KATHMANDU, July 11: The Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in New York and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on Tuesday organized a side event titled, 'Impacts of Climate Change on the Mountains' on the sidelines of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Ambassador and Permanent Representatives of Nepal to the UN, Amrit Bahadur Rai welcomed the participants to the event organized to share the key findings of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Report recently released by ICIMOD and also to draw lessons from the recommendations for inclusive mountain development, according to a press statement issued by the mission.
The ambassador further said the discussions will contribute to the ongoing exercise for the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit to be held in September 2019.
Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission Puspa Raj Kadel, who is in New York leading the Nepali delegation to 2019 High-Level Political Forum, delivered opening remark. Vice-Chairman Kandel underlined that the impact of climate change on vulnerable countries is extremely high and countries like Nepal are facing disproportionate brunt of climate change despite their insignificant emissions.
Kadel also shared that Nepal government has decided to convene a Sagarmatha Dialogue, a global platform to exchange views on areas including climate change.
The side event featured a presentation by Director General of ICIMOD David Molden on key findings and recommendations of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Report. He cautioned that even if global warming was limited to 1.5°C by 2100 AD, there would be a 1.8° C rise in temperature across the region and up to 2.2° C in the mountains due to the Elevation Dependent Warming (EDW).
Molden cautioned that if it is unchecked, this will adversely impact the lives of not just the 240 million mountain dwellers but also 1.6 billion people downstream. Melting of ice and loss of glaciers on the mountains will impact agriculture productivity, hunger and poverty, migration, rich ecosystems and biodiversity, he said.
Molden highlighted six urgent actions, namely cooperating at all levels, limiting global temperatures, enhancing ecosystem resilience, recognizing and prioritizing uniqueness of mountain issues, achieving SDGs and sharing information and knowledge to mitigate the challenges posed by climate change.
Following the presentation, a moderated interactive discussion took place for further deliberation on the serious message and implications of the report, as well as way forward to address the issue. Ambassadors/representatives of Austria, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, among others, also shared their views. The discussion was moderated by Gyan Chandra Acharya, former permanent representative of Nepal to UN and former UN under-secretary-general.
Secretary-General's special envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit Luis Alfonso de Alba, in his closing remarks expressed hope that the event would be able to raise awareness in the region as well as at the global level and contribute toward the drive of climate action, including through a greater focus on 'nature based solutions' as well as through coming together for achieving 'carbon neutrality' by 2030.