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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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