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22 May 2019 | News

Knowledge brokering and policy engagement through the CCAC to address atmospheric pollution

The future of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region in the face of climate change is of utmost importance, given the extensive ecosystem services it provides to directly sustain the livelihoods of 240 million people living in the region. Changes in the climatic and socioeconomic conditions at the global and regional levels have profound implications on the local communities in the HKH. For over 35 years, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has contributed to national and global discourses to inform policy on issues of global significance, such as atmospheric pollution, with focus always centered on serving the interests and needs of communities in the eight countries along the HKH. ICIMOD’s instrumental role in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) is a fitting example of its commitment to facilitating policy changes and action on the ground.

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Inauguration of the newly established FABKA secretariat in Kathmandu. ICIMOD, 2019.

The CCAC is the first global effort to treat pollutants as a collective challenge. Formed in 2012, it is a partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions, and civil society that aims to catalyze concrete, substantial action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and some hydrofluorocarbons, which have harmful impacts on public health, agriculture, and ecosystems. Due to their relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere, quick action to reduce SLCP concentrations can deliver results in a matter of weeks to years after emissions are reduced. To promote these actions, CCAC raises awareness, mobilizes resources, and leads transformative actions through 11 initiatives in key emitting and cross-cutting sectors.

Since joining the CCAC in its founding year, ICIMOD has assumed a core institutional engagement role in defining its global outlook, particularly in the Bricks, Urban, and Regional Assessment activities. ICIMOD has served on the CCAC Steering Committee since 2015. On the basis of on-the-ground expertise, ICIMOD lobbied for the ongoing process to extend CCAC’s mandate beyond 2022 and to expand it beyond addressing SLCPs.

CCAC’s 10th High Level Assembly at the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) recognized the importance of integrating climate and air quality actions and passed the “Action Programme to Address the 1.5°C Challenge” to rapidly reduce SLCPs and ensure integrated mitigation efforts to simultaneously address air pollution and climate change. These efforts can help avert a 0.6˚C temperature increase between now and 2050, prevent millions of premature deaths from air pollution, prevent 50 million tons of crop losses annually, and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Fazullhaq Bakhtari, Director, Water Resources Department, underlined the importance of understanding and managing Afghanistan’s river basins and hoped the training would aid water resources planning. The first week of the training provided a theoretical description of hydrological processes with a focus on the JAMS/J2000 modelling system. The latter half of the training involved an exercise on the Panjshir catchment, which involved setting up the J2000 hydrological model in the catchment and conducting hydrological assessments. Initial assessments show that the basin is largely dominated by snowmelt processes. Ahmad Tamim Kabiry, a participant representing the NEPA, shared that the trainers presented complex topics in such a manner that it was understandable even to those without a background in hydrology.

By applying the JAMS/J2000 model to the Panjshir catchment, this training was able to co-create knowledge and provide co-learning opportunities and strengthen the capacity of Afghan partners on hydrological dynamics and water availability assessment. The selected participants will further work to apply the J2000 model in the Kabul River basin in the coming months to obtain substantial hydrological data and observe how conditions in the river basin might change under climate change.

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