Monthly Archives: October, 2013

Call for Application: 2013 SERVIR-Himalaya Youth Forum, Nepal

SERVIR-Himalaya Youth Forum-“Empowering Youth with Earth Observation Information for  Climate Actions in Nepal” which will be held from 16-20 December 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal. 


Climate change is the singular defining environmental issue of our times affecting every segment of society in one way or the other. The global climate change discourse has put the Himalayan region in the centre of international attention as one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world.

Climate change is one of the most critical global concerns today with the younger generation expected to face enormous challenges in future. It is therefore important to create awareness among youth and actively engage them in the areas of preparedness, risk reduction, adaptation, and mitigation. Youths not only have innovative ideas and knowledge, but also possess abundant energy to undertake local actions. They can be the proverbial agents of change and act as effective communicators in their communities and in the regional and international arenas.

Earth observation is proving to be a vital tool to improve our understanding of climate change. In this context, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is implementing the SERVIR-Himalaya Programme supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with the goal to improve environmental management and resilience to climate change.

The SERVIR-Himalaya science applications include the areas of cryosphere and water, ecosystems and biodiversity, agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, and air quality monitoring. Information derived from earth observation helps visualize the impacts of climate change and take appropriate actions. The SERVIR-Himalaya Programme is putting increasing emphasis on education and exposure of innovative tools and technologies to youth that will enable rapid response on issues related to climate change in the Himalayan region.

ICIMOD is internationally regarded as a regional resource centre for geo-information and earth observation application with a specific mountain focus. In particular, it has worked with both national and regional partners to provide access to data and information, to integrate analysis and modelling, and disseminate information through interactive mapping and spatial visualization. ICIMOD makes continuous efforts to enhance capacity of its member countries, and has a special focus to inspire youth to use earth observation information and geospatial technologies.

The Asian Institute of Technology & Management (AITM) offers high-quality national and international level educationaal programs in Nepal. Managed by experienced educationists and professionals, AITM wishes to be a positive agent of change by engaging youths, within the country as well as regionally and internationally. The Institute aims to be a ‘Centre of Academic Excellence’ by blending research into pedagogy. Its current expertise include climate change, aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry, hydrology and water resources, groundwater, nexus research, water-related disaster risk reduction, water-sanitation-hygiene, geospatial solutions (GIS and remote sensing), biotechnology, and management (business and hospitality).

This Youth Forum is being organized by ICIMOD in collaboration with AITM and the Nepal GIS Society and is part of the SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative. The main aim of the Youth Forum is to raise awareness and empower youth in Nepal on the use of earth observation information and allied technologies for climate actions.


The objectives of this Youth Forum are to:

  • ·         Educate and inspire young people about geospatial science, earth observation, and its potential to address climate change issues;
  • ·         Provide hands-on exercises with GIS software and GPS systems and online mapping resources;
  • ·         Have participants prepare a short essay proposing innovative ideas on how to use geospatial technologies to research, visualize or otherwise address climate change issues;
  • ·         Provide a platform and network for mutual sharing and learning of experiences among youth, and;
  • ·         Increase the visibility of SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative among youths in Nepal.

 Intended audience

The Youth Forum targets youths from different professional backgrounds, universities, and colleges in Nepal (20 – 25 years of age) with interest in climate change issues and geospatial science and technology. About 30 to 40 youths are expected to participate in the event.

Application process

Applicants should submit a short CV, a motivation letter outlining his/her specific interests, and a short essay proposing innovative geospatial ideas, research projects or applications to address climate change issues. The applications should be submitted by 20 November 2013, and must be sent online to Suyesh Pradhan at

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Photo snapshot: Happy anniversary to a great #SocialReporting team!

Support Farmers’

Farming community from Dhankuta district, Nepal Picture: Dinesh Panday

Farming community from Dhankuta district, Nepal
Picture: Dinesh Panday

Agriculture started at least 10,000 years ago, but no one knows for sure how old it is. Wheat and barley are some of the first crops people grew. People may have started farming because the weather and soil began to change and farming had a possibility that can feed many more people than gathering on the same amount of land.

Many people live by doing what is called subsistence agriculture; on a small farm and mostly poor countries are following. This is good in the short term, but can be bad for the country and the surrounding environment over many years. However, in rich countries, farms are often much larger and intensive agriculture is mostly done. It uses pesticides, machinery, chemical fertilizers. Only farmers can grow the food and we all need to survive since agriculture is what powers our economies, the developing world’s single biggest employer and the agrifood sector will certainly grow in the foreseeable future for food, feed, fuel and fibers.

According to Farming First, there will be an additional 1.7 billion mouths to feed by 2030 mainly in developing countries. To cope with this reality the world’s farmers need to double or even triple food production. However, farming policies have neglected the critical role which smallholders and women farmers must play in making sustainable development a reality. These rose questions with why development support for farmers plunged from 17 percent to 3 percent of global spend and why is farm productivity in the least developed countries (LCDs) is 10 percent of the developed world levels?

Fear is a powerful marketing tool, especially when properly financed. But so is hope. In that spirit, we can support the farmer locally and globally to increase farm productivity. Farmers’, they grow our crops; manage our land and safe guard biodiversity for our future. Here are six ways that is for their future and ours. The plan builds on existing knowledge and it works like this.

  1. 1.      Save natural resources

We are enormously rich in terms of biodiversity or natural resources. Report shows that farmers of Lekhnath village of Kaski district were managing more than sixty local landraces of important crops and medicinal plants for their livelihoods. Exchange of seed, based on co-operation and reciprocity, among the local farmers has been the basis of maintaining bio-diversity as well as food security. So we need more earth saving ideas like this since farmers are still the principal managers of plant genetic resources.

  1. 2.      Share knowledge

Although indigenous knowledge is not based on scientific facts, they are formulated on the basis of past observations and experience and have proven to be closely matched with scientific reality as indigenous measures do enable adaptation to harsh environment in many cases. In these days, tharu farmers in the Terai of Nepal are replacing rice crops with sugarcane and till to cope with uncertain rainfall which practices are helpful to promote the concept of food security. Thus we need to share more ideas and information like such, since indigenous knowledge, traditional practices and local resources including soil, water, genetic material, and skills can be used in research and technology development in sustainable way.

  1. 3.      Build local access

Although the road network has expanded significantly, many roads are of poor quality and are impassable during the rainy season. Thus access to roads infrastructure has major implications for food security, because while most of the surplus production takes place in Terai, the majority of households in the rest of Nepal are net buyers of cereals. One-fourth of the country’s area is still more than a four-hour walk from a road head. Similarly only less than 10 percent population in rural areas has access to electricity and they use it mostly for lights. Less than 40 percent of cultivable land is irrigated (only 17 percent year-round), while there is potential to reach two-thirds; thus overall factors limiting crop productivity. So we need more and better infrastructure to increase our agricultural productivity.

  1. 4.      Protect harvests

In Nepal, losses in horticultural produce vary between 15 and 35 percent and in food grains up to 9 percent at the different stages along the chain from harvesting to marketing. Normally storage loss is 15 to 30 percent ranging with storage techniques. However, there are significant opportunities to move smallholder farmers from subsistence to commercial agriculture through the support of improved post-harvest technology and value chain development. So we need better facilities and better techniques to preserve what farmers grow. In fact, these are helpful for contributing to food security through decreasing post-harvest loss.

  1. 5.      Access markets

There have been improvements in agricultural infrastructures in the recent years. The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is booming propelled by the rapidly growing usage of mobile phone and internet services. Mobile phones can help in agriculture and rural development by providing information to farmers about market demand and supply, about market opportunities and much more. Radios, televisions, printed media, websites/ social media are also working for price information by improving market information transparent and fair.

  1. 6.      Priorities research imperatives

In developing countries including Nepal, agriculture development is still considered the public sector responsibilities. However, to make Nepalese agriculture competitive there is a need to substantially increase investment on agriculture in general and research in particular to meet the present challenges of agriculture research for development so that research, extension, and teaching should work hands in hands.  Moreover it needs to enhance a favorable environment for a broad and pluralistic participation and resource co-ordination amongst all potential service providers and beneficiaries in partnership to adapt and modify technologies to best meet its farmer’s requirement. So we need more public and private research to work hand in hand for farmers.

To come up with conclusion, these 6 actions can help preserve vital resources, can help feed growing population and can help confront global warming. At their center is farming, we should proud with farming and share our supports to the farmers.

CIPE Blog Competition 2013 [Deadline Extended]

Blog Competition Guidelines

Who can participate: 
Writers from around the world interested in democratic and economic reforms and their role in development. Past CIPE Essay Competition Winners are not eligible to participate.

Length and language
Up to 750 words. All blog posts must be in English.

Submission Format

This year CIPE’s competition is reaching out to the growing global ranks of bloggers. All submissions should therefore be written as a blog entry. Submissions will be accepted both from seasoned bloggers and aspiring ones. You do not need to have an existing blog to apply, but if you are interested in blogging CIPE encourages you to set one up for free using a service such asWordPressBlogger, or Tumblr.

Please use this online form to submit your entry. The submissions must be either unpublished work or previously published on the author’s own blog.

Previously unpublished submissions must include the writer’s name in the file name and inside the document. For example, if your name is John J. Smith, the document should be named “SMITH-JOHN.doc”. If the entry is already published on your blog, please provide the URL.

You are only allowed to submit one entry.

The blog post you submit, where applicable, should include examples from your personal experience relating to the topic. Submissions that only talk about challenges to the issues in general terms, or limit proposed solutions only to what governments should do, will not be successful.

We encourage you to submit blog posts that contain a photo or a video to illustrate your message. Photos or videos should be original or, if someone else is the author, properly cited under fair use standards with a link to the source.

Authors of the three best blog posts will each receive a $250 honorarium, three runners-up will each receive a $100 honorarium, and three third place winners will each receive $75 honorarium. CIPE will publish all nine winning entries on its blog, which reaches 15,000 readers around the world each month, and also publish them as a part of its Economic Reform Feature Service article series reaching CIPE’s network of over 20,000 contacts worldwide.

December 2, 2013 at 11:00 PM (EDT)


Your blog post should address one of the following three topics as related to developing countries (e.g., non-OECD countries):

  1. How can social media empower citizens to participate in a democratic dialogue on constructive reforms?
  2. What experiences from other countries can guide the role of youth in your country’s democratic and economic development?
  3. What story or personal experience can you share to illustrate the need and possible solutions for democratic and economic reforms in your country?

Submit your essay!

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Climate Summit 2014

“I challenge you to bring to the Summit bold pledges. Innovate, scale-up, cooperate and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for an ambitious legal agreement through the UNFCCC process.”

Picture Courtesy; UN official website

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

As part of a global effort to mobilize action and ambition on climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is inviting Heads of State and Government along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders to a Climate Summit in September 2014, New York.

This Summit will be a different kind of Climate Summit. It is aimed at catalyzing action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society in areas for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions to the Summit that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.

The Summit will come one year before countries aim to conclude a global climate agreement in 2015 through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although the 2014 Climate Summit is not part of the negotiating process, countries have recognized the value of the Summit, including by welcoming the Secretary-General’s efforts in a Decision of the Doha climate conference in 2012.

By catalyzing action on climate change prior to the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in 2015, the Secretary-General intends to build a solid foundation on which to anchor successful negotiations and sustained progress on the road to reducing emissions and strengthening adaptation strategies.


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