The Union Cabinet today approved the Mission document on the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). This Mission was launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) with a budget outlay of Rs. 550 crore during the XII Five Year Plan period.
The primary objective of the Mission is to develop in a time bound manner a sustainable national capacity to continuously assess the health status of the Himalayan Ecosystem and enable policy bodies in their policy-formulation functions as also to assist States in the Indian Himalayan Region with implementation of actions selected for sustainable development.
The NMSHE will attempt to address a variety of important issues. These are:
a) Himalayan glaciers and associated hydrological consequences.
b) Prediction and management of natural hazards.
c) Biodiversity conservation and protection.
d) Wild life conservation and protection.
e) Traditional knowledge societies and their livelihood.
f) Capacity in regulation of science and critical peer evaluation to help governance issues related to sustenance of the Himalayan Ecosystem.
g) Assist in restoration and rehabilitation process of Uttarakhand.
The Mission shall also scientifically assess the vulnerability of the Himalayan region to climate change in all dimensions of physical, biological and socio-cultural aspects. It would lead to formulation of appropriate policy measures and atime bound action programme to sustain its ecological resilience and ensure the continued provisions of key ecosystem services. The Mission also aims to build and support capacities at the Central and State levels to assess climate change and formulate adequate response measures to challenges in the Himalayan region.
The Mission also seeks to safeguard communities in the Himalayas from the impacts of climate change through evidence based policy formulation and enhanced research and capacity. The marginalized and vulnerable communities of the Himalayan region will be the major beneficiaries of the Mission.The Mission covers all 12 Himalayan States of India in the Indian Himalayan region (IHR). These include 10 hill States that is Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, and two partial hill States namely, Assam and West Bengal.
The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India has been given the responsibility to coordinate the implementation of NMSHE.A Mission Cell (NMSHE Cell) will be set up at the Climate Change Programme Division of the Department of Science and Technology. The Cell will be headed by a Mission Director.
Climate change has emerged as an important area of environmental and development planning in recent times. In order to fulfill India's vision of sustainable development in the context of climate change, the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change launched NAPCC in June 2008. The NAPCC comprises of eight national Missions. These are:- 1) National Solar Mission, 2) National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, 3) National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, 4) National Water Mission, 5) National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system, 6) National Mission for a Green India, 7) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and 8) National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.