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REGIONAL CONSULTATION WORKSHOP ON
23 March 2023 to
24 March 2023
Participation to the workshop is by invitation only.
Recognising the vital opportunity to spotlight the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region’s growing climate change issues at the upcoming COP28, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is bringing together partners and key stakeholders from the region – policymakers, scientists, the private sector, civil society representatives, and development partners – for a consultative workshop aimed at developing a comprehensive HKH roadmap to Dubai. The workshop deliberations will focus on presenting a united voice to attract global attention and investment for the HKH region.
We are organising this workshop under the framework of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)-funded Himalayan Resilience Enabling Action Programme (HI-REAP).
We actively support our RMCs to address the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and air pollution through information and knowledge sharing, policy advocacy, and innovation. Towards this end, we convene regular consultations with our RMCs, bringing together policymakers, scientists, and practitioners to share, discuss, and develop mechanisms for strengthening regional cooperation.
Our Strategy 2030, entitled ‘Moving Mountains’, aims to work with other regional mountain organisations such as the Alpine Convention, the Carpathian Convention, the Artic Council, the Arctic Circle, MRI Geo Mountains, and CONDESAN to move mountains from the periphery to the centre of the global agenda at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COPs, among other platforms.
At COP26 in Glasgow, we worked with our RMCs to reach an agreement to develop an investment framework for the HKH. Delegates from our RMCs took this idea forward at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheik, where they extended their full support for the Mountains of Opportunity Investment Framework that was presented. The HKH High-Level Task Force (constituted by the momentous 2020 Ministerial Declaration on the HKH Call to Action and comprising senior officials of the nodal ministries from our RMCs) has developed a recommendation report on a high-level institutional mechanism for regional cooperation for the HKH. The task force will present the report to the ministerial mountain summit proposed to be held later in 2023.
COP28 also promises to be an exciting opportunity to grow the HKH’s profile. At the opening session of the Arctic Circle’s Abu Dhabi Forum 2023 during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week on 17–18 January 2023, the President of COP28, His Excellency Sultan Al Jaber, stressed on the need for decisive climate action through the concerted efforts of and partnerships among all parties and partners. He highlighted the need to recognise the connection between the Third Pole region (or the HKH) and other regions in terms of climate change impacts. Hence, COP28 offers an ideal platform to call attention to the severity of the climate crisis in the HKH region and attract global investment that can enable the RMCs to take decisive actions to meet their mitigation and adaptation targets.
The HKH hosts some of the most incredible mountain ranges, ancient cultures, diverse flora and fauna, and a vast reserve of natural capital that provides water resources and vital ecosystem services to a quarter of humanity. This globally significant region, with the largest ice and snow reserves outside the north and south poles, is bearing the brunt of climate change.
The fast-changing climate is having devastating impacts on the region’s water, food, and energy security. Even if warming is limited to 1.5 °C, the region will lose one-third of its glacier mass by 2100, resulting in catastrophic changes: water insecurity, food shortages, increased disasters, biodiversity loss, increasing pandemics, and rising poverty. It is unlikely that the HKH can meet the 1.5 °C target: The region is warming at the rate of 0.2 °C per decade over the last five decades and is expected to be warmer by at least 0.3–0.7 °C than the global average in the coming years.
Faced with such daunting challenges, the region needs concerted actions at all levels. We need to sharply reduce emissions, restore landscapes and sustain ecosystem services, comprehensively address transboundary risks in our development plans and policies, and build thriving green mountain economies. We can protect and sustain the HKH region through innovation, substantially increased investments, and more robust regional cooperation.
As we underscore in our Strategy 2030, the time for business as usual is over. We need to step up our engagement and support transformative action at scale and with urgency.