Hindu Kush-Himalayan region: Biodiversity management needs regional cooperation

26 Oct 2010


(Nagoya, Japan and Kathmandu, Nepal)

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan called on the global community to pay attention to the vulnerability of the region as a hotspot for biodiversity and climate change, and emphasised the importance of regional cooperation for the management of biodiversity. The countries were participating in a side event on ‘Facing the challenges of mountain biodiversity conservation and management in a changing climate across the Hindu Kush- Himalayan Region’ in Nagoya Japan. They highlighted the dynamics of mountain biodiversity, and the way that the lives of mountain people are influenced by the interplay of climate and other drivers of change.

The side event was organised by ICIMOD in partnership with the Hindu Kush-Himalayan countries on 25 October 2010, during the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The high level panel delegates included the Hon’ble Minister Mr Deepak Bohara, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Nepal; Mr Vijay Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India; Ms Hasnun Nahar, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Bangladesh; Dr Tashi Yangzom, Programme Director, National Biodiversity Commission, Bhutan; and Mr Abdul Munaf Qaimkhani, Deputy Inspector General Forests, Ministry of Environment, Pakistan. The event served as an important platform for the countries in the region to share the initiatives they have taken to conserve and manage biodiversity, and strengthen cooperation for building resilient mountain ecosystems and communities.  

In his introductory remarks, Dr Andreas Schild, Director General ICIMOD, highlighted the region’s vulnerability to climate change, and ICIMOD’s trans-Himalayan transect approach for regional biodiversity management. He stressed the vital role that national partners have been playing in taking forward the regional landscape conservation initiatives for Kailash, Kangchenjunga, and Brahmaputra-Salween. 

The Hon’ble Mr Deepak Bohara emphasised the role the Himalayas play in global climate regulation. The Government of Nepal is highly concerned about climate change and the rapidly changing mountain environment. Mentioning the cabinet meeting held at the Mt. Everest base camp, and the upcoming Mountain Alliance Initiative for Climate Change, he said, “The time has come to raise the regional voice, and the global community must recognise our efforts”.

Mr Vijay Sharma explained the policy of the Government of India, and the recognition of the mountain ecosystem in the national environment policy and national action plan for climate change. He appealed for use of the recently published ‘Governance for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (G-SHE): Guidelines and Best Practices’, and added, “ICIMOD’s regional transboundary landscape management is going to be a very promising initiative in the long run.”

Ms Hasnun Nahar of Bangladesh considered that an environmental knowledge base and open data exchange among countries was fundamental for defining and developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Dr Tashi Yangzom added that, “Bhutan will be hosting a Climate Summit in 2011, it is a small step in the right direction where the four countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal will come together to better preserve the mountain ecosystems and face the challenges of climate change.” Talking about the recent flood disaster in Pakistan, Mr Abdul Munaf Qaimkhani drew attention to the need for improved understanding of regional climate change processes, and regional risk and vulnerability mapping. He desired ICIMOD’s support for knowledge generation and management of the vulnerable mountain region in Pakistan. 

Presenting an analysis of the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity by the Hindu Kush-Himalayan countries, Dr Eklabya Sharma from ICIMOD said, “The analysis clearly sees the countries’ progressive development in policy and legal frameworks for conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing from biodiversity.” He further indicated that some of the constraints such as poverty in mountain areas, knowledge gaps, poor technology transfer, limited financial resources, and the conflict situation in some countries have hindered achieving the 2010 targets. Dr Sharma indicated that the analysis document is open for comment; it is available at http://www.icimod.org/?page=1545.

For more information please contact:

Dr Eklabya Sharma
Programme Manager
Environmental Change and Ecosystem Services (ECES)
Email: esharma@icimod.org