Joint call for South-South and Regional Cooperation to tackle climate change challenges

   TwitCount

Vulnerable communities in developing countries, mountain nations, and small island developing states (SIDS) need global support and knowledge to adapt to the rapid and unpredictable changes. 

This was the central theme of the side event ‘Adaptation without Borders: Building Cooperation for Resilient Regions’ organized jointly by INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and Oxford University’s Environment Change Institute (ECI) in collaboration with GRID-Arendal and other partner institutions at the UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday 14 November 2013.

The event underpinned the importance of fostering cooperation among countries and regions to address adaptation to climate change and sustainable development in developing countries, mountainous nations, and SIDS. Over 100 participants of COP19, including policymakers and negotiators from all the regions, and particularly from the coastal and mountainous regions, attended the event. 

The event highlighted the vulnerability of mountains and of those who depend on them. It reminded the participants the value of mountains as ‘water towers’ of the world and global reservoirs of biodiversity. The high-level panel called on COP19 delegates and global development partners to protect vital mountain ecosystems and to support adaptation programmes in the mountains for improved livelihoods and sustainability, and to create incentives to enhance the benefits mountain people derive from conserving their ecosystems. 

ICIMOD’s Director Programme Operations, Dr Eklabya Sharma, delivers the keynote speech at the side event

ICIMOD’s Director Programme Operations, Dr Eklabya Sharma, delivers the keynote speech at the side event

Photo credit: Utsav Maden/ICIMOD

Delivering the keynote address at the event, ICIMOD’s Director Programme Operations, Dr Eklabya Sharma, said that more than half of the humanity directly or indirectly depends on the mountains, and well-designed transboundary cooperation approaches are essential to ensure the sustainability of ecosystem services that are received from the mountains. 

“And women are central to any adaptation approach as they are at the forefront to manage resources in the mountains, particularly with increased migration of men to urban areas,” he said.  Dr Sharma urged countries in the South, particularly those in the HKH region, to share resources and knowledge to adapt to the challenge of climate change and other drivers of change.

Presentations on collaborative work carried out by ICIMOD, GRID-Arendal, and Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) under the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) highlighted the importance of strategic partnership-based activities, especially in food security and gender equality, to raise awareness about climate change issues in the mountains. 

Nand Kishor Agrawal, Initiative Coordinator with HICAP, showcased a preview of an upcoming publication on food security ‘The Last Straw’ that highlights the additional burden of climate changes on food security in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. He provided insights into the regional and global challenges related to mountain agriculture and additional burdens of climate change in the HKH region. He stressed that future policies should focus on supporting small-scale farmers and offering climate-smart extension services.

Scaling Mountains, Gaining Heights: Women Environment Leaders being showcased at the side event

Scaling Mountains, Gaining Heights: Women Environment Leaders being showcased at the side event

Photo credit: Utsav Maden/ICIMOD

Likewise, Lawrence Hislop of Grid-Arendal talked about the role of women in adaptation as a component of HICAP and presented a video trailer titled ‘Scaling Mountains, Gaining Heights’ for a documentary on the need for women leaders in mountain areas. The documentary presents concerns from women environmental leaders on gendered differences to climate change adaptation.