Kathmandu, Nepal 3 February 2017 – As the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is one of the fastest warming and most vulnerable regions on Earth to climate change, implementing adaptation measures that target these mountains and downstream areas is crucial. But to what extent are existing national and sectoral adaptation policies relevant to the HKH, and where can they be strengthened? This has been the focus of a two-day workshop, entitled ‘Regional Policy Workshop on Adaptation Outlook for the Hindu Kush Himalaya,’ which concluded today at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal.
To address this issue, the workshop – jointly organised by ICIMOD, the UN Environment Programme (UN Environment) and GRID-Arendal – brought together policy and research experts who focus on climate change and mountain ecosystems in the HKH and beyond.
The workshop focused on building a foundation for assessing region-wide risk and vulnerability to climate hazards, and the existing adaptation policies and measures. By identifying policy gaps as well as opportunities, the findings of the workshop will provide decision makers with much-needed knowledge to meet current and future challenges from climate change and other drivers.
Over the last two days, participants reviewed and provided feedback on a background document entitled, ‘Key Climate Risks and Adaptation Policies and Actions for the Hindu Kush Himalaya’. Government representatives shared their views on national adaptation approaches for mountain ecosystems coping with climate change. These discussions will lead to the development of a report titled, “Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Mountains,” which will be part of UN Environment’s Mountain Adaptation Outlook series.
“We have a very important job in the days ahead,” said David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, to the gathering. “It is a very special thing that we have come from so many different countries to bring our minds together on the issue of adaptation. We hope this can be the foundation for more regional cooperation on this issue, because regional cooperation is paramount to securing the future of mountains and mountain people.”
“ICIMOD together with its partners brings tremendous knowledge on adaptation across the region” said Yubak Dhoj GC, Secretary, Ministry of Livestock Development, Government of Nepal. “The assessment of adaptation practices in the region is very much important for overall adaptation planning in the countries, and also for cross border learning”.
The ICIMOD-led assessment for the eight HKH countries focuses on the mountain range shared by over 1.3 billion people from Afghanistan to Myanmar. This assessment is the sixth in the series of Regional Mountain Adaptation Outlooks under development by UN Environment, GRID-Arendal and other regional mountain centres of excellence. The Adaptation Outlook series uses a common methodology across global mountain regions to facilitate comparison and knowledge exchange among these groups.
"Mountain areas across the Hindu Kush Himalaya face many of the same threats from climate change,” said Mozaharul Alam, the Regional Climate Change Coordinator for UN Environment. “Sharing of experiences and cooperation between the eight countries will therefore mutually increase their adaptive capacity. The HKH Partnership launched during UN Environment Assembly is a key platform to bring policy makers across the region together for improved coordination and exchange of experience.”
The Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, is proposed to launch at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) at the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.
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