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10 Nov 2022 | NEWS

ICIMOD Mountain Chairs discuss water, energy, and food security in the Eastern Himalayas

Dr Jyoti Prakash Tamang and Dr Christopher Scott with students from Sikkim University.


Dr Jyoti Prakash Tamang (ICIMOD Mountain Chair 2019–2021, Sikkim University, India) hosted Dr Christopher Scott (ICIMOD Mountain Chair 2020–2022, Penn State University, USA) from 31 October–3 November 2022 at Sikkim University, India. This is the first-ever meeting of the two concurring ICIMOD Mountain Chairs. The meeting covered the development challenges in the mountains, which include the pressing needs for water resources management, energy transitions, and food security.

The Mountain Chairs were involved in a series of interdisciplinary and applied-research focused discussions on the climate impacts on mountain water towers, tradeoffs of hydro-energy development, ethno-microbiology of Himalayan food, and Sikkim’s commitment to organic agriculture.

Dr Scott interacted with students, post-doctoral fellows, and professors from various departments across the university including the Department of Microbiology to discuss food systems, the Department of Geology and the Centre of Excellence on Water resources, Cryosphere and Climate Change to discuss glacial melt, glacial lake outburst flood outburst and water security.

For his official lecture “Water-energy-food nexus: Himalayan hydropower tradeoffs for resource security with carbon neutrality,” Scott was welcomed by Dr Tamang and introduced by the university’s, Vice-Chancellor, Avinash Khare. The lecture was attended by a diverse group of students and faculty from the anthropology to geology department. The question-and-answer session raised important questions on hydropower sustainability and its social and environmental impacts.

Dr Scott and Dr Tamang also discussed potential collaboration between Penn State and Sikkim University under the Himalayan University Consortium framework and expressed their commitments for further collaboration.