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Urgent steps are required to sustain mountain environments and improve livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).
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 degrees by 2100.
The HKH Assessment and the resulting HKH Call to Action reflect 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, and their status and their future. The HKH Call to Action has been developed as a roadmap based on the key findings of the HKH Assessment report and it articulates six urgent actions.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report-4 announced that climate change will be the most prominent force of global change in the modern era and that the HKH region is seen as ‘a data gap’ area, lacking consistent long-term monitoring. The report calls for national, regional and global attention towards filling this data gap. Unfortunately, not much progress has been reported in IPCC 2014 AR-5 on the HKH region in this regard. While initial progress has been made by universities, NGOs, and science organizations in the region, in assembling and consolidating existing data, the information remains too fragmented and incomplete to derive any meaningful conclusions about trends and scenarios. The need for an evidence-based assessment which brings together hundreds of scientists and policy experts persists. A comprehensive assessment could greatly assist in addressing threats, acting on opportunities, and scaling cutting edge approaches.
1. Cooperate at all levels across the HKH region for sustainable and mutual benefits
2. Recognize and prioritize the uniqueness of the HKH mountain people
3. Take concerted climate action at all levels to keep global warming to 1.5oC by 2100
4. Take accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs and 9 Mountain Priorities
5. Enhance ecosystem resilience; halt biodiversity loss and land degradation
6. Regional data and information sharing and science and knowledge cooperation
Through a series of HKH Call to Action Consultations in ICIMOD’s regional member countries, the key findings and main messages of the HKH Assessment report are being 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 discuss the key findings of the HKH Assessment, debate and validate its Call to Action, and chart a way forward for more robust regional cooperation around mountains to sustain this globally critical region.
Specifically, the HKH Call to Action consultations have the following objectives: