Regional orientation training on ecosystem services assessment: 19–23 December 2016, Udayapur, Nepal

Regional orientation training on ecosystem services assessment: 19–23 December 2016, Udayapur, Nepal

The Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalaya (Himalica) initiative aims to support poor and vulnerable mountain communities in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts through collaborative action research and pilot activities. Research and pilot activities are expected to help build the capacities of institutions working on building and strengthening resilience to climate-induced vulnerability which will subsequently improve the livelihoods of mountain communities in the HKH. Adaptive capacity can be attained when the significance and value system of the services mountain ecosystems provide local communities and those living downstream are understood, maintained, and recognized. Visualizing such impacts, the Himalica initiative is implemented through five main activity areas: i) building capacity to formulate adapted policy, ii) expanding knowledge management, iii) strengthening collaborative action research, iv) piloting activities for climate change adaptation, and v) building overall capacity. After the completion of Ecosystem Services Assessments (ESAs) in Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal in 2014 and 2015 as a part of strengthening collaborative action research, the ecosystem theme at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) further initiated assessments of ecosystem services in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

As part of the process, ICIMOD organized a Training of Trainers (TOT) event in Udayapur, Nepal, to orient partners from Bangladesh and Pakistan. A total of 12 participants (four from Bangladesh, six from Pakistan and two from Nepal) attended the training. The first day of the training covered theoretical concepts, the evolution and significance of ecosystem services, and the application of tools and techniques to assess the status of ecosystem services. Methods and techniques – Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Remote Sensing (RS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and Global Positioning System (GPS) – were explained in detail. During the opening session, the District Forest Officer from Udayapur highlighted the vulnerable situation of the Churiya hills, iterated the importance of conservation, and enumerated on the linkages between ecosystem services and the livelihoods of communities.

The second and third day of the training were assigned to several exercises, and the demonstration of PRA tools and techniques using GPS in the Rauta Village Development Committee. A household survey questionnaire which is to be used for future ecosystem services assessments was revised by the participants who validated the context and suitability of the questions to Bangladesh and Pakistan. The inputs received from Bangladesh and Pakistan are expected to modify the questionnaires to better the possibilities for and results of ecosystem services assessments in the two countries.

The report was co-funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nepal.

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