The Nation: Climate change is one thing and the lack of cooperation between affected countries quite another. Pakistan points the finger of blame at India, while others in the region are also suffering on account of no clear-cut policy on how Himalayan waters are to be shared and conserved. Accords and treaties may have been signed but they are not always respected, much to the detriment of the people of the region.
Today the Himalayan glaciers are melting and the result is deadly deluges that are claiming lives and ruining livelihoods in a manner that can cause cyclical poverty that could make each generation more distressed than the last. In the following decades, however, we may be facing extreme shortages of water on account of global warming and the eventual disappearance of glaciers.
Action has to be taken, and soon, as the Abu Dhabi Dialogue Group pointed out recently. A meeting between the concerned countries in Asia will reportedly take place next month.The World Bank, too, is working on this front. The major stakeholders in this battle for survival include Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Bhutan, China and Nepal. Common sense and a proactive attitude concerning the betterment of the world need to prevail in this dire situation, as opposed to the politics of nationalism. In addition to glacier melt, rising sea levels are also cause for serious concern.
It has been estimated that nearly 1.5 billion people live in river basins in our part of the world, and they are expected to be hit hard by climate change that could induce unusual precipitation as well as drought in areas that were once fertile. As stated earlier, regional cooperation is the key here because sharing data, irrespective of nationality and cross-border friction, is of the essence.
Our environmental future and livelihoods lie in a renewed sense of harmony based on trust.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>