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ICIMOD at the European Day celebration in Nepal
11 May 2021
Basanta Shrestha, Naina Shakya & Udayan Mishra
The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region extends 3,500 km over all or part of eight countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Urgent steps are required to sustain mountain environments and improve livelihoods in this region, one of the world’s greatest mountain systems and 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 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, improving livelihoods in the HKH, and taking concerted action to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2100.
The EU is fighting climate change through ambitious policies at home and close cooperation with international partners. It has put forward a plan to further cut emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Alongside reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the EU is also taking action to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The EU is actively working with other countries and regions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. At the international level, it will continue to lead international negotiations to increase the ambition of major emitters ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow (COP26). The EU promotes ambitious climate action in multilateral fora and in its bilateral cooperation with countries outside the EU. The EU is also a top provider of international climate finance to support developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change.
To mark Europe Day 2021, the EU delegation in Nepal, the Embassy of Finland, and ICIMOD are collaborating to discuss key climate actions and alignment in combating climate change. For the EU and Finland, achieving the transition to a climate-neutral society will require significant investments, research and innovation, new ways of producing and consuming, and changes in the way we work, use transport, and live together in Nepal. On the other hand, for ICIMOD, concrete climate actions are vital for sustainable mountain development across the HKH, including promoting and strengthening regional cooperation to sustain mountain environments and livelihoods; taking decisive actions to enhance ecosystem resilience; and promoting regional data and information sharing. Jointly, the EU, Finland, and ICIMOD are focused on undertaking accelerated actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to combat climate change in the mountain region.
Moderated by Mr. Basanta Raj Shrestha, Director Strategic Cooperation, ICIMOD