The Himalayan University Consortium has its mandate in developing an effective, sustainable network of universities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, in collaboration with academic, research, knowledge generating and exchange institutions both within and outside the HKH region. Over the past three years, there has been renewed interest among existing HUC members and increased interest among potential members. The total number of members increased from 33 in the beginning of 2016 to 61 by the end of 2017.
The recent engagement of HUC in Pakistan dates back to 2013, when two important interactions were organized: the HUC Consultation Meeting in Islamabad in July 2013, and a three-day strategic workshop held in Abbottabad in October 2013. During the consultation meeting, senior representatives and researchers from eight universities in Pakistan discussed a strategy to build and sustain the consortium, highlighting the important roles of both focal persons and thematic working groups. At the strategic workshop, 70 researchers and delegates from Bangladesh, China, Germany, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, and United Kingdom discussed effective strategies to foster regional collaboration in research and training in and for sustainable mountain development.
As a result of these interactions, two additional universities in Pakistan joined the consortium by signing the HUC Charter at the HUC Summit in Kathmandu in October 2015, bringing the total number of members in Pakistan to five.
Over the past two years, Pakistan’s HUC members have been increasingly active in the consortium’s activities. They send their researchers and faculty members to take part in meetings and trainings organized by HUC-ICIMOD. Response from Pakistani applicant to the HUC individual Conference/Mobility Grants yield positive results over the past two years. However, few institutional partners take part in HUC Seed and Seedling Grants from Pakistan.
The proposed meeting on 27–28 February 2018 in Islamabad, to be hosted by the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and coordinated by the PARC Institute of Advanced Studies in Agriculture (PIASA), is a timely response to the above developments and opportunities.
Vice Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, and senior administrators and researchers of HUC members in Pakistan will be discussing:
- Draft of the HUC Strategy and Action Plan I (2018–2022).
- Potential funding sources for research and training collaboration among and between HUC members in Pakistan and members within and outside the region.
- Thematic areas for Pakistan and the role of HUC Pakistan members in Thematic Working Groups.
- Promotion of science-policy dialogues through HUC linkages with policy-making institutions.
- Potential linkage between HUC and Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission.
- The need to establish an HUC Country Chapter in Pakistan
- Procedure to nominate an HUC Steering Group member representing members in Pakistan.
- Senior representatives of existing and potential HUC members in Pakistan, led by the HUC Steering Group member, Bahadar Nawab Khattak.
- Senior representatives of a number of higher education institutions focusing on sustainable mountain development will be invited to selected sessions.
- Senior female administrators and researchers are strongly encourage to participate.
- Senior policy makers from the Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, National Agriculture Educational and Accreditation Council, and National Vocation and Technical Commission will be invited to the Meeting. Representatives of international donors, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Aga Khan Foundation will also take part in the event.
The meeting is expected to arrive at:
- Summary of comments and inputs to the HUC Strategy and Action Plan I (2018–2022).
- Summary and action points regarding resource mobilization and potential for collaboration.
- Summary and action points regarding HUC Country Chapter in Pakistan.
- Summary and action points of the nomination procedure for an HUC Steering Group Member representing Pakistan.