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ICIMOD at UNFCCC COP25 - Even 1.5 degrees is too hot for the HKH

ICIMOD is participating in several key international meetings this December in Madrid, Spain, during the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) at the UN Climate Change Conference. At this global gathering, ICIMOD will organize several events at the Cryosphere Pavilion as a part of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Focus Day on 11 December 2019. ICIMOD will also co-host a side event with the Government of Austria, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Alpine Convention on 11 December 2019.


Madrid, Spain

Date & Time

02 December 2019 to 13 December 2019

As an intergovernmental organization with observer status accorded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ICIMOD will also closely observe the main proceedings and negotiations that take place during the plenary sessions.


Time/Date/Venue Programme
9 Dec

Cryosphere Pavilion

Session one: Reimagining adaptation – The case for change
Adaptation without Borders, ODI, SEI
Presentation on ICIMOD’s transboundary work – David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD
9 Dec
Resilience Lab
Session two: Reimagining adaptation – Opportunities to manage risk and build resilience in an
interconnected world
Presentation by ICIMOD
10 Dec
High-level segment (statements from intergovernmental organizations)
Statement from ICIMOD – David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD
11 Dec
Mountain Partnership and Chile Pavilion
International Mountain day
Presentation by David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD
11 Dec
Cryosphere Pavilion
Glaciers: A natural laboratory to study climate change
A joint session of the Icelandic Met Office and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) at the
Cryosphere Pavilion at COP25
David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD, as
a panellist
11 Dec
Cryosphere Pavilion
Even 1.5°C is too hot for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)
[Download flyer]The first HKH Assessment  report warned that even 1.5°C is too hot for the HKH region and
will lead to the loss of one-third of the region’s glacier volume by the year 2100. This session
will discuss the key findings of the HKH Assessment report related to the HKH cryosphere
and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)Special Report on Cryosphere and Oceans in a
Changing Climate  (SROCC) findings on high-mountain areas pertaining to the
HKH. Through presentations and panel discussions, the session will address the overarching question
on how to increase climate urgency and ambition to ensure global warming is kept well below 1.5°C by
Even 1.5°C is too hot for the HKH: Key findings from the HKH Assessment

  • Philippus Wester,
    Lead Editor of the HKH Assessment report and Regional Programme Manager
    Mountain Knowledge and Action
    Networks (MKAN), ICIMOD

The voice of the HKH in the IPCC SROCC

  • Carolina Adler,
    Lead Author of the IPCC SROCC chapter on high-mountain areas and Executive Director,
    Mountain Research Initiative

Tackling air pollution in the HKH and its links with the HKH cryosphere

  • Eri Saikawa,
    Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University

Panel discussion with

  • Thelma Krug,
    Vice-Chair, IPCC
  • Maheshwar Dhakal,
    Joint Secretary and UNFCC Focal Point, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Government of

Moderator: David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD

11 Dec
Cryosphere Pavilion
The voice of the mountains: High-level panel on the HKH Call to Action 
[Download Flyer]
Facilitator: David Molden, Director General, ICIMDO
This session aims to bring a unified voice of HKH countries to the global stage to build up momentum
towards a shared vision of a prosperous, peaceful, and poverty-free HKH. Key findings from the
HKH Assessment report, as well as envisaged actions and early outcomes from the HKH Call to
Action, will set the stage for a high-level panel discussion. The key messages from the session will
further contribute to the mountain agenda being shared across the eight HKH countries and on the
global stage.
Opening remarks: HKH Call to Action

  • Brij Rathore,
    Chief Policy Advisor, ICIMOD

Panel: HKH ministers, high-level delegates, and representatives from

  • Schah-Zaman
    Maiwandi, Director General, National Environmental Protection Agency, Islamic Republic of
  • Hon’ble Lyonpo
    Yeshey Penjor, Minister of Agriculture and Forests and Chairperson of the National
    Environment Commission, Royal Government of Bhutan
  • Hon’ble Shri
    Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India
  • Hon’ble Shakti
    Bahadur Basnet, Minister of Forests and Environment, Government of Nepal
  • Pasang Dolma
    Sherpa, International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change

Interaction with audience
Summarizing key messages and vote of thanks

11 Dec
Cryosphere Pavilion
Solutions to scale up climate action in the HKH
[Download Flyer]
This interactive session will provide a platform to share high-impact solutions that can deliver
speed and scale of climate action in the HKH region.
Facilitator: Nanki Kaur, Regional Programme Manager – Adaptation and Resilience Building,
11 Dec
Room 1
Side event: Building resilience of mountain communities – Data and science for policy

Speakers: Representatives from governments, international agencies, and major groups that are
of the Mountain Partnership
11 Dec
Room 2
Side event: From Andes to Alps and other mountains – Elevating regional cooperation and
monitoring and climate change adaptation

The world’s mountain regions are facing similar challenges in terms of monitoring and adaptation
action, which provides opportunities for cooperation and knowledge exchange. This event gathers
representatives for various mountain regions and will feature the launch of the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation (SDC)-funded global mountain programme on climate change adaptation.
David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD, will deliver the opening remarks.
12 Dec
Asia carbon markets and Article 6 for achieving SDGs in South Asia
Presentation by David Molden, Director, General, ICIMOD
12 Dec
IPCC Pavilion (Hall 6)
How to engage with the IPCC
Philippus Wester, Lead Editor of the
HKH Assessment report and Regional Programme Manager – Mountain Knowledge and Action
Networks (MKAN), ICIMOD, as a panellist
The Future of the HKH Mountains Matters to Over Two Billion People

Extending 3, 500 km over eight countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east and crossing Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, the HKH is one of the world’s greatest mountain systems: home to the world’s highest peaks, unique cultures, diverse flora and fauna, and a vast reserve of natural resources. The HKH directly supports the livelihoods of over 240 million people living in its hills and mountains, and it yields many benefits to the 1.65 billion people living downstream. As the source of 10 major Asian rivers, the HKH provides essential resources, especially water and biodiversity, to 1.9 billion people. Its waters irrigate the grain baskets of Asia.

The HKH is a vital regional lifeline, but human drivers and climate change pose grave and immediate threats to the region’s livelihoods, biodiversity, and ultimately sustainability. Changes on the rooftop of the world are having and will continue to have major consequences, not only for the region but globally. Local, national, regional, and global actions are urgently needed to sustain this global asset, focusing on substantially increased investments and more robust regional cooperation for sustaining mountain environments and improving livelihoods in the HKH and concerted action to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2100.

The HKH Call to Action Consultations

Based on the key findings of the HKH Assessment report, published (Springer Nature 2019) and released early this year, the HKH Call to Action has been developed as a roadmap for the future of the HKH region. The HKH Assessment report concludes that we know enough to take action, and that action is urgently needed. Through a series of HKH Call to Action Consultations in ICIMOD’s regional member countries held from April to November 2019, the key findings and main messages of the HKH Assessment report and the HKH Call to Action were shared with a larger audience with the aim of building momentum for more robust regional cooperation and a roadmap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the mountains. During these consultations, think tanks, senior experts, and high-level decision makers discussed the key findings of the HKH Assessment report, debated and validated its Call to Action, and charted a way forward for more robust regional cooperation around mountains to sustain this globally critical region.

Specifically, the HKH Call to Action Country Consultations used the multi-stakeholder platform to share the key findings of the HKH Assessment report, solicited inputs on the HKH Call to Action for integration with national and regional priorities and jointly identify and develop the road map for the HKH Call to Action to promote the mountain agenda. The response to both the HKH Assessment report and the HKH Call to Action has been very positive and has been leading to increased ownership of the HKH Call to Action in the HKH countries.

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