Climate change is affecting people around the globe, and this is especially evident at the top of the world around Mount Everest and the high peaks of the Himalayan mountain range. The greater Himalayan region has the largest concentration of snow and ice outside the two poles. Warming temperatures cause rapid melting of the glaciers, severely affecting the people downstream. Ten river systems originating in the Himalayas bring water to a mountain population of around 200 million, while the vast water basins downstream are home to a further 1.3 billion people. In total 1.5 billion people a fifth of the world's population - depend on the Himalayan rivers for their water supply.
The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is the highest, most complex mountain region in the world. It extends more than 3500km over eight countries, from Afghanistan in the north-west to Myanmar in the south-east. The area ranges from the high plateau of Tibet and other mountain areas of China to the Ganges Basin in India, and has the upland watersheds of the ten major Asian river systems.
Warming in the Himalayan region has been much greater than the global average. Weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable and extreme dry seasons become dryer and wet seasons wetter. This phenomenon is causing concern over the long-term reduction in total water supply, affecting the lives and livelihoods of the Himalayan people, especially in agriculture practices and long-term food security.
In the words of Dr. Andreas Schild, Director General of ICIMOD; "What we see here at the Himalaya photo exhibition is just the tip of the iceberg. The changes taking place are alarming, and the time to act is now. Scientific evidence shows that the effects of globalisation and climate change are being felt in even the most remote Himalayan environments. While climate change is mostly caused by the highly industrialised parts of the world, the effects are taking their toll i
|Contact: Javier Fernndez|