Ministry of Environment, Government of Nepal
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
Mountain ecosystems play an important role in the lives and livelihoods of the people living in the highlands and those in the plains below. Climate change and other global changes have exerted added pressure on the ecosystem goods and services provided by mountains and expanded awareness of the importance of this highland-lowland relationship, and of the vulnerability of these fragile mountain systems. Further discussion is required to forge a consensus among mountain stakeholders on how best to address the issues and challenges facing mountain ecosystems. This has become essential to give voice to a common mountain perspective in global forums such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (‘Rio+20’), to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012.
Lack of solid scientific data on climate change and its impacts on water availability, hazards, and disasters, as well as the associated risks to livelihoods and infrastructure, is a key issue facing mountain regions. Uncertainty about the impacts and risks is hampering investment and the development of infrastructure and initiatives for water, energy, and food security, including the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the mountains. All of the world’s major rivers originate in the mountains, and the water from these rivers, in adequate quantities and of acceptable quality, is essential for people’s food, water, and energy security. Uncertainty about water renders mountain and agricultural communities particularly vulnerable to climate change, especially in subtropical mountain regions.
The Ministry of Environment, Government of Nepal and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are jointly hosting an International Expert Consultation on Mountains and Climate Change to review and enhance scientific understanding of climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation options in the mountains of the world. The consultation will provide a platform for scientists, researchers, policy makers, and development practitioners to share knowledge, information, ideas, and solutions on the complex environmental, development, and socio-cultural issues related to climate change. The consultation will bring together experts from more than 20 countries as well as international research organizations, development agencies, academic institutions, and civil society partners that have been working on climate change and mountain environments and interacting with government policy makers from countries with mountain systems.
This expert consultation is a follow-up to a first consultation held in September 2010; the earlier consultation introduced the concept of the Mountain Initiative for Climate Change, conceived by the Government of Nepal at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP15) in 2009. The Mountain Initiative seeks to enhance awareness and understanding of mountain ecosystems in the context of climate change and to highlight the need to address the environmental, economic, and social issues more comprehensively in multilateral environment agreements such as UNFCCC, CBD, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
This one-day event is expected to bring about a convergence of scientific ideas and approaches on the mountain agenda, as inputs to the International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change, which the Government of Nepal has organized for policy makers on 5–6 April 2012. The consultation is expected to provide expert analysis and advice so that mountainous countries can better articulate and plan initiatives and actions to be shared in upcoming global forums such as Rio+20, CBD COP11, and UNFCCC COP18. The consultation is also expected to provide feedback to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UNFCCC process, and the Rio+20 outcome document.
For more information contact:
Dr Madhav Karki
Deputy Director General
Recommendations from this expert consultation were considered for the Kathmandu Call For Action reached at the International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change organised by the Ministry of Environment, Government of Nepal.