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Part of the official World Environment Day 2021 celebrations with the global host – Government of Pakistan
02 June 2021
Overexploitation of resources, extensive land conversion, and climate change are having visible impacts on mountain ecosystems across the planet. Considered as the last bastion of rich biodiversity in a changing world, mountains ecosystems are important for their natural beauty, as places of peace and spiritual refuge, and for the ecosystem goods and services that they provide to half the global population.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), the water tower of Asia, is one of the highest and most fragile ecosystems in the world. These mountains, rich in biodiversity and diverse ecosystems, are facing increasing pressure from land conversion, development, and climate change, among others. Although these threats are not uniform across the HKH, most mountain ecosystems are threatened by degradation and over-exploitation of resources, and highland ecosystems are witnessing the impacts of climate change, including range shifts. There is evidence that elevation-dependent warming is adding to these challenges as water availability is disrupted, threatening an important element of ecosystem health. The increased frequency of water induced disasters, droughts, forest fires and change in the growing season are adding to the challenges of already marginalized mountain communities.
The COVID 19 pandemic is being linked to habitat degradation, wildlife trade, and increasing human pressure on natural resources, indicating tipping points and signs of ecosystem instability and collapse. Considering the urgency of ecosystem restoration, the United Nations has announced 2021–2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an inter-governmental regional knowledge centre, has been working with the twin objectives of building ecosystem resilience and human wellbeing in the HKH. It adopts an integrated approach to enhancing ecosystem health and addressing human wellbeing through its customized programmes that focus on knowledge generation and sharing of good practices. It also works with government and civil society partners in the member countries to advance a landscape approach to forest and rangeland restoration and balancing conservation and development imperatives, all of which are vital contributions towards the goals of the UN Decade on Restoration.
On the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, a special session on the theme “Mountain ecosystem restoration” is being organized to focus attention on restoration in the HKH. The session will feature a keynote address to contextualize the theme followed by a panel discussion on innovations and good practices in ecosystem restoration at the regional, national, and local levels. This will be followed by a Q&A session and interaction with participants.
The overall objective of the session is to understand restoration perspectives and approaches in the HKH and to explore collaborative pathways for building ecosystem resilience.
The specific objectives are as follows:
2 June 2021
11:00−13:00 Pakistan Standard Time
Host: Kanwal Waqar, ICIMOD
Vote of thanks
Muhammad Ismail, Country Rep. Pakistan/Ecosystem Specialist, ICIMOD