Mountain Economies in BIMSTEC Countries: An Agenda for Regional Cooperation and Shared Prosperity : ICIMOD Working Paper 2018/7 (2018)

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Mountain and hill areas form a substantial part of The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) region – over 1.1 million square kilometres or 23% of total land area. They are home to 140 million people, and a further 1.5 billion people downstream depend directly or indirectly on the mountains for a range of goods and services, including water, energy, food, and biodiversity. Most of the large rivers in the BIMSTEC region originate in the Himalaya and other mountains and hills. They are important sources of energy for the lowlands, with most of the region’s existing and potential hydropower production. Mountains are therefore an important source of vital ecosystem services and play a significant role in economic development, environmental protection, ecological sustainability, and human wellbeing.

Although the BIMSTEC region has seen rapid economic and social development in recent decades, growth is not uniform across or within countries. Hill and mountain areas have generally lagged behind. These areas face challenges of poor physical connectivity, higher climate change vulnerability, inadequate facilities for regional tourism, and low investment to tap existing economic opportunities.

Economic growth and sustainability of both upland and lowland communities is only possible through better integration, improved connectivity, and sustainable natural resource management and use. Regional integration has the potential to contribute to sustained growth, poverty alleviation, and inclusive development. It opens up opportunities for leveraging economic growth and sustainable development within and across the BIMSTEC member countries and to address the challenges of managing the food-water-energy nexus. There is potential for shared benefits may be attained from arising opportunities such regional trade, regional connectivity through waterways, clean energy through hydropower, conserving biodiversity, regional tourism, and mitigation of regional flood risks and damages.

ICIMOD Working Paper

ISBN: 978 92 9115 629 0 (print), 978 92 9115 630 6 (electronic)
Language: English
Pages: 36
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 Record created 2018-08-29, last modified 2018-09-21