29 November - 9 December 2011: ICIMOD at COP17


ICIMOD participated in the recently concluded COP17, Durban, in a substantive way, leading an international team to organise the first ever Mountain Day on the sidelines of COP17. The rationale and objectives of the event were to a) highlight the urgent need to raise awareness and sensitise UNFCCC COP17 delegates on the implications of climate change in the mountain regions; b) to share the emergence of stronger scientific evidence and implications; and c) to stress the need for policy actions to ensure the critical contribution of mountain ecosystems in climate change adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development. In this regard, ICIMOD joined hands with its global partners particularly GIZ, the World Bank (WB), The Mountain Partnership Secretariat, and UNEP. 

Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, IPCC Chair, gave the keynote speech and Dr Pema Gyamtsho, Agriculture, Environment, Forest Minister, Bhutan; Dr René Castro Salazar, Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunication, Costa Rica; and Mr Hem Raj Tater, Minister of Environment, Nepal, participated in the panel discussion. Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, welcomed the participants and shared the Call for Action. A number of top policy makers from ICIMOD’s regional member countries and global development partners including the WB, UNDP, and UNEP also participated in the discussions. Also taking part were COP17 delegates from more than 14 mountain countries – including 6 of ICIMOD’s Regional Member Countries. 

Mountain Day concluded by issuing a draft call for action which made a strong plea to mainstream the role of mountains in global processes, including the UNFCC COP, and to support adaptation in mountains for improved livelihoods and sustainability by introducing appropriate policies and creating specific financing windows. ICIMOD took this opportunity to release three publications. These were, The Status of Glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region; Snow-Cover Mapping and Monitoring in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas; and Climate Change in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, which have broken scientific ground in the understanding of climate change in the region.

The second event jointly organised by GIZ/ ICIMOD was, ‘The Meeting of Minds – International Conference on Sharing of Experiences in the Design and Implementation of Adaptation Strategies and Programmes in Asian Mountain Regions’. This brought together climate change experts and policy/ decision makers from China, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tajikistan together with experts from ICIMOD and GIZ to discuss climate change adaptation in mountain countries in Asia. They prioritised capacity building, knowledge management, and regional and cross border sharing and networking as priority activities and expressed great interest in mainstreaming their erstwhile InWEnt-ICIMOD activities with ICIMOD’s overall programmes. 

ICIMOD joined hands with the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) and UNEP’s GRID-Arendal, and organised a side event on ‘Adaptation in the Himalayan Region: Lessons from an Integrated, Policy-relevant Research Programme’. This provided a good opportunity to debate the gender aspect of climate change adaptation in the Himalayas. All the ICIMOD activities can be accessed online at http://www.icimod.org/cop17.