Earth observation to empower youth for climate actions

01 Oct 2010



A six-day long Youth Forum, ‘Empowering Youth with Earth Observation Information for Climate Actions’ starts from 1 October attended by some 40 young people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan, more than half of them women.

The forum aims to familiarise the participants with the potential benefits of earth observation derived information, and impart GIS/RS knowledge and skills for using earth observation to address pressing issues related to climate change.. The forum will also provide a platform for sharing and learning of experiences related to climate change issues in the countries of the Himalayan region. The participants are true ‘climate champions’, selected from 750 applications based on individual essays, fields of study, and social involvement, to provide a representative cross-sectional sample of voices from across the region. The overwhelming response from these 750 young people within the short space of a month is a real testimony to their zeal and energy.

The Youth Forum has been organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA), and the GIS Society of Nepal, under the framework of the SERVIR Himalaya Youth Initiative, and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

During the week, participants will attend presentations on a variety of themes related to climate change and the Himalayas, and understanding Earth observation (EO). Hands-on exercises will familiarise them with basic remote sensing and geographic information system (RS/GIS) skills, case studies related to use of EO in climate actions, and internet related resources such as Google Earth. The sessions will focus on emerging issues for the Himalayan region such as recession of glaciers, snow cover dynamics, deforestation, disaster risk management, air quality, and others. The last two days will be dedicated to project work preparing the participants to visualise a community based case study and how they can apply what they have learned for taking local action.

In the words of Dr Andreas Schild, Director General of ICIMOD, “For the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region with its major gap in data, Earth observation is proving increasingly vital as an important source of information for improving our understanding of climate change and its trends, and predicting future scenarios. Young people represents an important segment of our society, and need to be equipped and empowered with the right kind of information to enable them to take meaningful climate actions in their communities”.

Basanta Shrestha, Division Head of MENRIS, ICIMOD, emphasises the importance of earth observation and the benefits it provides to society, and of youth as ‘agents of change’ and communicators in their communities. Earth observation derived information and tools provide young people with a unique opportunity to enhance their understanding and become better informed, and will enable them to take climate actions in their communities.

The forum is expected to further strengthen the youth network; participants will become youth ambassadors for information on Earth observation and the SERVIR-Himalaya initiative in their communities, and to the media and the public. Throughout the Forum proceedings, opinions and ideas will be updated on a publicly accessible blog

Three other events are taking place during this week under the theme ‘Earth observation to benefit mountain communities of the Himalayan region’. The main event is an International Symposium which starts on 4 October, organised by ICIMOD together with regional and international partners. A workshop on space-based information for disaster preparedness and risk management takes place on 2 and 3 October before the main symposium. SERVIR-Himalaya will be launched on 5 October, and the series concludes with the SERVIR-Himalaya Inception Workshop on 7 October held in cooperation with USAID and NASA.

For more information please contact:

Basanta Shrestha
Division Head
Mountain Environment and Natural Resources Information System (MENRIS) email:
Tel +977-1-5003222 Fax +977-1-5003277

Bidya Banmali Pradhan
Environment Officer
Tel +977-1-5003222 Fax +977-1-5003277