The HKH has been undergoing significant change over the past few decades, particularly about human mobility, the development of electronic communications and media, and accelerated integration of local economies with national and global markets.
These changes are characterized by major transformations and persistent problems: increasingly diversified rural livelihoods, persistent rural poverty, and accelerating natural resource degradation. Increased climate variability and climate change have further accentuated these changes, creating new challenges that compound vulnerability in the region while also opening up unexpected opportunities.
The lessons we take from the past five years suggest that although mountain livelihoods in the HKH are undergoing change, these are incremental and not sufficient to enhance the resilience of mountain communities. Efforts are still required to bring about a ‘transformative change’; a change which helps an individual, community or socio-ecological system graduate to a state of desired socioeconomic improvement at a significantly higher level than existing ones.
These observations provide the foundational rationale for the Adaptation and Resilience Building Regional Programme at ICIMOD. It is evident that despite the progress made to date on enhancing the adaptive capacities of mountain communities, concerted efforts are still needed to facilitate transformative change and resilience building for the region.