Due to the topography alone, the population in the key region, Himalayas-Hindukush, face special challenges: Necessary infrastructure is often lacking in the very rugged alpine landscape and the inhabitants in the remote mountain regions have only limited income opportunities. Mountain soils are barren and the conditions of life are harsh.
To achieve sustainable improvements, the stakeholders have joined forces: The countries in the region founded the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in 1984 in Kathmandu. With support from the Austrian Development Agency and many other donors, ICIMOD works on projects for improving the conditions of life for people and protecting the environment in the Himalayas-Hindukush. A particular concern is conserving biodiversity in the region: With Austrian funding, for example, lake regions are being put to sustainable economic use for fish farming and floriculture as well as tourism. Also, cross-border tourism and the establishment of a regional centre for renewable energy and energy efficiency are important areas of cooperation.
Besides supra-regional projects, Austria also supports individual projects in Nepal, including the reconstruction of the Patan Museum in Kathmandu.