Sustainable Development Success Stories

Regional environment information network in Asia and the Pacific

Location ICIMOD is situated in Nepal, the organisation covers the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region.  
Responsible Organisations UNEP Environment Assessment Programme for Asia and the Pacific (EAP/AP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), ICIMOD's Mountain Environment and Natural Resources Information System Programme (MENRIS).
Description The first agreement between ICIMOD and UNEP EAP/AP in 1993 was on establishing a decentralised network of National level institutions that collect, store and disseminate key bio-physical and socio-economic data. ICIMOD, through MENRIS, had initiated the establishment of such a network in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. Collaboration between EAP/AP and ICIMOD continues with EAP/AP's support towards the initiatives of the MENRIS program, as well as ICIMOD's continued support towards the Asia Pacific ENRIN and its activities.
Issues Addressed Capacity Building, Information for Decision Making
Results Achieved
  • Capacity Building and Servicing

  • Established GIS Training Facilities or GIS Centres in: the Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Bangladesh; Y.S. Parmar University, India; Institute of Pokhara, Nepal; Tibetan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), Tibet; NARC/WRRI, Pakistan; and in the National Commission for Environmental Affairs, Myanmar;

  • GIS training in all member countries; advanced training at various levels for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan; Under collaboration with the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education - Asia and Pacific (CSSTE-AP);

  • Established an Environment Information and Assessment (EIA) UNIT in the Ministry of Population and Environment, His Majesty's Government of Nepal; and initiated the Kathmandu Valley GIS project to develop various environmental scenarios of the valley;

  • Installed the MERCURE satellite B station;

  • Disseminated country profile of Nepal and bio-physical and socio-economic maps of Bangladesh;

  • Data management: 

  • Enhanced ICIMOD with equipment/software; developed ICIMOD CD-ROM for archiving and disseminating information; implemented corporate LAN environment with full internet connectivity; implemented MENRIS Intranet environment;

  • Produced core data sets for Nepal; for Bangladesh; for Pakistan; and for Tibet, China;

  • Initiated case Studies on GIS applications in Bangladesh and Myanmar to be completed; developed a concept paper to establish Digital Database Infrastructure in Nepal and attempt to advocate similar in member countries for National Digital Database Infrastructure;

  • Produced GIS Training Manual for Managers; GIS Training Manual at Policy level; Training Manual on ArcCAD for Engineers and initiated training manual on the Facilitation of HealthNet in Nepal, application of GIS/RS in location planning in Mountain environments;

  • Completed Case studies in Nepal; India; and Pakistan; 

  • Facilitated electronic networking for environmental agencies in the member countries;

  • Assessment and Reporting:

  • Initiated "Hot Spot" areas investigation through the Kathmandu Valley GIS project and Landcover Analysis of Nepal and Pakistan.

Lessons Learned
  • Establishing similar objectives and complementary activities;

  • Continued collaboration through written agreements;

  • Pooling of resources including those from other partners, donor agencies;

  • Sustaining long term goals through strong linkages and networking within the HKH region and with other subregional or regional institutions;

  • Maintaining aggressive communication/information dissemination and continued consultations or needs assessment especially with member countries;

  • Recognising the importance and complementary role of other subregional/regional bodies such as the South Asia Co-operative Environment Program (SACEP) and the Asia Pacific ENRIN.

Contact Surendra Shrestha, Regional Coordinator, UNEP Environment Assessment Program for Asia and the Pacific (EAP/AP)
Outreach Bldg, AIT, PO Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand 
Tel.(66 2) 524 5365; Fax (66 2) 524 6233 or 516 2125 
E-mail: grid@ait.ac.th