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Celebrating International Mountain Day 2016

Mountain Culture: Celebrating Diversity and Strengthening Identity

The theme for this year’s International Mountain Day calls for us to recognize and celebrate the diversity and identities that populate mountain regions around the world. At ICIMOD, we embrace this theme with great enthusiasm, as we strive to connect our research to unique mountain communities throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).

David James Molden

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Our relationship to mountain communities through our work is reciprocal. As much as we aspire to produce research that enhances livelihoods and well-being in the HKH, so we depend greatly on local cultures and knowledge to inform our work. In fact, maintaining this level of reciprocity is indispensable to our success.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) in 2005 refers to culture and local knowledge as “cultural services,” the nonmaterial benefits that humans obtain through recreation, spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, and aesthetic experience. Cultural services, in our view, provide mountain communities with a rich store of information and experience from which to devise solutions to their various social and environmental challenges. Indeed, this is how mountain communities have been able to persevere in these regions for millennia. The MEA warns that the value and presence of cultural benefits has been diminished in the past century, degraded by years of neglect as “modern” ideas took precedence. In the process, the sacredness of landscapes and significance of traditional means were lost in the rapid social and economic change that characterized the 20th century. These challenges cascaded in effect as mountain communities experienced social upheaval (e.g., migration) and environmental degradation that threatened their very existence.

By focusing on landscapes rather than national borders, ICIMOD attempts to highlight possibilities for transboundary collaboration. Festivals present one enjoyable and relatively easy form of cultural exchange. In this photo, dancers from China and Pakistan. Photo: ICIMOD

At ICIMOD, we value these cultural services as the foundation upon which we can form context-specific programmes and solutions for mountain people that can improve economic standards, enhance sustainable environmental practices, and strengthen resilience in the face of change. We recognize that the future success of mountain communities rests as strongly on technical inputs as it does on the quantum of happiness and well-being these inputs generate.

We are reminded of Bhutan’s decision to establish a Gross National Happiness index that measured not money or possessions as the mark of fulfillment, but personal perception and sense of identity. This landmark development is strong reminder that culture and other nonmaterial elements of life must occupy a central role in any social intervention. Thus, we are heartened by the development community’s renewed focus on psychological health as a component of prosperity.

So on this International Mountain Day 2016, we renew our pledge to the mountain communities of the HKH. We vow to continue working industriously to serve the diverse populations that span mountain areas from Afghanistan to Myanmar. And in that work, we pledge again to make space for the cultural services that so valuably inform our efforts to enhance well-being in all things economic, social, and environmental.

Wishing you all a happy International Mountain Day!

Results from the study have shown that damage from earthquake-induced geohazards can be considerable, and there is the need to treat geohazards separately since their nature and effects and mitigation and adaptation options are different. Similarly, the secondary effect of the damage from geohazards is likely to be comparatively much higher than that of the direct earthquake impact in terms of loss of livelihoods, blocking of movement of people, goods, and services, and loss of revenue from trade and energy supply.

New data has revealed that the Gorkha Earthquake did not release all of the stress that had built up underground along the Himalayan arc. Due to the residual stress, likelihood of another large earthquake occurring in the future remains. Seismologists say the damage from a possible large earthquake could be much worse.

We hope that the findings and the recommendations provided by the authors in this publication will help policy and decision makers in Nepal and other regional member countries in their efforts to prepare for geohazards and improve geohazard management.

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13 Oct 2023 China
在兴都库什-喜马拉雅,全民早期预警尚需更及时的实现

由气候驱动的风暴、洪水、热浪和干旱的经济代价首次被计算出来,即在过去20年中,人类付出的代价已达到1600万美元/小时。其中,三分之二的费用是由于生命损失,剩下的则是因为财产和其他资产损失。 而这不仅是兴都库什-喜马拉雅的统计数据。今年,在我们整个地区,气候灾害给许多家庭来了难以承受的损失:数百人丧生,更多的房屋、农作物和财产在毁灭性的洪水和山体滑坡中被毁。最近,上周锡金蒂斯塔河(Teesta river)爆发冰川湖溃决洪水,这清楚地提醒了人类,大自然的愤怒是无止境的。 今年的国际减灾日与我们区域内的家庭、科学家和政策制定者共同评估了季风和全球升温给人类和经济带来的沉重代价,恰逢其时。 展望未来,气候驱动的灾难将激增。联合国减少灾害风险办公室(UNDRR)预计,到2030年,我们每年将看到560起灾难,使3760万人陷入极端贫困。 科学表明,我们处在风险热点地区。不仅与极端降雨和冰冻圈变化相关,还有热浪、干旱和空气污染。因此,在计算这次季风事件的成本时,我们所有为该地区及其居民服务的人都有责任以更高的速度和更强的雄心,将科学、政策和行动联系起来,实现让所有人都能得到早期预警的目标。 我们急需捐助者深入了解该地区居民所面临的风险,无论是从危险量级和程度来看,还是从受影响的人口规模来看。我们迫切需要适应基金、绿色气候基金和儿童投资融资基金更快地分配到该地区,以及加强补偿机制的运作。 在ICIMOD,我们将在全球范围内倡导双方,还将在整个地区努力建立一种围绕防灾和数据共享文化;对政策制定者进行差异和关键行动领域的教育;为社区配备创新及可行的技术,并扩大以社区为基础的洪水预警系统。 我们所在地区的情况表明,全球范围内面临的灾害存在着巨大的不平等。我们的研究发现,当危机来临时,妇女和弱势群体受到的影响尤为严重。 为了消除这种不平等,我们郑重承诺通过整合工具、知识和资金,确保该地区居民能够有效抵御未来的冲击,并将妇女和弱势群体纳入我们战略的核心。对于兴都库什-喜马拉雅的国家而言,全民早期预警尚需更及时的实现。   白马·嘉措 总干事

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