In Memoriam: Pushkin Phartiyal, Synergos Senior Fellow
Pushkin was a leader in promoting sustainable development of the mountains and people in the Himalayas. He worked to build a green economy in the remote Himalayan regions in order to address the unprecedented challenges of limited natural resources and mountain poverty. He developed programs to promote sustainable livelihood through the efficient management of resources and the environment. These efforts introduced marginalized mountain communities to the market economy, creating an incentive to not only conserve the region’s dwindling resources but also to improve the regeneration of forests and water. Based on the premise that natural resource management is more efficient when linked to local community activity, Pushkin worked to strengthen a form of community forestry known as Van Panchayats, which links livelihoods with natural resource management. Through over 12,000 Van Panchayats in the Uttarakhand state of India, he helped increase natural resource-based microenterprises, the participation of women, and community resilience.
Pushkin was an Ashoka Fellow as well as a LEAD (Leadership in Environment and Development) Fellow. He was awarded several other prestigious fellowships such as the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship, United Nations Environmental Programme Tongji University’s Asia-Pacific Leadership Programme on Environment for Sustainable Development and UNEP Eco-Peace Leadership Centre Fellowship. Pushkin won numerous awards, notably the National Award for Excellence in Writing from the Government of India on three different occasions.
He was generous with his knowledge and experience, sharing it in India and beyond. He will be missed.