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A year for mountains

Pema Gyamtsho

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Last I shared a message with you, we had just celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March, a day I found incredibly motivating, both because we heard an inspiring personal story from our Deputy Director General, Izabella Koziell, and many of our colleagues presented about how their work breaks biases. You can view their presentations here. While there is much to be done for gender equality in the HKH and beyond, we are proud of our achievements so far in promoting and ensuring gender equality across the HKH region.

March is a lovely month because it marks a shift from the cold winter days to the burst of spring across our region and because it holds several international days that we mark as an institution. On 21 March 2022, the International Day of Forests, we supported the launch of an important partner publication ‘Interpreting mountain treelines in a changing world,’ authored by Prof. Surendra P. Singh, and led by the Central Himalayan Environment Association, involving six research organizations, 11 investigators, and 20 research scholars from across the Indian Himalayan Region. On 22 March, we celebrated World Water Day with a webinar on Making the invisible visible: Groundwater issues in the HKH. Both events hosted panel members from across the region to exchange information and insights on the critical issues in the HKH.

To strengthen our role as a Regional Implementing Entity for the Adaptation Fund, we hosted a virtual regional consultation focused on developing regional, national, and large innovation project proposals in the HKH. The consultation brought together the Adaptation Fund designated authorities from our eight RMCs to seek their insights and guidance in accessing financing from the Fund. Additionally, our HKH High-Level Task Force members discussed a term of reference for the group as we continue to support our RMCs in their implementation of the HKH Call to Action.

Our colleagues have resumed several activities that were halted due to the pandemic. This includes a training on remote sensing and field-based snow monitoring in Pakistan, where we interreacted with media colleagues who covered the training in the Daily Pakistan and the Urdu Point. Also, in Pakistan, our Atmosphere Initiative and FCDO Pakistan handed over the Ratnoze emission measurement instrument to the Ministry of Climate Change. Our SERVIR-HKH Initiative conducted a workshop on establishing a geospatial platform for Pakistan’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme and ecosystem restoration efforts. In Bangladesh, we conducted an operational training and launched the High Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit for the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. We also conducted trainings on synthetic aperture radar data for measuring and monitoring forest carbon and spatial and temporal climate change analysis using CORDEX regional climate models over Bangladesh. The Cryosphere Initiative conducted a training workshop on remote sensing and field-based glacier and snow monitoring in Pakistan, and members of the Himalayan University Consortium’s Thematic Working Group on Cryosphere and Society from Afghanistan, Bhutan and Pakistan, conducted a workshop on cryosphere hazards and society in Bhutan and Pakistan.

Recognizing the ways in which hybrid events reduce our carbon footprint and allow for broader participation, we continue to conduct some of our activities in hybrid mode, such as the renewable energy-related webinars: Towards energy justice: Addressing gender inequalities in energy policies in the HKH and Electric mobility options for clean and low-carbon transport systems in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region as well as a thematic session as part of the Gobeshona Global Conference on the approaches to resilience assessment.

I am also happy to report that we have made significant progress in our new strategy development process and medium-term action plan, about which my colleague, Izabella, will update you in April. In closing, I want to make a special note of our participation in a regional dialogue hosted by Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Environment and inaugurated by the Prime Minister, which set out a year-long roadmap of Nepal’s marking of the UN-declared International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022. This declaration is significant for our mountains, placing them on the global agenda. With our global network and partners, we are actively trying to ensure that we leverage this year to maximize attention for the HKH region to benefit our mountains and people.


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International Women’s Day 2012

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山地被广泛认为是生物多样性的发源地,其陡峭的斜坡孕育了各种繁复的生命形式。这些地区作为自然的庇护所变得愈发重要:虽然它们只占据了地球总面积的四分之一,却容纳了地球上85%的两栖动物、鸟类和哺乳动物。这种丰富的自然资源在联合国教科文组织的738个全球生物圈保护区中得到体现,其中明显超过一半位于山区。 然而,令人担忧的是,这些自然资源的非凡丰富正面临威胁。过去,由于偏远或地形困难,山地得以免受人类干扰,但如今这种状况逐渐减少。曾经被视为大自然摇篮和避难所的山地正在逐渐转变成墓地。在兴都库什-喜马拉雅地区,上个世纪就已经失去了70%的生物多样性。这些损失,包括物种的灭绝,如今正以加速度增长,正如ICIMOD的重要评估报告《兴都库什喜马拉雅的水、冰、社会和生态系统》(简称《HIWISE报告》)所指出的那样。 在公众、政治和外交层面,人们越来越认识到自然是我们当前危机中最重要的解决方案之一。联合国已宣布2021-2030年为生态系统恢复十年,去年,《昆明-蒙特利尔全球生物多样性框架》的指导下,全球100多个政府承诺在2030年之前将30%的陆地和海洋保留给自然,其中包括兴都库什-喜马拉雅地区。今年,在联合国全球气候大会COP28上,自然首次成为讨论的核心议题。 这些努力,以及今年国际山岳日的“生态系统恢复”主题,为恢复和保护山区景观提供了迫切需要的推动力。那么,我们的八个成员国离实现“30x30”目标有多近呢?到目前为止,不丹是唯一一个实际超额达标的国家,其51.4%的土地面积已经属于各种保护区类别。 尼泊尔只有不到24%的土地受到保护;中国仅为16%,略高于目标的一半;巴基斯坦占12%;印度为8%;缅甸为7%;孟加拉国为5%,阿富汗为4%。 令人担忧的是,在整个兴都库什-喜马拉雅地区,自然资源仍然丰富的关键区域仍处在保护之外:67%的生态区、39%的生物多样性热点、69%的关键生物多样性区域以及76%的重要鸟类和生物多样性区都没有得到保护。 现有的保护区域犹如在人类改变过的景观中的“孤岛”,缺乏与其他保护区域的连通走廊,无法满足广泛分布的物种需求,并且面临非法捕猎、侵占和资源开采的压力。现有的保护区域不足以确保成功保护我们地区的象征性物种,包括亚洲象、独角犀牛和孟加拉虎。 一个尚未尝试的解决方案是建立跨界生物圈保护区,这将允许在景观层面进行综合保护。实现这一目标需要跨越国家边界的共同政治承诺,并在共享生态系统的管理方面展开合作。ICIMOD将积极推动我们区域成员国接受这一解决方案。 然而,底线是,要扭转自然的损失,我们必须对其进行估值并提供相应的资金支持。只要经济学家继续将其价值定为零,就不会引起足够的重视。在进行估值之前,拥有大量自然资本但经济欠发达的国家将因为缺乏3A信用评级而难以以较低贷款利率借款。必须为该地区的国家提供更便宜的资本来促使自然的恢复:这是ICIMOD将与我们的成员、多边开发银行和其他机构紧急合作推进的事项。为了防止地球系统完全崩溃,我们必须为大自然提供一个适宜的生存环境,这一观点从未像现在这样显而易见。

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