Policy in High Places: Environment and Development in the Himalayan Region

P. M. Blaikie, S. Z. Sadeque

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In 1998, with support from the Global Mountain Initiative, ICIMOD undertook a series of country studies to explore issues related to land policy, land management, and land degradation in the Region. The study was entitled Land Policies, Land Management and Land Degradation in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. Seven studies were carried out in six ICIMOD member countries: Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), Bhutan, China (Yunnan Province), India (two studies, one in the North-east and one in the North-west), Nepal, and Pakistan (North West Frontier Province and Northern Areas). This publication, then, directly addresses the issues of policy-making with regard to land resources in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas; and this includes policies for forestry, agriculture, biodiversity, national parks and wildlife, land tenure, property titling, and national environmental policy and the role of the State. The criteria used within the five areas are comparability of themes and issues between different countries; major policy controversy and debate; and support from good secondary data, academic studies, project evaluations, and other sources. The approach is formed around three related ideas. The first is policy as a process, examining how policy is made and taking the view that the rational model of policy making is inappropriate and simply does not explain how policy is, or should, be made. Secondly, the idea of stakeholders in environmental policy was introduced to identify the unequal distribution of political power of stakeholders and to draw attention to those who, while in the large majority, had little say in policy and sometimes became victims of it, rather than beneficiaries. Thirdly, the idea of access to resources and sustainable livelihoods was treated as a material necessity and right and used to draw attention to them in the inevitable conflicts that will arise in adjudicating between conservation agendas, the 140 million resource users, and other interests. The study ends with a number of specific and strategic conclusions. Both specific and strategic conclusions call for better implementation, more policing, and less corruption. The study also makes a number of specific sectoral recommendations, many of which focus on accountability to stakeholders and independent, where possible, monitoring and evaluation undertaken with client participation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherInternational Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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