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Water is an essential element for life on our planet and its flows are connected upstream and downstream and across geographies.
At a glance
Enhanced resilience of the HKH to ensure that our mountains and river systems continue to sustain millions of people living downstream
Arun Bhakta Shrestha
Increasingly skewed and rapid development, along with climate change, has raised challenges in meeting water, food, and energy demands in the HKH region. Protecting our rivers, mountains, and glaciers is crucial to our securing our future.
The HKH is aptly called the water tower of Asia because it is the source of 10 major Asian rivers. It is also known as the Third Pole as it stores the highest volume of snow cover, glaciers, and permafrost outside the polar regions. It is indispensable to livelihoods, development, and sustenance of approximately 1.9 billion people – approximately a quarter of the world’s population – living downstream.
River Basins and Cryosphere aims to understand and protect our mountain systems and the services they provide. We adopt an integrated approach that transcends scale, borders, modalities, and disciplines. We help communities manage water resources and disaster risks, prioritize the sustainable use of water and land resources to enhance livelihoods, and understand the role of the cryosphere contributions. We seek to secure our water sources, and our future.
River Basins and Cryosphere has identified particular river basins of the HKH, along with a focus on the cryosphere, to raise awareness on the dynamic interplay between climate change and its impacts on the rivers and landscapes of the region.
Read about how our approach to the sustainable management of water resources in the HKH region is helping create meaningful impact.
Events around the HKH
This synthesis report summarizes findings from a participatory assessment of socio-economic drivers, conditions, and climatic and environmental stresses leading to different levels of vulnerabilities in the HKH region. The study sites included high-mountain, mid-hill, and downstream regions of the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki, and Teesta – a tributary of the Brahmaputra River – basins.
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