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Cryosphere and related hazards in High Mountain Asia in a changing climate


UN Building, Kazakhstan

Date & Time

15 September 2022 to 18 September 2022


Miriam Jackson, Deo Raj Gurung & Kristine Tovmasyan


Registration and abstract form Organizers Scientific Committee


About the conference

Through the Cryosphere Initiative, we are collaborating with UNESCO, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), the Government of Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian Regional Glaciological Centre in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to organize the conference ‘Cryosphere and related hazards in High Mountain Asia in a changing climate.’

The international conference will bring together over 150 researchers, practitioners, policy and decision-makers, government representatives, youth, and development partners from Central Asia, South Asia and beyond, working in the cryosphere, disaster risk reduction, and climate sectors.

The conference aims to provide a platform to share knowledge, best practices, and ideas for the sustainable development of societies in High Mountain Asia (HMA) in the context of climate change. Discussions will focus on the climate-cryosphere-community nexus, contributing to the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 6, SDG 11, SDG 13. It will also contribute to  SDG 17 by leveraging regional platforms for collaboration and partnership.

This event will be built on presentations and discussions, highlighting research frontiers, research opportunities and gaps, scientific uncertainties, and policy impact on larger populations in HMA.


Expected outputs and outcomes

  • Increased dialogue and understanding of the impacts of climate change on the cryosphere of High Mountain Asia
  • Shared understanding of knowledge gaps and research priorities
  • Opportunities for new partnerships and networks, especially between stakeholders from Central and South Asia
  • Networking opportunities for students and early career researchers
  • Policy brief and a report on the conference themes



The conference aims to host about 100-150 participants, including community representatives, government officials, academia, international institutions, development agencies, civil society organizations and youth, from the region and beyond.


Conference design

The conference will include presentations on the status of knowledge across the HMA region on the impacts of climate change on glaciers, snow, permafrost, glacial lakes, and related hazards, including GLOFs, avalanches, and thawing permafrost.

The conference will have breakout sessions on specific hazards to share management and adaptation practices/options from the HMA region for cross-learning purposes. The discussions, good practices, and learnings will be reported back to the plenary.

The conference will also consist of sessions to ideate how best to engage and support youths and early career researchers for further research in areas of climate-cryosphere-communities nexus, and how best to benefit from citizen science. The final day will focus on a science-policy dialogue on this topic and the ways forward.


Tentative agenda

Working languages: English, Russian

Day Time Theme
Day 1 – 15 September 2022 Morning Opening session

Opening remarks

Ground zero reporting – community members share experiences from the ground (in person or recorded video)

Keynote address

Group photo

Tea break
Technical session I: Climate – Cryosphere session

Presentations on the impact of climate change on the cryosphere from different mountain ranges across HMA

Afternoon Technical session I continued
Day 2 – 16 September 2022 Morning Technical session II: Cryosphere – Community session

Presentations on the cryosphere related hazard – different manifestation, status, prognosis, and management and adaptation practices, from different mountain ranges across the HMA

Afternoon Technical session II continued
Day 3 – 17 September 2022 Morning Technical session II: Moderated discussion to ideate on:

How best to engage and support youth and early career researchers to further research on the climate-cryosphere-communities nexus?

How best to support female researchers?

How best to engage communities and benefit from citizen science?

Technical session IV: Science-Policy Dialogue

Afternoon Plenary session

Session coordinators/moderators/repertoires will report on discussion points and key messages from each session/sub-session

Report on the way forwards

Closing session

Day 4 – 18 September 2022 All-day Field visit – optional


About the organizers


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is an intergovernmental knowledge and learning centre working on behalf of the people of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). We are based in Kathmandu, Nepal, and work in and for our eight regional member countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. We work to improve the lives and livelihoods of men, women, and children of the HKH and protect mountain environments and cultures. The knowledge we create, and share helps the people of the HKH become more resilient, make the most of new opportunities, and prepare for change. Our work strengthens regional cooperation for conservation and sustainable mountain development.


The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s (AKAH) works to ensure that people live in safe, sustainable, and resilient habitats with the opportunity to thrive, whether in a remote mountain village, a town, or a densely populated urban centre. AKAH works with communities to help them prepare for and respond to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. AKAH also works to expand access to services and opportunity for people to improve their life. AKAH helps communities prepare for the worst; provides immediate relief after disaster strikes; and helps build back better – and greener – while planning for a better future. AKAH currently operates in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Syria, Pakistan, and India, and works with over 2,500 communities empowering them with data, world-class planning and best practices in disaster risk reduction and safe, sustainable housing and critical infrastructure to build a better future.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was created in 1945, as one of specialized UN agencies. The UNESCO Almaty Office (established in 1994) works in four countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It works through and in cooperation with the National Commissions for UNESCO in each country and partner networks in its fields of competence. UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to peace and human development through Education, the Sciences, Culture and Communication.


The Central Asian Regional Glaciological Centre (CARGC) in Almaty, Kazakhstan was established under the auspices of UNESCO to address water resource challenges in Central Asian Region. It focuses on detecting global changes and their impacts on water stress in the region, and studies dynamics of natural processes in a zone of runoff formation. The centre contributes to UNESCO’S strategic programme objectives.



Scientific committee

Kristine Tovmasyan

Lead, Natural Sciences Unit
Programme Specialist
UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office

Martin Hoelzle

Martin Hoelzle

Department of Geosciences
University of Fribourg

Christian Huggel

Christian Huggel

Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics
Department of Geography
University of Zurich

Arun Shrestha

Arun Shrestha

Senior Climate Change Specialist,
Regional Programme Manager – River Basins and Cryosphere Programme,

Miriam Jackson

Miriam Jackson

Programme Coordinator – Cryosphere Initiative
River Basins and Cryosphere Programme

Amina Maharjan

Amina Maharjan

Senior Specialist
Livelihoods & Migration

Deo Raj Gurung

Deo Raj Gurung

Programme Coordinator – Preparedness and Safety
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH)

Jakob Friedrich Steiner

Jakob Friedrich Steiner

Glacier Hydrologist