In view of the increasing concerns over climatic change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, five South Asian countries have agreed to form a regional network.
Senior Government Officials from Nepal, Bhutan, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan met on September 17, 2018 and agreed to form a regional network to boost their mountain economies and reduce glacier & snowmelt, due to climate change and pollution.
In the meeting, the officials agreed on a set of principles for better maintenance of snow covers and glaciers that encompass their mountain ranges, an important source of energy, water and food for people living in downstream areas.
The Hindu Kush Himalayan Glaciers and Mountain Economy Network was launched at the Climate Change Conference in Kathmandu. Speaking at the event Nepal Forests and Environment Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet said, “South Asia is home to the largest glaciated area outside the poles, and the region shares many common challenges related to climate change and glacier melting.”
Adding further, he says, “Greater cooperation with our South Asian neighbors will bring the solutions we need to keep our Himalayan glaciers healthy, boost our mountain economies and make our communities more resilient to climate change.”
The countries within the region are majorly dependent on water provided by Himalayan glaciers. Increased snowmelt due to rising temperatures in the region has made it vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
According to scientists, most of the Himalayan glaciers have shrunk in the last century. Between the years 2003-2009, the Hindu Kush Himalayan range lost 174 giga tons of water each year, at a faster rate than the global average.
In the past Nepal has signed key agreements on climate-related concerns with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).