Mountains matter for the global hydrological cycle


Mountain Partnership member, Active Remedy Ltd., partners with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)/Nairobi Work Programme, contributed to a report presenting the potential for mitigating climate change through safeguarding and protecting the ecosystems critical to the global hydrological cycle.

In November 2017 at COP 23, the United Nations Climate Change launched the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue Platform. Designed around the traditional Talanoa approach used in Asia and the Pacific to engage in an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue, the platform encouraged contributions and conversation. Active Remedy Ltd. submitted a report highlighting the importance of mountains for the global hydrological cycle.

The report examines the following:

Where are we?

At present due to multiple reasons, we are facing a climate and biodiversity emergency and greenhouse gas is on the rise rather than lessening. Although the burning of fossil fuels is a major factor in this, an even greater one is water vapour. Also despite high-level research and government agreements regarding water security issues, shortages and water related disasters, few water and climate initiatives highlight the necessity of restoring and re-establishing strong linkages between essential water related ecosystems. Mountain ecosystems are essential because they are key to regulating water quantity and quality. Melting glaciers and desertification are accelerating at an alarming rate, this further exacerbates water, and climate related disasters and significantly threatens our ability to achieve the Paris agreements. Therefore, to potentially reach the 1.5 degrees and lower goals needed to reduce human induced climate change it is crucial to include the critical part that the global hydrological cycle plays in climate.

Where do we want to go?

Restoring and conserving the key ecosystems, which maintain the global water cycle would be a comprehensive approach towards addressing the negative impacts of climate change along with issues related to health, poverty, disaster mitigation and conflict. When these ecosystems are functioning they provide a wealth of ecosystem services, which manmade technology cannot compete with.

Therefore in order to achieve the Paris Agreement Objectives, integrated actions towards rebalancing, safeguarding and conserving the global hydrological cycle and the essential ecosystems that maintain it, need to become a priority focus.

How can we get there?

Mainstream safeguarding the hydrological cycle and water related ecosystems is the most cost efficient, long-term sustainable, integrated strategy for facing the negative impact of climate change and achieving long-term environmental sustainability. This can be achieved by addressing the root causes of climate and water related dilemmas instead of continuing with the trend of focusing upon the symptoms.

As a key strategy for reducing the negative impacts of climate change and disastrous fresh water shortages, it would be timely to implement Target 6.6 and 15.1 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which world governments agreed upon in 2015:

Target 6.6: “By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.”

Target 15.1: “By 2020 ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.”

The parties brought these contributions and conversations together during the May 2018 session in Bonn and are in the process of synthesizing them into a final report that will be prepared by the end of 2018.

The report submitted by Active Remedy Ltd. can be found on the UNFCCC Knowledge Data Portal. It offers a flexible ground plan and can be used throughout mountain regions worldwide.

Active Remedy Ltd’s full submission

News by Active Remedy Ltd.

 Photo: ©UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
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