geological, hydrological, biological and socio-cultural dimensions including traditional knowledge systems on preservation and conservation of the ecosystem.
2. To detect & decouple natural and anthropogenic induced signals of global environmental changes in mountain ecosystems and predict future trends on potential impacts of climate change on the Himalayan ecosystem with a sound S&T backup.
3. To assess the socio-economic and ecological consequences of global environmental change and design appropriate strategies for growth in the economy of the mountain regions and the lowland systems dependent on mountain resources in the region.
4. To study traditional knowledge systems for community participation in adaptation, mitigation and coping mechanisms inclusive of farming and traditional health care systems
5. To evaluate policy alternatives for regional development plans towards sustainable tourism development, water and other natural resource management for mountain ecosystems in the region.
6. To create awareness amongst stakeholders in the region for including them in the design and implementation of the programme.
7. To develop regional cooperation with neighbouring countries, to generate a strong data base through monitoring and analysis, to eventually create a knowledge base for policy interventions.
Hence, we can say that the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) is a multi-pronged and cross-cutting mission. It was formulated to enhance the understanding of climate change, its likely impacts and adaptation actions required for the Himalayas- a region on which a significant proportion of India’s population depends for sustenance.