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Last updated on 5 February, 2021

News digest 2021 January


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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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Pushing the reset button

As we start 2021, our immediate priority is to take stock of the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in our member countries and in the HKH region. We want to learn about both the positives and negatives which have come out of this experience and integrate these lessons into our programmes. We already know that the pandemic has deeply affected the lives and livelihoods of many mountain peoples and communities, so it is important for us to fully take into consideration this new reality as we move forward with our work.

Announcements

Expression of interest for ICIMOD Sixth Quinquennial Review

Deadline: 22 February 2021
After more than 36 years of operations, the ICIMOD is going to…

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Featured news/articles

NEWS

A GI tag for the Kangchenjunga Landscape’s large cardamom

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NEWS

Nature-based solutions for rural revitalization in the Far Eastern Himalaya

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NEWS

Global Landscapes Forum community urges seven ways to harness the power of landscapes to safeguard biodiversity

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STAFF ARTICLES

Farmers in Kavre reaping the benefits of soil cement tanks

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NEWS

Systematic review of literature on HKH ecosystem services calls for holistic future research

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NEWS

Using CORDEX datasets for regional climate projections

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Featured videos

The biocultural diversity of the Hindu Kush Himalaya

KDKH Annual dialogue (Day 2) – Session 3: Floods

Session 1: Opening KDKH Annual dialogue

Resilient entrepreneurship in the HKH: The larger impacts of locally led adaptation

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Featured dataset

Discharge: Lirung Glacier

This dataset provides discharge measurements at the outlet or the terminus lake at Lirung Glacier in Langtang Valley. The station is no longer operational. Discharge calculated from stage height measurements over multiple years, based on a rating curve developed locally with rhodamine dilution. At the location of the station is now the inlet for the hydropower plant.

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Publications

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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REDD+, payment for ecosystem services, and integrated water resources management in Nepal: Synergies, opportunities, and challenges

This study analyses the historical evolution and status of three natural resource management frameworks – REDD+, payment for ecosystem services (PES), and integrated water resources management (IWRM) – in Nepal. This analysis of the documented development of REDD+ and PES practices related to IWRM seeks to improve understanding of Nepal’s specific country context, as well as the opportunities, challenges, and barriers towards strengthening linkages and improving synergies between these natural resource management frameworks.

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प्रकृति आह्वानः कैलाश पवित्र भू-परिधिमा सीमापार जैविक विविधता व्यवस्थापन छलफल मञ्च

सन् २०१८मा सीमापार जैविक विविधता व्यवस्थापन विषयमा छलफल गर्नका लागि नेपाल र भारतका स्थानीय सरकार तथा समुदायका प्रतिनिधिहरुलाई यस पहलले दार्चुला जिल्लामा भेला गरेको थियो । सहभागीहरूले जैविक विविधता व्यवस्थापनबारे तत्काल महत्वका विषयमा पनि छलफल गर्दै तिनी विषयहरुलाई सामूहिक रूपमा सम्बोधन गर्न आवश्यक रणनीति पहिल्याउनु पर्ने भनी बताएका थिए ।

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Proceedings of the first annual meeting of the Upper Indus Basin Network–Pakistan Chapter

The first general meeting of the Upper Indus Basin Network–Pakistan Chapter (UIBN–PC), formed in November 2018, was organized in Islamabad in January 2020. As membership to the UIBN–PC continues to expand, the meeting discussed ways in which an inclusive network might be nurtured and more organizations might be brought into the fold of its Technical Working Groups (TWGs).

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Proceedings of the Resilient Mountain Solutions annual partners’ workshop

Our Resilient Mountain Solutions Initiative hosted its second partners’ workshop at the ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu in January 2020. The main objectives of the workshop were to share the key results of the deliberations that took place in 2019 with all the partners; develop an appropriate scaling, monitoring, and communication approach; design an action plan for 2020 by integrating gender and social inclusion into the agenda; and to validate the resilience markers.

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Journal articles

Dhakal, MP; Ali, A; Khan, MZ; Wagle, N; Shah, GM; Maqsood, MM; Ali, A ‘Agricultural Water Management Challenges in the Hunza River Basin: Is a Solar Water Pump an Alternative Option?*.’ In Irrigation and Drainage. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ird.2563.

Glacier- and snowmelt- based irrigation systems in the Upper Indus Basin of Pakistan are facing several challenges due to climate and other drivers of change. Hence, exploring potential options for overcoming the challenges and irrigating arable barren land could lead to economic prosperity and environmental gains. We conducted a literature review, stakeholder consultation, and semi-structured questionnaire survey in two villages of the Hunza River basin to synthesize information in different domains. We collected information on the irrigation system and its sources, water distribution/allocation system, and challenges and adaptation strategies, and we established an alternative irrigation technological package to overcome the challenges and irrigate barren land. We piloted a customized solar water lifting pump with an efficient micro-irrigation package, which proved to be climate resilient. The system is simple to adopt, uses clean energy for operation, and is economically feasible, with a benefit–cost ratio of 4.96 and a payback period of around 11 years.

Pradhan, NS; Das, PJ; Gupta, N; Shrestha, AB (2021). ‘Sustainable Management Options for Healthy Rivers in South Asia: The Case of Brahmaputra.’ In Sustainability 13: 1087.

The Brahmaputra is one of the largest river systems of South Asia, providing life-supporting services to about 70 million people. Although hydrological connectivity is intact in most of the river’s main course, infrastructure development plans may convert the Brahmaputra to a predominantly managed river system. In this regard, we examine the physiographic, ecological, hydrological, and socioeconomic status of the river; its transnational basin in South Asia; and the basin population in a cross-cutting context to explore its sustainable management options. An integrated management mechanism among the basin countries is needed for equitable benefit sharing, disaster risk management, and resilience building. The suggested strategies will help in maintaining the ecohydrological health and utilitarian services of the river for the socioeconomic development of millions of poor and marginalized people living in the basin.

Thapa, S; Hussain, A (2021). ‘Climate Change and High-Altitude Food Security: A Small-Scale Study from the Karnali Region in Nepal.’ In Climate and Development: 1-12 DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1855099.

Tuladhar, S; Pasakhala, B; Maharjan, A; Mishra, A (2021). ‘Unravelling the Linkages of Cryosphere and Mountain Livelihood Systems: A Case Study of Langtang, Nepal.’ In Advances in Climate Change Research DOI: 10.1016/j.accre.2020.12.004.

In this study, we explore linkages between the cryosphere and high-mountain livelihoods using a social‒ecological system approach. We examine how the complex social‒ecological system in villages in Langtang Valley, Nepal, has evolved in response to both cryospheric and socioeconomic changes. The local communities perceive gradual but significant changes in the cryospheric system. Communities are also facing socioeconomic changes, resulting in changing aspirations. We analyse the growing disconnection between society and the surrounding cryosphere, with direct impacts on the transfer and growth of local knowledge systems. These simultaneous changes in the cryosphere and the socioeconomic domain have resulted in a homogenization of livelihood sources, increased imports of food, and an emerging lack of risk reduction strategy. Interventions pertaining to diversifying livelihoods, harmonizing social capital, and hazard risk assessment are essential for strengthening linkages between cryosphere and the socioeconomic system.

Ali, G; Abbas, S; Qamer, FM; Wong, MS; Rasul, G; Irteza, SM; Shahzad, N (2021). ‘Environmental Impacts of Shifts in Energy, Emissions, and Urban Heat Island During the Covid-19 Lockdown across Pakistan.’ In Journal of Cleaner Production 291: 125806 DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.125806.

Fang, Y-P; Zhu, R; Zhang, C-J; Rasul, G; Neupane, N (2020). ‘Cascading Adaptation of Rural Livelihood to Changing Environment: Conceptual Framework and Experiment from the Koshi River Basin.’ In Advances in Climate Change Research 11: 141-157 DOI: 10.1016/j.accre.2020.05.005.

Wangchuk, K; Darabant, A; Nirola, H; Wangdi, J; Gratzer, G (2021). ‘Climate Warming Decreases Plant Diversity but Increases Community Biomass in High-Altitude Grasslands.’ In Rangeland Ecology & Management 75: 51-57 DOI: 10.1016/j.rama.2020.11.008.

Din, JU; Nawaz, MA; Norma-Rashid, Y; Ahmad, F; Hussain, K; Ali, H; Hasan Adli, DS (2020). ‘Ecosystem Services in a Snow Leopard Landscape: A Comparative Analysis of Two High-Elevation National Parks in the Karakoram–Pamir.’ In Mountain Research and Development 40. https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-19-00047.1