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High Mountain Summit

Side event 1: Cryosphere and society in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) store the largest reserves of snow and ice outside the polar regions, which is why the region is aptly called the Third Pole. Changes in the Third Pole’s cryosphere and fragile ecosystems affect a stretch spanning Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Spotlighting cryospheric changes in the HKH is therefore crucial.


Salle C2, World Meteorological Organization Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

Date & Time

30 October 2019 01 January 1970

The “International forum on the cryosphere and society: The voice of the HKH” held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in August 2019 brought together regional and international experts and stakeholders, including diverse groups of mountain communities, to discuss the importance of the cryosphere and its contributions to the society in the HKH. This was the first-of-its-kind platform focusing on cryosphere contributions to people and ecosystems and their sustainability in the HKH region. The forum built on key findings related to the cryosphere in the 2019 Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment report and was jointly organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); Kathmandu University, Nepal; and the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, China.

The side event on “Cryosphere and society in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” at the High Mountain Summit (HMS) will share and discuss key messages from the forum to amplify the voice of the HKH in the context of the HMS and highlight the HKH Call to Action.

The side event aims to strengthen the interface between diverse groups of users and providers of knowledge and information systems supporting sustainable development and risk reduction in mountain and downstream regions. It will reflect upon key messages from the forum in the context of the HMS’s objective to develop a roadmap to science-based, relevant, and reliable user-driven knowledge and information systems.

Global stakeholders are welcome to discuss issues relevant for the Third Pole region and the entire world by extension.

Session format: Moderated panel discussion

Host: Anna Sinisalo, ICIMOD; Mandira Shrestha, ICIMOD

Moderator: David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD

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