Back to events


CryoDiscussion: A closer look at cryosphere benefits and hazards


MS Teams

Date & Time

19 August 2021


Miriam Jackson & Amina Maharjan



The cryosphere is composed of the frozen parts of the planet – snow, glaciers, permafrost, lake and river ice – and is a crucial freshwater resource. The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region holds the largest area of permanent ice cover outside the polar regions and is aptly called the “Third Pole”. The HKH cryosphere feeds 10 major river basins, which provide ecosystem services that directly sustain the livelihoods of 240 million people in the mountain and hills. It is a major life-giving resource that also has a deep-rooted connection in shaping culture and social norms.

The HKH cryosphere is undergoing unprecedented change driven mainly by climate change: At least one-third of the region’s glaciers will be depleted by 2100, even if global warming is restricted to 1.5°C. Mountain communities particularly are living with the impacts of steady glacier retreat, changing and uncertain snowfall patterns, and increased incidences of cryosphere-related hazards. These changes have a direct impact on their lives and livelihood.

Most linkages between cryosphere and society have received limited research attention and are therefore not well understood or quantified. To document the deep-rooted connections between cryosphere and society, ICIMOD and its partners have undertaken several studies in different geographic regions of the HKH.

About the webinar

This webinar has been organized to share lessons from these studies and to turn the spotlight on stories of resilience and adaptation in the face of cryosphere change collected through engagement with local communities and experts. Discussions will focus on how science and traditional knowledge can be merged to address emerging cryosphere-related challenges, identify hazards and mitigate risks, and leverage the cryosphere for long-term benefits to communities. Participants will include representatives from ICIMOD’s partner organizations, I/NGOs, researchers, journalists, community members, and other stakeholders.

Witness story:

Have you witnessed HKH communities coping with changes in the cryosphere and climate? Share your firsthand account with us. We are looking for compelling personal stories of living in the Hindu Kush Himalaya and witnessing the impacts and challenges from changes in the cryosphere. If you have stories to share, please send them to us. Please include contextual information such as photos, location, time, and date to help readers understand your story better.

We will be presenting these “witness stories” during the webinar. Click here to share your witness story by 5:00 PM NPT (UTC+5:45) 17 August 2021.


Time (NPT) Programme Speaker/moderator/facilitator
Registration Chimi Seldon, Communications Officer, ICIMOD
Welcome remarks Basanta Raj Shrestha, Director of Strategic Cooperation, ICIMOD
Overview of the webinar Arun Bhakta Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager, River Basins and Cryosphere, ICIMOD
15:10–16:10 Panel discussion followed by Q&A

  • Paula Pacheco, Regional Director, Agua Sustentable
  • Amina Maharjan, Senior Specialist, Livelihood and Migration, ICIMOD
  • Nusrat Nasab, Head of Emergency Management, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH)
  • Marcus Nüsser, Professor, Department of Geography, South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University
Miriam Jackson, Programme Coordinator, Cryosphere Initiative, ICIMOD
16:10–16:30 Stories from the community: Coping with cryosphere changes
Q&A session
Chimi Seldon, ICIMOD
Summary of key messages and closing remarks Arun Bhakta Shrestha, ICIMOD



Paula Pacheco

Paula Pacheco

Regional Director
Agua Sustentable

Since 2006, Paula Pacheco has been a part of Agua Sustentable (“Sustainable Water”), a Bolivian NGO with an aim to contribute to sustainable water and environmental management at the national and international levels. She has experience in water management projects, adaptation to climate change, transboundary waters in the region and has several scientific publications on these topics. Pacheco has a master’s degree in water resources engineering at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Amina Maharjan

Amina Maharjan

Senior Specialist, Livelihood and Migration

Amina Maharjan works in the broad field of human mobility and migration in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) and its linkages with sustainable development and climate change adaptation. Her other interest includes interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research looking at science-society linkages, with the objective of building resilience capacities of communities. She is currently researching the impact of climate-induced cryosphere changes on the lives and livelihoods of people in the HKH. Maharjan is also leading a multi-country research unpacking cryosphere-society linkages in the region and working on building resilience of mountain communities to cryosphere-induced hazards in Langtang, Nepal.

Nusrat Nasab

Nusrat Nasab

Head of Emergency Management
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH)

Nusrat Nasab has made significant contributions to the field of disaster risk reduction and prevention, mitigation and preparedness programmes and emergency projects. She has authored and co-authored several papers including the chapter on “Disaster Risk Reduction and Building Resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” in the book The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment published in early 2019.

Marcus Nüsser

Marcus Nüsser

Professor, Department of Geography
South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University

Marcus Nüsser’s expertise and research areas include land degradation, land use and cover change, erosion, remote sensing, socio-hydrology, glacier changes, risk and disaster in mountain regions, development studies, political ecology, socio-economic transformation, participatory approaches, and water resource management in the Himalaya, Sub-Saharan Africa, Andes, and European Alps.

Related events
Sep 15 2022
15 Sep 2022 Cryosphere
Cryosphere and related hazards in High Mountain Asia in a changing climate

Through the Cryosphere Initiative, we are collaborating with UNESCO, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), the Government of Kazakhstan, and ...

19 Jun 2022 Cryosphere
Analysing permafrost in the Hindu Kush Himalaya using open access tools

Permafrost remains poorly addressed in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region although it contributes significantly to catchment hydrology and hazards ...

14 Jun 2022 Cryosphere
Developing a strategy to monitor permafrost changes in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

We are organising a three-day workshop that will help us develop a draft strategy to monitor permafrost in the Hindu ...