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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.
As I prepare for my departure from my position of Director General, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my time at ICIMOD over the last 9 years – the progress made and challenges ahead. It is difficult to cover everything here, so I’d like to also refer our readers also to a reflective piece I had written with Dr. Eklabya Sharma, who has served ICIMOD in such a dedicated way, most recently as our Deputy Director General.
When I came to ICIMOD, I found it a vibrant institute, a growing voice for mountains, and an organization really making a difference for mountain people – something that was a pleasure to build on. Working together with our Board of Governors and ICIMOD’s many stakeholders, one of my first tasks was to lead a process to develop a strategic framework that would address many of the challenges of the HKH: meeting the SDGs, addressing climate change, and addressing regional issues by bringing countries together, and doing this in a way that recognizes the uniqueness of mountains.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in the HKH and compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities already impacted by climate change.
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Theme: People and Environment of Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape
Submission deadline: 15 October 2020
The data on glacial lakes in 2015 were derived through a semi-automatic method using Landsat imagery from 2015 to 2016. The Normalized Difference Water Index threshold value was used for classification. Further, the lake boundary was revised or manually updated by incorporating those lakes that were missed because of atmospheric and physical processes such as being frozen, covered under snow, or obstructed by shadows and clouds.
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.
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.
Glaciers in the Himalaya have been melting at an unprecedented rate since the mid-20th century, impacting flow regimes in major associated river basins.
Agriculture is crucial to life in mountain regions. Agricultural systems evolve and transform with people–nature interaction, and accordingly help biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation, and climate change adaptation. More than 70% of the rural population in the hills and mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region relies on agriculture.
Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) was adopted in 2009 as a suitable approach for sustainable management and development of water resources in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan National Water Sector Strategy identifies issues of importance and develops policies in the field of water resources.
Wester, P; Singh Rathore, BM; Vasily, LA; Sharma, E; Molden, D (2020). ‘The Hindu Kush Himalaya Call to Action: Sustaining Mountain Environments and Improving Livelihoods.’ In Mountain Research and Development 40.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is the pulse of the planet. Being at the top of the world, changes happen here before anywhere else. But urgent actions are required to ensure the health of this global asset and the wellbeing of its people. The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the HKH needs to become a global top priority, and keeping global warming below the ambitious 1.5°C target is especially urgent here. These 6 urgent actions summarize the HKH Call to Action, formulated through a rigorous consultative process coordinated by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in the eight HKH countries, based on the key findings of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment report.
Maharjan, A; Kochhar, I; Chitale, VS; Hussain, A; Gioli, G (2020). ‘Understanding Rural Outmigration and Agricultural Land Use Change in the Gandaki Basin, Nepal.’ In Applied Geography 124: 102278 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2020.102278.
This study investigates agricultural land use change in Chitwan, Nuwakot, and Lamjung districts of Nepal during 1990–2017 in relation to rural outmigration. We use an interdisciplinary approach integrating macro scale and longitudinal geospatial analysis with quantitative econometric causal analysis and participatory qualitative methods. Results show that agricultural land abandonment is higher in mountain areas than in the Terai. The effect of outmigration on agricultural land abandonment also has an important gender dimension: when men outmigrate, women continue farming leading to feminization of agriculture, but when women migrate in significant numbers, there are only older parents left who are often unable to continue farming. Similarly, international migration (of both men and women) did not show any significant impact on agricultural land abandonment.
Baig, SM; Khan, AA; Ali, A; Khan, MZ; Ahmed, S; Shah, GM; Ali, G (2020). ‘Enhancing Socioeconomic Resilience and Climate Adaptation through Value Chain Development of Mountain Products in Hindu Kush Himalayas.’ In Environment, Development and Sustainability DOI: 10.1007/s10668-020-00975-9.
We examine the dynamics of 443 households’ income in in four valleys of northern Pakistan in the face of changing climate. We found that the mountain communities consider climate-induced natural hazards as major causes of change in household income. To enhance the socioeconomic resilience, we propose cultivating sea buckthorn and breeding yak, which are less labor intensive and are climate resilient. Products made from yak hair and dung have the potential for high return if their value chains are established. Sea buckthorn can generate by-products used for food, medicine, cosmetics, and construction. We propose value chain approaches for yak and sea-buckthorn products
Bhattarai, S; Dons, K; Pant, B (2020). ‘Assessing Spatial Patterns of Forest Degradation in Dry Miombo Woodland in Southern Tanzania.’ In Cogent Environmental Science 6: 1801218 DOI: 10.1080/23311843.2020.1801218.
Peppa, MV; Maharjan, SB; Joshi, SP; Xiao, W; Mills, JP (2020). ‘Glacial Lake Evolution Based on Remote Sensing Time Series: A Case Study of Tsho Rolpa in Nepal.’ In ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci. V-3-2020: 633-639 DOI: 10.5194/isprs-annals-V-3-2020-633-2020.