Nepal tries to raise awareness of climate change in Himalayas

15:18, November 03, 2009      

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The Nepali government is trying their best to raise the awareness of climate change in Himalayas as the upcoming United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) is scheduled to kick off in December in Denmark's capital Copenhagen.

"The Nepali government is to hold a cabinet meeting on Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) to highlight the impact of global warming on the Himalayas ahead of next month's climate change talks in Copenhagen," Deepak Bohora, Minister of Nepali Forest and Soil Conservation, said Monday.

According to him, the entire cabinet will travel to Mt. Qomolangma base camp at an altitude of 5,360 meters for the meeting, to be held later this month.

According to THT Online report, the announcement came just weeks after the government of the Maldives held an underwater cabinet meeting to focus global attention on rising sea levels ahead of the key United Nations summit on Dec. 7-18.

"The melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas is a serious concern for us," said Bohora. "We want to focus the world's attention on saving the Himalayas from the effects of climate change before the Copenhagen meeting."

Around 1.3 billion people depend on the water that flows down from the Himalayan glaciers, which experts say are melting at an alarming rate, threatening to bring floods and later drought to the region.

Campaigners say that while the effects of climate change on low-lying South Asian countries such as Bangladesh and the Maldives are now well known, there is little international awareness of the vulnerability of the Himalayan region.

Bohora said the visit would be an opportunity for ministers to gain first-hand information about the effects of climate change on the vast mountain range.

On the same day, a press conference held in Nepali capital Kathmandu said that Nepal will hold "Summiteers' Summit" at Copenhagen on December 11.

The 19-time Mt. Qomolangma climber Appa Sherpa said on the press conference that the mountaineers are fully geared to throw their weight behind the government's plan to organize the "Summitteers' Summit" on the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate change meeting.

"It is important that the attention of the world community is drawn toward the plight of the people living in the lap of the Himalayas," myrepublica.com cited Appa as saying.

Appa also said that he will share interesting episodes from his experiences during his Europe tour, beginning November 20 in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, and culminating in Copenhagen on December 11.

Dawa Sherpa, another renowned Nepali climber, said, "We are confident that at least a 1,000 people will easily be mobilized for the Copenhagen march."

Deepak Bohora, who conceptualized the entire plan ,said the Nepali government has planned to extend an invitation to some famous people ,such as former US President Bill Clinton, to attend the march as a sign of solidarity to Nepali peoples cause and to help in raising awareness.

Deepak Bohora added that the Non-Resident Nepalese community in Europe will be fully mobilized for the event.

The upcoming United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) is scheduled to kick off in December in Denmark's capital Copenhagen. The Copenhagen talks are expected to come up with a new climate deal to replace the Kyoto protocol which was adopted in December 1997 and entered into force in February 2005.

Source: Xinhua
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