Global Himalayan Expedition wins ICIMOD Mountain Prize 2018

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The ICIMOD Mountain Prize Commission Tuesday  announced Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) – facilitator of access to digital education and clean energy, and promoter of sustainable tourism in remote Himalayan communities of India – the winner of the ICIMOD Mountain Prize 2018. This is the first conferral of the prize, which will continue on an annual basis.

David Molden, Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), handed over the ICIMOD Mountain Prize to Paras Loomba, Founder of GHE, amidst a function organized to celebrate World Environment Day in Kathmandu.

Molden said that ICIMOD is proud to recognize GHE for “its outstanding efforts enabling sustainable and resilient mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)”.

The annual ICIMOD Mountain Prize was established recently to recognize significant efforts made by an individual and/or an institution to advance change for the mountain cause in the HKH through innovations in their various capacities.

GHE was selected as the winner from a pool of 30 nominees from the HKH and beyond for bringing about transformative change in the lives and livelihoods of remote mountain communities of Ladakh through the implementation of its unique community-centred impact-based development model. In a short span of time, GHE was able to:

  • 1) Electrify 750 households in 60 villages directly impacting the lives of 20,000 people, mostly those living below poverty and deriving sustenance from agriculture and animal husbandry
  • 2)digital education and experiential learning to some 3,000 students
  • 3) Directly and indirectly impact the lives of some 8,200 people through its 30 women-run solar-powered homestays and other tourism-related interventions

GHE founder Paras Loomba noted that, “The recognition by ICIMOD is a big morale booster for our on-ground team to keep continuing their efforts towards sustainable mountain development with a key focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Molden also announced the following six Honourable Mentions:

  • 1)Mr Didar Ali from Gojal valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, for promoting traditional folk music and dance from the Pamir region.
  • 2) The Ecology and Conservation Organization of Afghanistan for building a sustainable future for Afghan mountain communities through its work on biodiversity conservation, capacity development, health and livelihood improvement, and mainstreaming gender equality.
  • 3) The Centre for Aromatic Plants in Uttarakhand, India, for creating a business incubator for the development of aromatic plants and related product value chains under one roof, linking farmers and entrepreneurs with various schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, minimum support price, and other incentives.
  • 4)The Red Panda Network based in Oregon, the United States, for its work on red panda conservation in the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung corridor in Eastern Nepal.
  • 5)The Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board in Bangladesh for integrated development of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  • 6) Professor Yi-ping Fang from the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Chengdu, China, for working on climate change adaptation and resilience assessments in the Source Region of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers (SRYYR) as well as for connecting science to practice and policy.

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