Healthy Mountains, Healthy Planet: A Hindu Kush Himalayan Partnership for Sustainable Mountain Development


Background and Rationale 

The Rio+20 declaration “The Future We Want” recognizes that the vital goods and services mountains provide are essential for sustainable development across the globe. Further, major global events in 2015 – the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 – provided the world a new pathway with the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, a global deal to tackle climate change and mainstream disaster risk reduction into development. These global processes have special significance to the mountains, particularly to the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH), given that the region is one of the most impoverished and vulnerable regions in the world due to climate change and other socio-ecological changes. Therefore, there is a need to place the mountain agenda in the forefront of climate change debates. 

Translating SDGs into concrete actions require consolidated efforts and effective collaboration at the global, regional, and national levels. Such efforts offer opportunities to forge new partnerships for devising integrated and innovative solutions, capacity building and technology transfer, engaging with the private sector, tapping new financial instruments such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and enhancing policy coherence. 

Description of the Event The HKH region is a global asset that provides ecosystem goods and services to one- fifth of the world’s population whose livelihoods are increasingly affected by rapid changes in the environment, climatic, and social systems. Our ability to understand and manage these changes is important, and these understandings must be translated into sound policies and programmes that alleviate poverty, reduce physical and social vulnerabilities, and improve ecosystem services. ICIMOD, an intergovernmental organization with eight member countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan, is actively working towards sustainable and resilient mountain development by fostering regional cooperation. 

Given this urgent situation, ICIMOD together with all eight environment ministries in the HKH region proposes this side event during the UNEP Environment Assembly. The primary goal is to forge a strong and action-oriented Hindu Kush Himalayan Partnership for Sustainable Mountain Development. Additionally, the event is aimed at addressing climate change with particular focus on low carbon development, raising awareness of the importance of mountain environments for sustainable development around the world, and jointly promoting the mountain agenda. The event will be held in the format of a high-level panel discussion.

Key Objectives 

  • Launch a Hindu Kush Himalayan Partnership for Sustainable Mountain Development of eight regional governments with special respect to the SDG 2030 targets 
  • Develop a regional strategy engaging the Green Climate Fund to support adaptation actions for fragile mountain ecosystems 
  • Promote the Mountain Agenda and develop key messages for global and regional processes such as the UNFCCC 
  • Lay the groundworkfor a regional communications and outreach strategy that will raise the profile of mountain regions and the need for adaptation action in a post-Paris context