The study “Sustainable Livelihood and Green Development Strategies in Environment-Economic Vulnerable Areas” was launched in Lijiang, Yunnan Province from August 10th-16th, including a kick-off meeting and a field visit to Baoshan Stone Village.

The study is framed under the project “Pan-Third-Pole Environmental Change Study for Green Silk Road Development,” sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and will be implemented by the IEMP team with technical input from CAS researchers. The study integrates relevant data to construct thematic data collection on population, society, economy, culture, public infrastructure and services, natural environment, and policy measures in economically vulnerable areas long the Green Silk Road. On this basis, it clarifies the motivation, background, and collaboration mechanism of these countries in formulating policies for sustainable livelihoods and green development. It uses econometric models to analyze the effects of sustainable livelihoods and green development policies on communities, families, and individual response patterns, as well as the effects on different types of environmentally and economically vulnerable areas. The project will produce ten demonstration cases therein.

The IEMP team, the researchers from the institutes of CAS, and the cadres of the Baoshan Stone Village participated in the kick-off meeting. Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of the IEMP, chaired the meeting and delivered the opening remarks. She introduced the background of the study, the methodology, and the goals to be achieved. She said that this interdisciplinary study is one of the important undertakings of CAS in recent years to contribute to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. She expects that this study can generate some concrete experience concerning sustainable livelihood and green development that can be shared with other countries, particularly with those countries along the regions of the Pan Third Pole and the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

After the kick-off meeting, the team conducted a field visit to Baoshan Stone Village, located about 140km north east of Lijiang, not far from Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Stone Village is an old Naxi community nestled at the bank of the Yangtze River, known as the Jinsha River, and is home to about hundred families who have built their houses on a giant mushroom-shaped bank. There are terrace fields on the hillside around Stone Village, and the view is breathtaking during summer and autumn. Stone Village is well-known for its biological and cultural diversity and is one of the ten demonstration cases of sustainable livelihoods that will be delivered in this study.

The field visit was aimed at carrying out preliminary field research to collect baseline information related to the study. During the four-day field visit, the team was divided into a number of groups and visited about 20 households to learn basic information on local livelihoods, the natural environment, and resource conservation, including information on the economic situation and demographics. Group interviews and key informant interviews were made as well, including interviews with the chief of the village committee, the head of the women’s cooperative, the head of the geriatric association, and so on.