Meet on climate change begins

Kathmandu, December 3

A four-day international conference on ‘Understanding Climate Change and Enabling Climate Action in the Hindu Kush Himalaya’ began in Kathmandu today with participation of more than 400 experts from around the world.

The Ministry of Population and Environment and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development are jointly organising the conference, which was inaugurated by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. The conference will focus on ideas and solutions to create effective and sustainable changes to improve mountain livelihoods.

Speaking at the inauguration session, Minister for Population and Environment Mithila Chaudhary expressed her hope that the outcomes of conference would contribute to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people living in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region.

Similarly, Secretary at the ministry Prakash Mathema said the adverse impacts of climate change and other drivers of change posed serious threats to development efforts, so urgent actions were required from all to build resilience of people and ecosystems.

During the conference, participant groups will discuss ideas for strengthening the fragile environments and communities of the Hindu Kush Himalaya, a mountain range that spans from Afghanistan to Myanmar.

The HKH sources 10 major river systems in Asia that provide water, ecosystem services, and livelihoods to more than 210 million people. The region holds and distributes water for more than 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins.

Climate change and other drivers of change in the HKH have already begun to impact ecosystems and communities increasing vulnerability and exposure to natural disasters such as floods, droughts and landslides.

Resilience is the ability of communities and ecosystems to be prepared for shocks, recover from shocks and “bounce forward” to emerge stronger than before. ICIMOD and its partners have been working on developing solutions for resilience building, promoting regional cooperation and enhancing knowledge for sustainable mountain development.

For an effective response to the complex challenges facing the HKH, multiple actors need to come together and share knowledge, and develop collective vision for the region.