An international consultative workshop titled “Bridging Boundaries: Strengthening Regional Cooperation across Transboundary River Basins and Landscapes in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” was held from November 15–16 2018 under the auspices of: ICIMOD’s Regional Programmes, River Basins and Cryosphere, and Transboundary Landscapes; in association with Oxfam; the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF); and the Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA).The event brainstormed on the opportunities and challenges in deepening transboundary cooperation and the workable factors and conditions needed to achieve this; it also explored the roles and ways on how stakeholder networks, dialogue platforms, the private sector and the civil society could advance such a concept. The workshop brought together more than 100 participants from over 20 countries and provided an opportunity for donors, lawmakers, civil servants, researchers and policymakers to share their experiences in the context of river-basin management, cross-border landscape approaches, and regional cooperation. The overall set of recommendations stressed on the following issues: harnessing greater political commitment from countries; accessing and using regional data and information for decision-making on regional cooperation; adopting a strategic approach to raise awareness and capacity building in communicating the win-wins of transboundary cooperation; assessing risks for the long-term interest of the business sector; and finally, on the perils of non-action in countering climate change, as this would have a negative impact on sociocultural resilience and sustainable economic development in the HKH.
1. Learning from transboundary conservation and cooperative efforts in the HKH within South Asia and elsewhere provides an actionable basis to secure political commitment on linking the key elements of river-basin and transboundary landscape approaches.
2. A synergy between river-basin and transboundary landscape approaches can bring greater conceptual clarity on how a synergistic pathway can lead to resilience building by contributing to food, water, energy, and livelihood security. The stakeholders’ engagement and matching of their priorities with the overarching needs can complement the process to achieve a refined approach to river-basin and landscape management.
3. A clear communications strategy encompassing science and the partnership dividends generated by institutions in the HKH is an important point of reference for policymakers. Such a strategy, if backed up by credible data, knowledge, and information, contributes strategically to the decision-making processes, and can facilitate the involvement of civil society in data generation, management, and dissemination.