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The Beginning

The concern for integration of environmental considerations in the process of planning for economic development was for the first time articulated in the Fourth Five Year Plan (1969-74). Subsequently, the National Committee on Environmental Planning and Coordination (NCEPC) was constituted by the Government of India in 1972 for promoting research on environmental problems and establishing facilities for such research wherever necessary. In pursuance of these goals, the NCEPC constituted the Environmental Research Committee (ERC) and the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Research Committee to assist the Department of Science & Technology (DST) in fostering and supporting research work in various areas of environmental concern. The environmental considerations continued to be supported in the planning and development process during the 5th plan period. As environmental issues became more and more complex with time as per growing national needs, the Government of India set-up a Department of Environment w.e.f. November 01, 1980 as a focal point within the government for all subjects related to environment and ecology. Subsequently, the Sixth Plan document emphasized the need for balanced growth so that the development activities could proceed hand in hand with ecological preservation. Various schemes were operated by the Department of Environment during the Seventh Five Year Plan. Integrated Action Oriented Research, Development and Extension Programme was one such activity, and was implemented in three major areas in the country, namely Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats and Himalayan region. However, ecodevelopment action oriented research on Himalayan region was given priority by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India owing to its young age, complex geology, peculiar drainage of the major rivers and the relative fragility of the complex forest ecosystem.


The Responsiblities

During 1980s, the Planning Commission, Govt. of India, based on the recommendations of an expert committee, started this programme to generate awareness by way of programmes focussing on students’ participation in ecodevelopment activities in the Himalayan region and subsequently entrusted this programme to the Department of Environment (Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India). Various R&D projects in the Himalayan region (in eight States; UP Hills, HP, J&K, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, W.B. and Tripura) were funded by the Planning Commission/Ministry of Environment and Forests to various Universities/Research Institutions/NGOs etc. Based on the output of these R&D projects, gaps between the science and technology research and practical applications at the user level (where the actual felt need lies) were realized. It was, therefore, felt essential that the results of Science and Technology research should be translated practically in the areas where they are needed. It was with this aim, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, entrusted this responsibility by transferring the Integrated Action Oriented Research, Development and Extension Programme (termed as Integrated Ecodevelopment Research Programme, IERP) for the Himalayan region to the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) w.e.f. April 1, 1992.

The Objectives

In general, this programme envisages integrated research and development aimed at finding solutions to ecological problems of the Indian Himalayan region on sustainable basis as there is a growing realization of the urgency to translate research findings into practical application for the benefit of the people. Collaborative and complimentary research and development programmes involving educational and research institutions, voluntary agencies (NGOs) and the people are essential in the application of scientific and technological knowledge, and infusing refinements therein.

The fundamental philosophy of the "Action Oriented Research, Development and Extension Programme (termed as IERP) for the Indian Himalayan Region" draws on the twin tenets of arresting environmental degradation in the mountains and subsequent restoration of environmental quality. The main aim of such endeavours is to ensure a sustainable, self-reliant socio-economic development with reduced dependence on external inputs or support, by strengthening existing, or opening new income generating avenues, using locally available resources while avoiding the adverse effects on the environment. Therefore, the main objective of IERP is to promote the socio-economic development of the hill people in harmony with preservation of ecological balance, and thus striving to improve the economic well being and quality of life of the people.

The Institute has been directly associated with IERP w.e.f. 01.04.1992. After accepting the programme, the Institute identified two broad thrust areas, namely Technology Development and Research for Integrated Ecodevelopment and, Technology Demonstration and Extension, under the Integrated Eco-development Research Programme.


The Mechanism

The R&D project proposals under IERP are entertained only if they fall within the two thrust areas as mentioned above. The aims of the projects should be to identify/address location-specific problems; problem solving of location specific environmental issues. Secondly, incorporation or innovations on the use of locally available resources or technologies to ensure easy replication and promotion of economic and ecological sustainability. Thirdly, to ensure optimal utilization of resources, incorporating economic efficacy, ensuring environmental safeguards and increased income-generation. Proposals are entertained by the Institute in the prescribed IERP format in 10 copies.

Project proposals for financial assistance are evaluated by the subject experts and thereafter placed before the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) [constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Government of India] for consideration/recommendation. The projects are sanctioned and funded by the Institute based on the recommendations of the PEC.

The projects are generally sanctioned and funded for a maximum period of up to three years. Sanctioned projects are monitored by evaluation of the Annual Progress Reports (APRs) and Final Technical Reports (FTRs) through the subject experts. Spot evaluation of the work in case of action oriented projects is generally done by Expert groups. The FTRs are finally sent to the relevant departments of concerned States and Union Govt. for replication of research recommendations/findings. Abstracts of all completed projects are also published in the Institute's ENVIS Bulletin for wide dissemination of research findings.


The Achievements

Through IERP the Institute is finding solutions to various location-specific ecological problems of the Indian Himalayan region on sustainable basis. The scheme has also been successful in achieving the second objective (i.e., to identify and strengthen the local knowledge of the environment and contribute towards strengthening researches of regional relevance in the scientific Institutions, Universities/NGOs/Voluntary agencies working in the Himalayan region, through interactive networking), out of three, of the Institute as per its mandate, and also as per the goals of IERP. Therefore, this programme is playing a significant role in developing scientific capabilities in the Indian Himalayan region as well as in stregthening infrastructure and human resource development, in addition to finding solutions to identified location-specific problems of the region, and setting up of demonstrations for increasing awareness.

Some of the major achievements made so far under the Integrated Ecodevelopment Research Programme, IERP, of the Institute are as below :
           The Programme (IERP) is fully guided and monitored/reviewed from time to time by the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) and Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) [constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Govt. of India] of the Institute.



Contact for more detail

G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment
Kosi-Katarmal, Almora, 263 643, Uttarakhand, India

Dr. I.D. Bhatt,
Scientist G & Scientist-In-Charge, IERP

G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment
Kosi-Katarmal, Almora, 263 643, Uttarakhand, India
e-mail:; ;