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Climate Vulnerabilities and Adaptation: Himalayas, urban & rural plains in India and Nepal.

The impacts of climate change for vulnerable communities across the Himalayan-Ganga basin imply fundamental impacts on livelihoods.

Context

The Himalayan range is the highest mountain ran­ge in the world. It is also known as “the water tank of Asia,” directly sustaining water consumption ofpeople who live in the mountainous and downstream communities in the plains by providing water for irrigation, agricultural activities, hydropower genera­tion and domestic purposes.

Over the last 30 years, winter precipitation (snowfall) in Jumla, Nepal and Ladakh, India has decreased by 50%; small glaciers and permanent snow fields are melting, affecting water runoff and posing a threat to downstream communities. Some villages in this region have already been forced to relocate because the glaciers that once supported the village have completely disappeared.

In the Tarai and lower Ganga river basin, increased climate variability will complicate an already difficult flood management equation that contributes to ende­mic poverty for the very large rural and urban popula­tions in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Climatic variability appears to be resulting in both increased flooding and more intense droughts.

Adaptation

These communities are the most seriously affected; on one hand they are in one of the most vulnera­ble ecosystems in the world, and on the other hand they often lack the possibility to adapt to the changing conditions. Above all, their concern has not resonated at the international climate change discussions.

However some experiments in adaptive strategies combining traditional, local knowledge and modern science, such as artificial glaciers, changing crop patterns and innovative pest control, have proven successful.

Side event

The session will bring together the results of collaborative research and pilot activities on climate impacts and adaptation from the high altitude cold deserts to the urban & rural Ganga river basin.

Speakers will present the context, the stakes and successful pilot activities.

Speakers:

1       Introduction presentation – ICIMOD

2       Presentation from Ladakh – LNP/GERES

3       Presentation from Jumla, Nepal – Practical Action

4       Presentation from Nepal middle hills – ISET

5       Presentation from Ganga river basin – GEAG

6       Closing synthesis – ISET

Date and place: Bella Center, Victor Borg room

Dec 11, at 2.45pm