Originally posted on WWF.
Thimphu, Bhutan: Governments of four Eastern Himalayan states announced plans today that will lead to the development of a unified climate change adaptation plan for the mountainous region.
Delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal met in Thimphu on January 27 and 28 to start planning 10-year national and regional adaptation frameworks that will be tabled later this year.
“Climate change is a shared problem and regions bound by common issues and geographical boundaries should coordinate efforts to deal with its impacts on the Himalayan biodiversity. Actions must be expedited at local, national and regional levels,” said the Honorable Minister for Agriculture and Forests Bhutan, Dr. Pema Gyamtsho.
Key concerns to be addressed by the decade-long framework include ensuring food, water and energy security as well as maintaining high levels of biodiversity in the region’s temperate and alpine forests.
Working groups based in each of the four nations will hammer out details on food, water, biodiversity and energy targets over the following months. Final plans will be tabled at the Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas scheduled for 14 October in Thimphu, Bhutan.
Roof of the world
The Eastern Himalayas encompass Bhutan, northeast India, Nepal, southern parts of Tibet and the north of Myanmar. The area is home to the world’s highest mountains and deepest gorges, subtropical jungles, temperate forests, grasslands, savannas and alpine meadows.
Its glaciers and ice fields feed some of the world’s most important river systems, on which millions of people depend. It is also home to thousands of rare species of plants and animals, including snow leopards and one-horned rhinos.
Impacts of climate change and human activity
This diverse region is extremely vulnerable to variations in temperature, rainfall, and extreme weather events. Far from rosy projections indicate that climate change will not only amplify human impacts but also have far-reaching consequences on the region’s biodiversity, freshwater resources and the socio-economic conditions of the people living there.
Increasing human activities are also threatening much of the Himalayan region’s biological wealth. Reckless use of natural resources is degrading forest ecosystems, reducing their ability to regenerate and provide essential goods and services.
Meanwhile, growing competition for land and other resources has triggered numerous conflicts between humans and wildlife.
“To secure the Eastern Himalayan ecosystem from climate change and development pressures, it is essential for the nations in the region to work on a unified strategy,” said Tariq Aziz, Leader of WWF’s Living Himalayas Initiative.
The Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas is supported by WWF, the MacArthur Foundation, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), UNDP, FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
For further information please contact
Savita Malla: Communications Manager, WWF’s Living Himalayas Initiative
firstname.lastname@example.org , +977 9851101851
Mr. Tashi Jamtsho, Executive Secretary-Climate Summit
Secretariattj@moaf.gov.bt, +975 17112030
Ms. Karma Zam, Officer- Climate Secretariat,
email@example.com, +975 17839463
Summit website: www.bhutanclimatesummit.org.bt
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Photo Credit: Himalayan Trails