The Himalayan Times: Mountain communities in Nepal have joined hands to save mountain ecosystem which is more vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
Formally announcing a 17-member ‘Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities’, its chairman Ang Tshering Sherpa said that there was an urgent need to aware local communities of Himalaya region about the impacts of climate change addressing the concerns of mountain ecosystems and livelihoods.
“Mountainous people have already started feeling the heat due to global warming,” Sherpa said referring to the fast melting of snow as well as rapid occurrence of avalanches on the mountains. According to him, global warming has hit mountain ecosystem’s cycle resulting into water scarcity and displacement of local settlements among others.
“The alliance aims to preserve entire Himalayan region and its natural and cultural heritages, making communities aware on issues of climate change,” he said adding that the mountain activities including trekking and mountaineering are also under threat as global warming causes a sudden change in temperature along mountain trails and trekking routes.
Minister for forest and soil conservation Mahesh Acharya applauded the communities for their greater efforts in bringing the local stakeholders together to deal with the cross cutting issues. “The government is ready to support the alliance to achieve its goals,” he added.
Stakeholders believe that the new initiative will certainly help to expedite national and local level adaptation activities across the country. “The alliance can play a vital role in terms of local level adaptation to the climate change,” Secretary at the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation Shuresh Man Shrestha said.
Stating that the Himalayan glaciers are prominent feature of Nepal’s climate, Director General, at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, David James Molden urged the alliance to actively advocate for climate change issues in the target areas. “ICIMOD is ready to offer its full support to the alliance,” he said.
More than twenty constituent assembly members representing the mountainous region also vowed that they would raise the climate change issues in the parliament to formulate necessary policies and programmes.
The alliance aims to carry credible voice of mountain communities on social and environmental issues to the leaders of country. Furthermore it aims to aware the wider world and demand transparency and accountability from the agencies who raise and spend resources in the name of Himalayan communities and Himalayas, CAHC said.
“The alliance demands from government, development partners, and I/NGOs to plan and implement climate-smart development projects/programs in the mountains as it also advocates for climate smart practices,” it added.
According to ICIMOD, mountains which provide essential ecosystem services and play the role of water towers to billions of people living in downstream slopes, valleys and plains, cover around 24 per cent of the Earth’s land surface and host about 13 per cent of the world population.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five 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 the 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>>