Call for urgent resilience action to protect HKH region from climate impacts

Call for urgent resilience action to protect HKH region from climate impacts

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Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio

KATHMANDU: Experts urged here on Wednesday the governments in Hindu Kush Himalayan countries to take resilience action without further delay to protect the region from increasing impacts of climate change.

“Failing to take resilience action immediately would only deepen poverty, joblessness, food insecurity and malnutrition,” they warned.

Carolina Adler of the Mountain Research Institute said that urgently needed resilient action  is needed to halt poverty from getting the worst.

“Worsening impacts of climate change on lives and livelihoods of the mountain communities is adding more to the mountain poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition and out-migration.  Policy-based resilience action must be taken without further ado to address these impacts of climate change on the people’s lives and livelihoods,” She told the participants of the “Ending Mountain Poverty session” on the 3rd day of the four-day internatoinal conference “Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future for Asia” being held here in Kathmandu.

She suggested that diversifying livelihood options and opportunities are must to cut mountain poverty and outmigration.

Carolina Adler further called for the need for wealth equalizing institutions and value-based approach in HKH region. Besides, mountain specificities must be addressed to lower the mountain poverty, build resilience and close income gaps between the plains and mountains.

Director of the Patna-based AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS) Sunil Roy said while framing policy-based resilience action, people must be engaged in the process.

“The communities must be at the center stage of the discourse on climate resilience. For, local communities are best placed to recognize the problems and propose appropriate decisions accordingly,” Mr. Roy said.

Sunil Roy further said that the formal and informal institutions in the HKH countries should be inclusive and promote participation of all stakeholders at local, regional, global levels.

These institutions can promote capacity-building, education and awareness raising according to what is needed in a specific area, which can constitute building block of the resilience building.

Chief Policy Advisory for Natural Resource Management at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Brij Rathore, said that active partnership of people in social and political for a is must for redefining and elaborating public policy and governance.

“The whole idea of political will relies on people’s engagement, who actually suffer from the impacts of climate change,” Brij Rathore stressed.

ICIMOD’s Programme Coordinator of Himalayan University Consortium recognizing the unprecedented significance of the data and information generation their sharing among HKH regional countries for effective resilience action is key for collaboration on data exchange and regional resilience action.

Addressing the “Knowledge and Technology Networks”,  he told the participants, “Understanding the importance of data and information sharing, local knowledge and technology and regrouping of information at one platform for use by various stakeholders, particularly governments is of paramount importance and must for coping with environmental and non-environmental stresses as a part of resilience action.

He further added that promoting regional cooperation calls for a common understanding of the climate change-related definitions and concepts  in the HKH region.

Food Security scientist at the ICIMOD, Dr. Golam Rasul, said that relationship and interchange between upstream and downstream communities charaterises much of the work that takes place in the KHK region. Because, the effects of upstream impacts the downstream areas.

Nearly all researchers agree that this relationship is of paramount importance to the HKH region and requires improved regional cooperation for a sustainable and productive future, he said while addressing the participants of the session “Regional Cooperation in HKH”.

Dr. Rasul emphasised, “Water, energy and food security of 1.3 people downstream would be affected if the Himalayan watershed is not managed sustainably keeping in view the relationship between upstream and downstream areas.”

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