Bridging transboundary challenges with 21st century paradigms for the welfare of mountain people,forests and environment in the Hindu Kush Himalayas
18 - 22 January 2015
Forests cover about 25% of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH). They interface with numerous ecosystems, providing an invaluable range of ecosystem services: they sequester carbon and are the source of livelihoods, recreation, and timber and non-timber resources for millions of people. The ecosystem goods and services from forests sustain mountain agriculture, which is an integral part of ensuring food water and energy security in the context of transboundary socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural linkages of the HKH region. Since the 2007 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Bali and the 2008 World Forestry Congress, the paramount role of forests in promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation has found global resonance, particularly in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The health and vitality of many forest ecosystems have already been affected by climatic and land use changes; it is possible that the impact of the latter may outweigh the former.
The HKH region is marked by change. There is a continuous outmigration of people, especially men, because there is an earnest desire to move beyond subsistence; people are becoming more educated, and find less opportunity to apply their learning in mountains; information technology is providing people with faster and more comprehensive access to information and speeding up globalization processes; and market forces are playing an increasing role in once isolated mountain valleys.