SERVIR-Himalaya Grantees present their preliminary findings

23 Dec 2014

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) successfully concluded a two-day midterm knowledge-sharing workshop on SERVIR-Himalaya Small Grants Programme in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The SERVIR Small Grants were awarded to eight organizations from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan in July 2014. The workshop took place in Hotel Sarina in Dhaka on 22 and 23 December 2014. Apart from the grantees, about 40 representatives from various government and non-government organizations from Bangladesh attended the workshop.

In his inaugural speech, NBK Tripura, Secretary of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (CHTA), highlighted the need to increase understanding of environment changes and their effects. He said, “I hope the grantees will combine science and ground knowledge in their work to be able to quantify the changes for better decision making in areas such as disaster management.” Also speaking at the opening session, Monowar Hossain, Executive Director of IWM, said, “Bangladesh is at the receiving end of all the changes occurring in the Himalayas. Earth observation provides evidence for informed decision making and can help minimize the impacts of disasters.”

Birendra Bajracharya, Regional Programme Manager for MENRIS, delivers his opening remarks during the opening session.
Photo: Santosh Pathak

The grantees presented their research outlines, methodology and preliminary findings. Their projects address a wide range of issues common in the HKH region, such as flood forecasting, forest fire management, landslide hazard, agriculture, and biomass estimation.

In his closing remarks, Birendra Bajracharaya, Regional Programme Manager for Mountain Environment Regional Information System at ICIMOD, said that the workshop had enabled the participants to exchange ideas and provide constructive feedback on the grantees’ work. “What we are looking for is innovation in problem solving,” he said. “All the presentations were encouraging, and an impressive amount of work was done within a short time.”

Workshop participants including the recipients of SERVIR-Himalaya Small Grants and representatives of various government/non-government organizations in Bangladesh.
Photo: Ayush Bajraacharya

The workshop was well received among the participants. Waqas Ahmed Qazi from the Institute of Space Technology in Pakistan said, “It was a great opportunity to share our preliminary results with other grantees. The feedback we have received will help us improve our research approach.”

“The presentations of our fellow grantees helped us understand how geo-spatial techniques are being applied in the HKH region,” said Harsha Meenawat of the Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), India. Sailesh Ranjitkar of Helvatas Nepal said, “It was a great opportunity to learn about ongoing research in the region. I feel the output of this grant programme can be replicated in other parts of the world.”

The Small Grant Programme is implemented by ICIMOD under the framework of SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The SERVIR programme combines science, technology and development programmes established through a joint partnership of USAID and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)