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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.
News and features
Events around the HKH
An international consultative workshop titled “Bridging Boundaries: Strengthening Regional Cooperation across Transboundary River Basins and Landscapes in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” was held from November 15–16 2018.
A fifth of the world’s population depends on rivers that are born in the HKH. Winding for 3,500 kilometres through remote steppes, terraced farmlands, and crowded cities, the 10 largest Asian river systems form ecological communities that are the homes of 210 million people in the mountains and over 1.3 billion people downstream.
CBFEWS is an integrated system of tools and plans managed by and for communities, providing real-time flood warnings to reduce flood risks.
WE EMBRACE DIVERSITY
Both internally and externally, our multicultural staff and partners are our greatest asset. They provide us with a broad perspective across disciplines and offer us localized knowledge like no other.
A street performer around Bath Abbey.
in the news
We collaborate with partner agencies across the HKH to foster regional cooperation, synchronize data sources, share innovative solutions, and direct global attention to the region. Learn more about our work and their impacts.
Our programmes are oriented towards integrating knowledge and turning research into action.