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Last updated on 5 February, 2021

News digest 2020 December

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Protect the pulse.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya is the pulse of the planet. Being at the top of the world, changes happen here before they happen anywhere else and the beat of this place vibrates across the globe. We are ICIMOD. Together with our partners, we protect the pulse. 

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A time for mountains

The year 2020 is behind us now and December was a busy month for us. We marked International Mountain Day – which is celebrated on December 11th each year – with a week-long celebration filled with virtual events and activities bringing together our partners, staff, and mountain experts from our region to reflect on issues ranging from food and nutrition securitybiodiversitytransboundary cooperationwellbeing of mountain people, and sustainable development in our mountain regions. We also had the privilege to contribute to the First World Virtual High Mountain Summit organized by the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environment Studies (IDEAM) in Colombia, and a high-level event on mountain biodiversity organized by FAO.

ICIMOD

Annual Report 2019

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Announcements

Honouring mountain champions

Every year, the ICIMOD Mountain Prize is awarded to an individual, organization, or private sector entity based in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) or beyond for outstanding efforts in enabling sustainable and resilient mountain…

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A week for mountains: Celebrating International Mountain Day 2020

The International Mountain Day (IMD) is celebrated annually on 11 December to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life…

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ICIMOD at the UNFCCC Climate Dialogues 2020

The UN Climate Change Dialogues 2020 will enable UNFCCC parties and other stakeholders to exchange views and information to generate momentum for as well as advance the intergovernmental…

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Featured news/articles

FROM THE DIRECTOR GENERAL

Mountains matter for biodiversity

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STAFF ARTICLES

Bouncing back from COVID-19 by promoting green enterprise in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

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NEWS

Who holds the power in the yartsa gunbu trade in Nepal’s high mountains?

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STAFF ARTICLES

Training local workers for sustainable post-pandemic recovery of the brick sector in Nepal

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International Mountain Day 2020

Achieving food & nutrition security in the HKPL Landscape

Understanding wellbeing in the HKH mountains

First World Virtual High Mountain Summit in Colombia: Monitoring systems of high mountain forest, páramos, and glaciers

Celebrating International Mountain Day 2020

HKH to Glasgow: Climate action in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

First World Virtual High Mountain Summit in Colombia: Monitoring systems of high mountain forest, páramos, and glaciers

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Featured dataset

Land cover of Koshi Basin 2010

Land cover and its change analysis across Hindu Kush Himalayan region is realized as an urgent need to support diverse issues of environmental conservation. This study presents the first and most complete national land cover database of Koshi basin prepared using public domain Landsat TM data of 2010 and replicable methodology.

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Publications

ICIMOD Annual Report 2019

The stories in this annual report provide a summary of our accomplishments over the last year. They showcase key aspects of our work on multiple fronts – from working with communities, engaging policymakers, facilitating regional cooperation, promoting gender and social inclusion, and generating new knowledge and building capacity – to create positive change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

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COVID-19 impact and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in the HKH and compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities already impacted by climate change. However, it also presents an opportunity for concrete actions toward the transformation necessary for a more resilient and inclusive HKH. In this comprehensive policy paper, we assess the impacts of the pandemic, the risks and vulnerabilities, and provide policy responses and actions required for countries and more robust regional and international cooperation for the mountains.

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The HKH Call to Action to sustain mountain environments and improve livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

This HKH Call to Action is based on the HKH Assessment, which 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 proposes actions towards a shared vision for the future of the HKH region, in which its societies and its people are prosperous, healthy, peaceful, and resilient in a healthy environment. 

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Critical climate stress moments: Evidence from the Teesta River basin in India and Bangladesh

Critical climate stress moments may be defined as those moments when households, communities, and their livelihood systems are vulnerable to climate related risks and hazards. This working paper examines critical climate stress moments due to specific climatic and biophysical causes experienced by the people in the Teesta River basin in India and Bangladesh.

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Selection and downscaling of general circulation model datasets and extreme climate indices analysis – Manual

A supplement to the Climate Change Scenarios for Nepal report published by the Ministry of Forests and Environment for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Process, this manual provides detailed information about the processes through which the assessment highlighted in the report can be carried out.

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Crop diversity and food security: Regional assessment to build capacities for resilience and sustainability

The Far Eastern Himalayan Landscape is spread across the ecologically diverse and geologically fragile hill and mountain tracts of northwest Yunnan of China, northeast India, and northern Myanmar. It is home to more than 20 ethnic communities and their diverse traditions, languages, and cultures.

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Journal articles

Hussain, A; Qamar, FM (2020). ‘Dual Challenge of Climate Change and Agrobiodiversity Loss in Mountain Food Systems in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya.’ In One Earth 3: 539-542 DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2020.10.016.

In the Hindu Kush Himalaya, around one-third of the population is food insecure. In the last three decades (1991–2020), the dual challenge of climate change and agrobiodiversity loss has had a serious impact on the sustainably of food systems in the region. Without tackling this dual challenge, it is difficult to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security.

Uddin, K; Khanal, N; Chaudhary, S; Maharjan, S; Thapa, RB (2020). ‘Coastal Morphological Changes: Assessing Long-Term Ecological Transformations across the Northern Bay of Bengal.’ In Environmental Challenges 1: 100001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envc.2020.100001

Major rivers from the Himalayas carry a high volume of sedimentation, and deposit it across the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. This has caused significant changes in the morphology of the bay, including the development of islands across the bay area. We assessed the coastal morphological changes and ecological succession of these newly formed islands. We used the Google Earth Engine platform and publicly available annual composites of Landsat 8, Landsat ETM+, and TM data from 1989 to 2018. We found a 1.15% net increase in land area. Initially, the islands appeared as barren areas without any vegetation, but different types of vegetation have been observed growing on the newly formed islands recently. Our findings are important for the conservation and development planning of newly formed islands.

Zhu, D; Wu, N; Bhattarai, N; Oli, KP; Chen, H; Rawat, GS; Rashid, I; Dhakal, M; Joshi, S; Tian, J; Zhu, Qa; Chaudhary, S; Tshering, K ‘Methane Emissions Respond to Soil Temperature in Convergent Patterns but Divergent Sensitivities across Wetlands Along Altitude.’ In Global Change Biology n/a DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15454.

There is a declining trend of optimal soil temperature for methane emissions from low to high latitudes in wetlands. We therefore studied two natural wetlands located at contrasting climatic zones in the Nepal Himalaya to test (1) whether the optimal temperature for methane emissions decreases from low to high altitude, and (2) whether there is a difference in temperature sensitivity of methane emissions from those wetlands. We provide the first evidence of an apparent decline in optimal temperature for methane emissions with increasing elevation. Our findings suggest a convergent pattern of methane emissions with respect to seasonal temperature shifts from wetlands along altitudinal gradient, while a divergent pattern in temperature sensitivities exhibits a single peak in mid-altitude.