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Himalayan policy writeshop

published date
23 May 2023 to 26 May 2023
Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi)
About the event

Communities across the world have depended on millets, a group of cereal grains, as a source of nutrition and sustenance for generations. Despite the potential to address food and nutritional security, millet growth and consumption have been declining. Of late, the importance of millet has been recognised as critical in addressing food security, especially under the current climate change scenarios. The UN FAO has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets and various initiatives have been made by national governments and development organisations to promote this important crop. In this context, the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) is spearheading a campaign to help bring wider awareness about millet production and its significance in addressing food security among policymakers, the media, and the wider public. This writeshop is a follow up to the recently conducted masterclass on food security assessment and will bring together senior-level policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders from the Eastern Himalayan region (Northeast India, Bhutan, and Nepal) to develop policy briefs on millets for each region. The writeshop will be held in Kathmandu in conjunction with the meeting of HUC’s Thematic Working Group on Mountain Agriculture, which will set priorities for research collaboration, capacity building, and curriculum uptake among HUC member universities in the region.  

  • Build the capacity of selected country representatives to make concrete, policymaker-focused recommendations relevant to the national or sub-national contexts
  • Provide support to develop policy briefs which highlight policy, research, and knowledge gaps, as well as barriers and bottlenecks to millet revival and integration in Himalayan food systems
  • Bring together academics and policymakers to facilitate knowledge exchange, establish common understanding around millet production, and produce three country-specific national policy briefs
  • Build political awareness on the importance of millets from the perspective of food security and nutrition and indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage


Expected outcomes
  • Participant understanding around millet production and marketing will be established
  • Three country-specific policy briefs will be developed; the briefs will be concise and action oriented.


About the organisers

The Himalayan University Consortium is a network of 90 member universities in the eight Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) countries and outside of the HKH region. The Consortium aims to foster regional and international collaboration in innovative research and education for sustainable mountain futures in the region. Its Secretariat resides at the International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu. The University of Reading’s (UK) School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, founded in 1892, has expertise spanning agriculture, animal science, international development, environmental management, food marketing and consumer behaviour. In the latest Research Excellence Framework, the School's research was internationally recognised, with 91% of work in international development rated as internationally excellent, along with 80% of work in agriculture and agri-food economics. As part of the Green Resilient Agricultural Productive Ecosystems (GRAPE) project, ICIMOD is taking the lead in implementing GRAPE Field of Action (FA) 2 – action research – in Karnali and Sudurpashchim provinces of Nepal. GRAPE is jointly planned and financed by the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).  

Time Session
22 May 2023, Day 0 – Arrival
  Participants arrive in Dhulikhel Meeting of organisers (16:00)
23 May 2023, Day 1 – Introduction, context, and preparation for the writeshop
09:30–10:30 Facilitator – Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi), Programme Coordinator, HUC Remarks – Grady Walker, University of Reading and Co-Lead, Thematic Working Group on Mountain Agriculture, HUC Remarks – Prasant Kumar Swain, Former Joint Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmer Welfare, Government of India Overview of the writeshop – Chubamenla Jamir, Co-Lead, Thematic Working Group on Mountain Agriculture, HUC Introduction of participants
10:30–10:45 Tea & coffee
10:45–12:00 Remarks – Ken Shimizu, FAO Representative for Nepal and Bhutan Introduction to the International Year of Millets, FAO context – Arun G. C., Technical Expert, FAO GRAPE’s alignment in conservation and promotion of future smart food crops in HKH – Abid Hussain, Senior Economist and Food Systems Specialist, ICIMOD Heritage dimension of agriculture and diet – Hayley Saul, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre, Department of Archaeology, University of York
12:00–12:30 Sharing expectations questions
12:30–13:30 Lunch
13:30–15:30 Food Security Assessment tools – Chubamenla Jamir
15:30–16:00 Tea & coffee
16:00–17:30 Stakeholder mapping (country teams) using influence/interest matrix Identifying policy objectives/outcomes Identifying key stakeholders/policymakers/bottlenecks Preparation for working in country teams Non-core writing participants depart
24 May 2023, Day 2 – Writeshop
09:30–10:45 Review template for policy brief Edit introductory sections (plenary) Overview of writing in groups
10:45–11:00 Tea & coffee
11:00–13:00 Divide into country teams and allocate sections based on mapping exercise
13:00–14:00 Lunch
14:00–15:30 Continue writing in country teams
15:30–16:00 Tea & coffee
16:00–17:00 Continue writing in country teams
17:00–17:30 Feedback to plenary on progress Questions Preparation for Day 3   Further team writing in the evening, if required
25 May 2023, Day 3 – Writeshop (half day) and meeting of the TWG on Mountain Agriculture (half day)
  HUC TWG members arrive
09:30–10:45 Feedback on writing in groups and progress Country teams insert text into templates and revise
10:45–11:00 Tea & coffee
11:00–13:00 Reviewing the templates in plenary Crafting the conclusion and revisiting the introduction Final agreement on rough edit Responsibilities, roles, and feasibility to launch policy documents in respective countries Thank you and farewell to core writers who depart after lunch
13:00–14:00 Lunch (meet and greet with new arrivals for HUC TWG meeting)
14:00–15:30 Meeting of the TWG on Mountain Agriculture Introduction and welcome – Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi), Programme Coordinator, HUC – Grady Walker, University of Reading and Co-Lead, Thematic Working Group on Mountain Agriculture, HUC – Chubamenla Jamir, Co-Lead, Thematic Working Group on Mountain Agriculture, HUC   Summary of the policy writeshop   Updates on activities and research plans from TWG members – 10 min presentations on research, teaching, institution, etc from each HKH country (Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan)
15:30–16:00 Tea & coffee
16:00–17:00 Summary of activities from HUC TWG on Mountain Agriculture Open discussion: opportunities for collaboration
17:00–18:00 Work on action plans for TWGs moving forward Feedback from the TWG co-leads Discuss agenda for final day
26 May 2023, Day 4 – Field visits
09:30–19:30 ·        Depart venue in Dhulikhel in the morning and return by evening Detailed agenda of field visits to follow
27 May 2023, Day 5 – Departures
  Transfer to airport for departures