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in the Hindu Kush Himalaya
Video credit: Dinesh Deokota
"We can't live at other places. This is our home. We were born here. We will die here." 
~ Chynaga Tamang

Key Findings

  • While almost 2 billion lives and livelihoods are at risk because of the rapid cryospheric change happening in the HKH region, already vulnerable mountain communities with deep connections to their environments are being hit even harder.
  • These communities are already faced with crop loss and failure, fodder shortage, livestock deaths, with disasters causing loss and damage of lives, property, heritage and infrastructure and driven migration and psychological impacts. Hazards are becoming more complex and devastating.
  • Cryospheric change will likely alter the very fabric of mountain societies – from deadlier cascading hazards and widespread displacement to deep ripples on traditional livelihoods, adaptation knowledge, and spiritual beliefs.
  • With impacts poorly understood, adaptation efforts are piecemeal and wholly insufficient to meet the challenges posed by a rapidly changing cryosphere that are likely to hit already vulnerable communities hard. Adaptation needs to be urgently scaled up.
  • Water stress in transboundary river basins have potential to spark conflicts, unless there are regional cooperation mechanism in place.
Figure: Adverse impacts of cryospheric change on livelihoods in the HKH

Urgent appeal

  • It is urgent to address adaptation needs in the HKH, especially in the context of warming beyond 1.5C, and to plan anticipatory responses to potentially irreversible changes in the cryosphere of the HKH.
  • Policies need to ensure the protection of mountain societies’ which are threatened by cryospheric change.
  • Strengthened regional and global cooperation and collaboration is urgently needed to understand transboundary implications of cryosphere change.

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