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 A couple of weeks have passed since the conclusion of UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, and we have had some time to process and evaluate our participation in this significant conference. This year, we were engaged in a number of activities at COP26, including hosting a high-level panel which brought together representatives from our Regional Member Countries (RMCs) and partners from around the world. All in all, I am happy to report that COP26 was an important and successful event for the HKH and for ICIMOD.

COP26 was important for the region in that we were able to amplify our region’s visibility and importance more than ever before. Our team was able to interact with many delegates during and on the sidelines of the conference, and we have been able to firmly establish the HKH as a region that is extremely vulnerable to climate change. From COP26 President Alok Sharma to numerous high-level delegates from our region and beyond, there was unanimous agreement that the HKH is an important region in our collective fight against climate change. This is a huge recognition of the tremendous challenges that our mountains and communities face.

We were also able to convey the immense opportunities at hand. Our “Mountains of Opportunity” investment framework received strong support from Rt. Hon. Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal, and high-level representatives of our RMCs. This framework offers pathways for climate finance and other forms of support to flow to the HKH region and support climate adaptation for the millions of mountain people who call this region home. We will continue to work on this and keep up the momentum to ensure that this framework brings in investments that benefit our mountain communities.

COP26 was also important for ICIMOD. At the conference, the UK government announced that ICIMOD would receive funds under the Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA) initiative. Similarly, the USA came forward and expressed strong interest in engaging with us and supporting our work. We drew much encouragement and inspiration knowing that many of our core supporters, including several ambassadors and heads of delegations based in Nepal, attended the HKH event at COP26 virtually from Kathmandu and elsewhere around the globe.

Even while meeting and engaging with many of our partners has been difficult during the pandemic, we are grateful that COP26 provided a platform for us to touch base and network with many of our partners from around the world. It also provided the opportunity to forge potential new partnerships, which we are confident will yield tangible results in the near future.

This year’s much anticipated climate conference was a positive step forward for the HKH region and our collective efforts for climate action. The final statement of COP26, accepted by all countries who are signatory to the Convention, acknowledged the importance of the cryosphere, which is of direct concern to our mountains and communities. We also managed to bring the region together to discuss and present our shared HKH climate agenda. These are notable developments which bode well for our continued collective efforts towards a resilient and prosperous HKH. Let’s continue to protect the HKH − the pulse of the planet − together!

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