ISLAMABAD: An international conference on climate change affecting the Hindukush Himalayan (HKH) region will begin on Thursday, said a press release by the organisers.
Experts, researchers, policymakers and journalists will discuss climate change-related issues affecting the region, which is home to a variety of ecosystems that provide goods and services to the people residing in its landscapes, watersheds and within and around adjacent river basins.
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Organised by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), the Ministry of Climate Change, WWF Pakistan, and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the three-day conference aims to boost engagement in climate change adaptation dialogue and policy processes in the Upper Indus basin of Pakistan.
“It will serve as a platform for sharing information and knowledge about climate change adaptation in the basin, and aims to foster dialogue and increase opportunities for networking and engagement,” said Nira Gurung, senior communications officer, knowledge management and communications at ICIMOD.
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The primary objective, he adds, is to share research findings, knowledge on local practices and recommend measures and actions for long-term planning and policies to support adaptation to change, particularly in the Upper Indus basin.
The conference will explore ways to institutionalise a platform for sharing knowledge on climate change-related policy, research, and practice in Pakistan in general, and the Upper Indus basin in particular.
It will also create opportunities for networking and engagement with policymakers to support informed decision-making, share information and knowledge about climate change adaptation in the Upper Indus region, identify mechanisms and approaches for including climate science in adaptation action.
According to experts, environmental changes in recent decades have increasingly altered ecosystem functions and the delivery of goods and services. These changes directly impact the livelihoods of millions of people residing in the region. At the same time, they threaten the resilience of both natural and human capacities, with high economic and social costs.
The Upper Indus basin is one of the most significant river basins in the world in terms of human dependence, supporting more than 215 million people.
A number of studies reveal that climate change and other drivers of change in the Upper Indus basin not only directly impact the region, but also greatly affect downstream areas.
Despite ongoing efforts to understand the impacts of various drivers of change in the basin, there are still significant data gaps about this area, and not enough information is available to properly understand the possible impacts and appropriate adaptation measures specific to this region.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2015.