The world is getting hotter due to the emissions of greenhouse gases generated by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gases.
This has triggered unexpected natural events like the melting of snow, rise of sea level, heat waves, heavy downpours, floods and landslides. For instance, Nepal’s over 20 glacial lakes are at the risk of outburst due to climate change. The unusual pattern of climate has been attributed to the global warming that has threatened to the existence of creatures and species on the Earth. The reckless human activities have been blamed for this phenomenon.
The tendency to extract much from nature but paying little to its care is main factor behind climate change. The technological innovation and industrial revolution have made the life of people easier but this has also taken its toll on ecosystem of earth where human species evolved and thrived over many millennia. Scientists have offered evidences that climate change is real and called for drastic steps on the part of governments to minimise its negative impacts.
Climate change hits all segments of people but it disproportionately brings adversities to the poor, women and children living in fragile mountainous regions such as the Hindu Kush Himalayas. The people residing in the mountains lack access to physical infrastructure, livelihood opportunities and modern technology.
They largely rely on the natural resources for their survival. As a result, they are vulnerable to the natural disasters such as glacier burst, drought, floods and landslides. They bear the brunt of climate change despite the fact that they have little role in spoiling the globe’s climate.
The farmers in the mountain region are facing the shortage of water for irrigation in their field. Besides, they are deprived of financial support to protect their crops from diseases. Climate change has led to the shrinking of water resources critical for the livelihood of not only the people in the mountain but also in the plains.
With the migration of growing number of people to the cities, the mountains have now fewer able hands left to save eco-system and biodiversity which need to be protected for the future of humanity. In view of fragile ecosystem of mountains and vulnerabilities of their residents, the United Nations has marked 2022 as the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. The other day, the Ministry of Forest and Environment organised Mustang Advocacy Summit in Mustang district located in a trans-Himalayan region in the north, to mark the occasion. Addressing the event through virtual medium from Kathmandu, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that climate change is posing a serious threat to Nepal’s rich mountain ecology and sustained supply of critical natural resources required for the sustainable livelihood of the mountain people. PM Deuba also highlighted that the government had developed strategies and action plans to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Nepal occupies the central place among the several mountainous countries in the great Hindu Kush Himalayan range. The International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development offers Nepal an opportunity to sensitise its sustainable mountain development agenda among the international community.
Environment activists, political leadership, policy makers, media persons and government officials should work together to generate awareness about the necessity of the preserving Nepal’s rich biodiversity, bio-cultural heritage, and green and blue mountain resources, thereby restoring the ecosystem necessary for building resilience against climate change. Efforts should be made for regional and international cooperation to attain the goal of sustainable mountain development.