Ecosystem restoration
in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

World Environment Day 2021

What is ecosystem restoration?

The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) defines ecosystem restoration as the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Healthier ecosystems, with richer biodiversity, yield greater benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of timber and fish, and larger stores of greenhouse gases. Between now and 2030, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate US$9 trillion in ecosystem services. Restoration could also remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration. Restoring ecosystems large and small protects and improves the livelihoods of people who depend on them. It also helps to regulate disease and reduce the risk of natural disasters. In fact, restoration can help us achieve all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

About the photo contest

In line with the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, and the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, ICIMOD is organizing a photo contest on the theme of “Ecosystem restoration in the Hindu Kush Himalaya”. The contest is open to the general public. Each entrant may submit up to five images on ecosystem restoration (please refer to submission requirements and rules below). Entries will be judged on relevance, composition, originality, technical quality, and the caption/s accompanying the image/s. Winners will be announced in October 2021. The 20 best entries will be featured in ICIMOD's website and highlighted in its communications and outreach platforms.


Cash prizes will be awarded to the three best photo entries in any of the thematic categories. Winning entries will also receive a certificate.

  • USD 500
  • USD 300
  • USD 100



Submission deadline
30 July 2021
17:00 Nepal Standard Time
Result announcement
October 2021


Entries must highlight examples or the significance of ecosystem restoration, such as the restoration of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, forests, grasslands and rangelands, biological corridors, springsheds, and other examples such as agroforestry, urban forestry, organic farming, removal of invasive species, and restoration of polluted or degraded areas. Images that tell the story of how individuals and communities are involved in restoring ecosystems that they depend on are highly encouraged. For more examples of ecosystem restoration, please refer to website of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

How to participate

Each participant may submit up to three images in any of these categories (and a total of five across categories) by filling in the image submission form.

Read the eligibility and terms of condition carefully before entering your photo(s). 




Participation in the digital photo contest is free and open to anybody anywhere in the world except to ICIMOD staff, ICIMOD consultants, and their immediate family members.

Each entrant may submit up to five entries by properly filling in the image submission form

Terms and conditions

  • Entries must have been taken in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region of any of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. 
  • Entries must be digital black and white or colour images, submitted in a .jpeg or .jpg format, between 3 and 10 MB in size (300 dpi). Colour images changed to black and white as well as scanned (digitized) images of non-digital photographs, negatives, or transparencies are also acceptable.
  • Each photograph must have a caption
  • Minimal cropping is permitted. Minor adjustments, including dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast, and slight colour adjustments are acceptable as long as the integrity of the original photo is not compromised.
  • Entries should be the work of the entrant, and he/she must own the copyrights. Entries that violate or infringe upon another person's rights, including but not limited to copyrights, are not eligible.
  • By participating in the photo contest, the entrant grants ICIMOD and its media partners a non-exclusive right to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries and texts, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any educational, promotional, publicity, exhibition, archival, scholarly, or all other standard purposes of ICIMOD. Due credit will be given to the entrant each time his/her photo is used, wherever feasible. ICIMOD will provide a digital or print copy to the entrant (upon request) of any publication that includes his/her image(s).
  • Entrants may be requested to send in original image files of their entries.


  • Photos that were submitted to ICIMOD-organized photo contests in the past; photos that have been awarded or given honourable mentions in any photo contest, either online or in print; and photos that have already been used in print or online publications are not eligible. However, you may submit photos that you have used in your personal or social spaces such as blogs, Facebook, and Flickr.
  • Photos with watermarks or date/time are not permissible. Photos that have been digitally manipulated compromising the integrity of the originals are not eligible. High dynamic range images (HDR) and composite images are not acceptable. Minimal cropping, however, is permitted.
  • Photos that are culturally insensitive or portray subjects, especially children or minors, in the nude or compromising situations are not acceptable.
  • ICIMOD staff are not eligible to participate in the contest.
  • ICIMOD reserves the right to disqualify any entrant whose entry or conduct appears in any way to tamper with the spirit of the digital photo contest; violate the above terms and conditions and exclusionary provisions; or infringe on the rights of third parties. Decisions of ICIMOD are final.
Judging criteria

Judging criteria

  • Technical quality, clarity, composition, and visual impact
  • Overall effectiveness of the photos and accompanying captions in conveying the theme (so the choice of your subject matter and how you choose to describe or caption it are very important) 
  • Novelty, flair for the unexpected, ability to capture a photo-perfect moment, “wow” factor, etc.


For any queries on the contest in general and for any difficulties in submitting the entries from the online submission form, please write to Jitendra Bajracharya, clearly mentioning the nature of the problem. However, once the submissions are made, any queries regarding the status of the application and results announcement will not be entertained.