Mountains possess characteristic geographic settings giving rise to diverse physical, cultural, and socio-ecological conditions resulting from remoteness and different spatial and temporal conditions, which are the dominant factor influencing sustainable mountain development. ICIMOD is promoting the ‘mountain perspective framework’ to address these needs at the local, national, and regional levels as well as highlighting the mountain development agenda globally. Integrated and innovative solutions based on modern decision support tools and methods are considered crucial elements for better scientific understanding, supporting policy decisions, and devising appropriate development interventions.
The unprecedented growth of geo-information and earth observation technologies and the emergence of geographic information science now provide a viable institutional and technological framework, often called the ‘Spatial Data Infrastructure’ (SDI), to support informed decision-making by integrating many disciplines. SDI is increasingly assuming more importance at the global, regional, national, and local levels. ICIMOD’s Mountain Environment and Natural Resources Information System Division (MENRIS), is institutionalising such a framework to support the development and adoption of mountain policies and practices. MENRIS is an internationally recognised resource centre for geo-information and earth observation application; pursuing its goals through innovation and technology transfer, capacity building and scaling up, the development of mountain-specific applications and decision support systems, and as a clearing-house mechanism for geo-information within ICIMOD and agencies involved in sustainable mountain development.