Youth forum provides massive learning opportunity

19 Dec 2013


Kathmandu, Nepal

More than 40 youth from Nepal are taking part in the SERVIR-Himalaya Youth Forum that aims to educate them about climate change and its challenges, and how these issues could be addressed through geospatial science and earth observation. 

The Forum ‘Empowering youth with geospatial technologies to address Climate Change in Nepal’ kicked off on December 16 in the premises of the Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM) in Kathmandu. 

Participants of the SERVIR-Himalaya Youth Forum

Coming from diverse backgrounds like forestry, hydrology, geomatics, engineering, and biodiversity, the young people will learn about climate change and ways to take action to adapt to its consequences.

The Forum is organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in partnership with AITM and the Nepal GIS Society (NGISS). It is being held under the framework of the SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Speaking at the opening of the Forum, Director Programme Operations of ICIMOD, Dr Eklabya Sharma, said vulnerability is a major issue arising as a result of climate change in the mountains of the Himalayan region.

The climate change specialist and coordinator of the SERVIR project from USAID, Ms Jenny Frankel Reed, talked about SERVIR’s aim to use geospatial science and earth observation to act on climate change issues. She encouraged the young participants to take action and make use of information provided by science to think critically and work on creating impact to improve environmental decision making.

Ms Gwendolyn Artis of NASA thanked the youth participants for becoming ambassadors of SERVIR's work and helping NASA and USAID to create a better environment and combat climate change.

Delivering the keynote address, ICIMOD’s Senior Manager Mr Basanta Shrestha highlighted the vulnerability and fragility of the Himalayan ecosystem. He talked about the many challenges of climate change and the need to address them. 

“However, technology provides numerous opportunities in tackling these issues, and part of this technological advancement is the full gamut of possibilities earth observation provides that can help to observe, monitor, and gather precise information on matters such as glacier melt, glacial lake outburst floods, snow, atmosphere, black carbon, and forest fire,” he said.

Other examples of advancing technology he highlighted were the massive use of applications like Google Earth, Google Maps, and the social media. Mr Basanta Shrestha also stressed that youth have been part of the SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative since its inception and mentioned the impressive effort by a young creative mind to develop and operate an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Kathmandu.

Dr Krishna Poudel, President of the Nepal GIS Society, expressed his appreciation to all the people involved in organizing the event.

At the one-week Forum, the youth participants will learn about glaciers, snow, forest fire, and crop monitoring. They will be given hands-on training in using satellite-based tools developed by SERVIR. They will also learn ways to map the issues and disseminate these maps online as 'story maps' through social media.

A full day will be spent with Kathmandu Living Labs on using Open Street Map and GPS technologies to monitor and crowd source environmental issues. At the same time, participants are expected to develop their own creative research ideas and geospatial applications, the best of which may receive funds to execute the same. 

For more information please contact: 

Ms Nira Gurung
Senior Communications Officer, ICIMOD
Tel +977-1-5003222 Fax +977-1-5003277,