Himalayan nations discuss climate change in Nepali capital

08:29, August 19, 2010      

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Four eastern Himalayan countries -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal -- officially commenced a three-day high-level technical consultative meeting Wednesday in the Nepali capital Kathmandu on the "Sacred Himalayas for Water, Livelihoods, and Bio-cultural Heritage".

According to THT Online report, the meeting is being organized by International Center for Integrated Mountain Development ( ICIMOD) and the Royal Government of Bhutan and expected outcomes will create a roadmap leading to the proposed "Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas, Bhutan 2011".

Opening the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Nepali National Planning Commission Jagadish Chandra Pokharel congratulated the Royal Government of Bhutan for taking this initiative to develop a regional framework and national adaptation plans to climate change, to reduce the vulnerability of local populations living in the region including the lowlands.

He commended the role of ICIMOD in providing technical backstopping to the summit, which has an important objective: assisting the populations in the eastern Himalayan region to adapt to climate change.

Bhutan's Minister for Agriculture and Forest Pema Gyamtsho said that countries, as citizens of the eastern Himalayas, should work together in developing medium- and long-term strategies.

"We share a common geography, common problems, and a common destiny and need to take collective action to tackle the problems posed by changing climate." He emphasized that "We have to start working together on an urgent basis."

"We also need to gain a clearer picture of the changes taking place in relation to temperature rise and its local effects. There are heavy fluctuations in weather patterns and their implications at the local, national, and regional levels are going to be significant. We have to work towards developing our own adaptive strategy at the regional level."

Madhav Karki, Acting Director General of ICIMOD, highlighted the potentials of the region, also known as the "Third Pole" or the "Water Towers of Asia" as a major water source for close to 1. 3 billion people. Climate change has a profound impact on the region and the Himalayan glaciers are shrinking faster than glaciers in other parts of the world.

Source: Xinhua


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