Asia - December 2017

RESILIENT HINDU KUSH HIMALAYA: DEVELOPING SOLUTIONS TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR ASIA 

ICIMOD Conference imageAt a conference in Kathmandu organized by ICIMOD and the Government of Nepal, experts renewed the call for collective and inclusive action in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

Climate change and other drivers of change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya have already begun to impact ecosystems and communities, with local populations experiencing an increased vulnerability and exposure to natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and landslides. To address these and other issues, ICIMOD and the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Population and Environment organized an international conference: ‘Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future for Asia.’

Bringing together more than 200 experts from around the globe, the conference took place 3-6 December 2017, and aimed to identify, discuss, and recommend possible resilient solution packages suitable for mountain areas.

Opening the conference, ICIMOD Director General David Molden called for a change in the narrative about mountains from one of vulnerability to one of possibility and innovation. “We need to acknowledge that while change brings challenges, change also offers opportunity,” Molden said.

The MRI was invited to participate, with Executive Director Dr. Carolina Adler delivering input to the conversation on alleviating poverty in mountain regions, in which she highlighted the need to consider the role of wealth-equalizing institutions and how they can (or are unable to) account for the pressures of globalization as a factor in the persistence of poverty. She also highlighted the need to take a more values-based approach to poverty that considers human dignity as an overarching principle.

Other topics discussed ranged from disaster risk reduction to gender equity and building social capital, and all the sessions held over the course of the four days highlighted the need for collective action for increasing the resilience of mountains. Speakers at the event’s concluding high-level panel agreed to adopt a more international approach to solving the challenges of the Hindu Kush Himalaya. They suggested leveraging water and energy as the entry point to promoting regional cooperation, reducing the water footprint, generating evidence-based knowledge, and designing farm-based livelihoods. A 12-point Action Agenda was also unanimously adopted by conference participants, providing a common framework with which to work towards building resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya through shared purpose and collective action.

The European Union supported this conference, and the EU’s Ambassador to Nepal, Veronica Cody, was also in attendance. “This international conference provided an excellent opportunity to bring international and regional stakeholders together to identify concrete, actionable steps for collective action towards higher resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region,” Cody said. “This can be a valuable input for policy makers.”

For more information about the conference and its outcomes, please visit the event page on the ICIMOD website

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