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International conference on climate change begins in Nepal

Press Trust of India  |  Kathmandu 

An international conference on climate change began here today with the participation of more than 200 scientists, policy makers, government officials and parliamentarians from countries including India.

The four-day conference on "Mountain People Adapting to Change" is being organised with the goal of exploring holistic solutions for adaptation to change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region.

"Mountain people are experiencing change in an unprecedented rate due to climate change and we are having its impacts on the glaciers, eco-system and on livelihood," Director General of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), David Molden said in his inaugural remarks.

"The mountains are clearly the global resources and the Hindu Kush Himalayas, also known as the Third Pole or the Water Towers of Asia holds about 6,000 cubic km of water, that is enough to irrigate the entire earth for two years," he said.

He also expressed hope that the outcome of the conference will contribute to the climate change agenda in the forthcoming SAARC Summit being organised in Kathmandu and the United Nations Convention of Climate Change in future.

"We consider this conference as an opportunity for further learning, sharing and broadening our knowledge on the problems and opportunities of climate change in the mountain region vis-a-vis developing common voice and platform as also developing simple and effective solutions to address the climate change challenges," Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Nepal, K C Poudyal said.

The climate change agenda has become more relevant to investors, private sector and development planners than to scientists and experts as private sector is losing money due to floods, draughts and landslides in the recent period, Vice Chair, National Planning Commission, G R Pokharel said.

Floods and landslides have caused huge damage over the past 4-5 years in Nepal, which are partly caused by climate change, he said.

The conference is being attended by experts, government officials, stakeholders and high dignitaries from India Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan among others.

Hindu Kush Himalayas provide ecosystem services, food security, biodiversity and genetic resources, and livelihoods to more than 210 million people.

The region is a source of water coming from ten of Asia's major river systems for more than 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins.

First Published: Sun, November 09 2014. 18:50 IST