Water


Each day, one of every two people on the planet quenches his thirst with water that originates in mountains.
And as the world population swells to an estimated 9.6 billion by 2050, the worldwide demand for freshwater will continue to soar.

More than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life. The ten largest rivers originating in the Hindu Kush Himalayas alone supply water to over 1.35 billion people. Some of the world’s largest cities, including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Tokyo and Melbourne, are dependent on freshwater from mountains.

Climate change is already causing more than 600 glaciers to disappear, resulting in springs and rivers drying up. Greater frequency of extreme weather events, droughts and floods, including flash floods and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), are also expected to increase in mountains, causing imbalance between current water supply and demand.

Given the importance of mountain water resources worldwide, the careful management of mountain water resources is a global priority.  Water management practices need to be adapted to different climatic zones, using locally adapted soil and water management techniques. Most importantly, watershed management must take into account the needs of all those who depend on mountain water, including those who have the greatest stake in preserving healthy mountain ecosystems – people who live in mountain areas themselves, who are often marginalized from the decision-making processes. 

Zero Water Day: Seizing the opportunity from a public health perspective

Zero Water Day: Seizing the opportunity from a public health perspective

publication

Water is a finite natural resource. Zero Water Day(s) scenarios are challenging people and communities in Europe and worldwide. The public health community must seize the opportunity to prepare for Zero Water Day(s) through strengthening capacity and capability to respond to rapidly emerging emergencies as well as protected crises. Collaboration...

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Ecosystem restoration in the mountains - policy brief

Ecosystem restoration in the mountains - policy brief

publication

Mountains play a crucial role for both the highlands and lowlands, but are particularly vulnerable to climate change and human interventions. This policy brief focuses on ecosystem restoration in the mountains. It highlights the role of healthy mountain ecosystems and their services and provides a set of recommendations to help...

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Mountain resolution approved at the United Nations

Mountain resolution approved at the United Nations

news

The Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly approved the new resolution on sustainable mountain development on 22 November 2022 during its seventy-seventh session. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 110 States, discusses the social, environmental and economic statuses of mountain peoples and ecosystems and...

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United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2022)

United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2022)

publication

Resolution approved by the United Nations General Assembly on sustainable mountain development at seventy-seventh session. A/RES/77/172

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Working with mountain communities could help water systems adapt to climate

Working with mountain communities could help water systems adapt to climate

news

In a new paper, Imperial College London researchers outline how integrated water strategies that include scientists working directly with mountain communities on the ground could help them drive their own climate adaptation and boost water security.

Mountains are the water towers of the world, but this water source is under...

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Season 2 of “Voices from the Roof of the World” out now

Season 2 of “Voices from the Roof of the World” out now

news

Alarms are ringing throughout the world: the most ruinous floods in Pakistan's history, the worst drought in a generation in East Africa, Everest base camp turned from a frigid outpost to a lakeside camp. These are all signs that climate change is accelerating. Ian Fry, the UN Special Rapporteur on...

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