Online (MS Teams)
15 October 2020
Udayan Mishra & Bhawana Syangden
Agenda HKH Call to action Ministerial declaration Press release PROCEEDINGS
To further the mountain agenda of a prosperous, peaceful, and poverty-free HKH, a decision was taken by ICIMOD’s Board of Governors on 17 September 2019 to explore the possibilities of organizing an HKH Ministerial Mountain Summit in 2020.
The Board of Governors also nominated representatives to form a task force that would oversee necessary preparations for the Summit. The first meeting of the task force was held on 29 November 2019 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The meeting’s major objective was to discuss the HKH Call to Action and to lay the groundwork for the proposed Summit. The task force prepared a draft declaration for the HKH Ministerial Mountain Summit for consideration by each of the eight HKH countries.
Urgent steps are required to sustain mountain environments and improve livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Extending 3,500 km over eight countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east and crossing Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, the HKH is one of the world’s greatest mountain systems: home to the world’s highest peaks, unique cultures, diverse flora and fauna, and a vast reserve of natural resources. The HKH directly supports the livelihoods of over 240 million people living in its hills and mountains, and it yields many benefits to the 1.65 billion people living downstream. As the source of 10 major Asian rivers, the HKH provides essential resources, especially water and biodiversity, to 1.9 billion people. Its waters irrigate the grain baskets of Asia.
The HKH is a vital regional lifeline, but human drivers and climate change pose grave and immediate threats to the region’s livelihoods, biodiversity, and ultimately sustainability. Changes on the rooftop of the world are having and will continue to have major consequences, not only for the region but globally. Local, national, regional, and global actions are urgently needed to sustain this global asset, focusing on substantially increased investments and more robust regional cooperation for sustaining mountain environments and improving livelihoods in the HKH and concerted action to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2100.
The Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) is a long-term, integrated science–policy initiative coordinated by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Under HIMAP, more than 350 leading researchers, practitioners, and policy specialists working on the HKH, from 22 countries and 185 organizations, came together to develop the first HKH Assessment report, published open access in early 2019 by Springer, to assess the state of the HKH and consider its future prospects. The common purpose of the assessment has been to collate and assess knowledge of the mountainous areas of the HKH, and to promote awareness and appreciation of the HKH as a global asset with unique human and economic value for both mountain and downstream communities.
The HKH Assessment report reflects five years of research, review, and analysis. The report was drafted in response to requests from governments in the region – meeting a demand for a comprehensive assessment of the region’s mountains, environments and livelihoods, their status, and their future. While more information and data will lead to better decision making, the HKH Assessment report concludes that we know enough to take action, and that action is urgently needed.
Based on the key findings of the HKH Assessment report, the HKH Call to Action has been developed as a roadmap for the future of the HKH region. Through a series of HKH Call to Action Consultations in ICIMOD’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs) held from April to November 2019, the key findings and main messages of the HKH Assessment report and the HKH Call to Action were shared with a larger audience with the aim of building momentum for more robust regional cooperation and a roadmap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the mountains. During these consultations, think tanks, senior experts, and high-level decision makers discussed the key findings of the HKH Assessment report, debated and validated its Call to Action, and charted a way forward for more robust regional cooperation around mountains to sustain this globally critical region.
Specifically, the HKH Call to Action Country Consultations had the following objectives:
The response to both the HKH Assessment report and the HKH Call to Action has been very positive and has already led to the following results: