Since time immemorial, the people of the HKH have maintained their rich cultural traditions and identity and have conserved agro-biodiversity within the parameters of their own traditional knowledge. But climate change presents threats at a scale and pace previously unknown and we have to work together to ensure that our global asset - the HKH - is protected. Protecting the HKH requires more regional cooperation, more consistent and synchronised data sources, more sharing of innovative solutions, and more global attention.
Home to more life, culture, beauty and biodiversity than you can even begin to imagine, the Hindu Kush Himalaya is a microcosm of the world around us and the source of clean drinking water for close to two billion people. It is the place where, quite literally, the earth comes together, and its reach spans across everything. Regions. Countries. Landscapes. Languages. But despite its global importance, the Hindu Kush Himalaya remains one of the poorest and most neglected regions in the world. The forces of climate change and globalization are wreaking havoc on this fragile asset, wiping out resources, communities and cultures that have existed for centuries. 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.
The HKH region extends 3,500 km over all or part of eight countries from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. It is the source of ten large Asian river systems – the Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra (Yarlungtsanpo), Irrawaddy, Salween (Nu), Mekong (Lancang), Yangtse (Jinsha), Yellow River (Huanghe), and Tarim (Dayan) – and provides water, ecosystem services, and the basis for livelihoods to a population of around 240 million people in the region. The basins of these rivers provide water to 1.9 billion people, a fourth of the world’s population.
A considerable volume of water resources is stored as snow and glacier ice in the HKH. Cryosphere components including permafrost and glacial lakes provide various ecosystem services for mountain and downstream communities. The snow cover area during winter varies between 951,000 sq km and 1,390,000 sq km. During summer, it ranges between 388,000 and 481,000 sq km The total glacier area can extend up to 87,340 sq km.
Total estimated area: 3,441,719 sq.km
* Exponential projections of populations. The periods of growth rate estimation for HKH areas were 2009-2017 (Afghanistan), 2001-2011 (Bangladesh), 2010-2017 (Bhutan), 2011-2015 (China), 2001-2011 (India), 1983-2014 (Myanmar), 2001-2011 (Nepal), & 1998-2017 (Pakistan). These growth rates are used to project populations for 2017 and 2030.
** Projected population for 2017 procured from Statistical Year Book of Bhutan, 2016
A Population statistics for 2017 are directly collected from official sources of respective countries (Statistical Year Book of Bhutan 2016; Population Census of Pakistan 2017; Statistical
year Book of Afghanistan 2016-17).
Ten highest mountain peaks in the region
Highest peaks in countries
Our work is organized through Regional Programmes, which take integrated approaches to meet our region’s multifaceted challenges.
Our deep history of engagement across a broad range of issues, topics and concerns enables sustainable development in the HKH and provides the foundation for our current work.
We believe that integrated and transdisciplinary work is required to address complex mountain issues.
Whether you are looking to join our team, establish a partnership or contribute to our mission there are many ways you can make an impact.