Why the Hindu Kush Himalaya matters


Policy brief presented at Rio+20


As the ‘water tower of Asia’, the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) mountains are the source of 10 major river systems and provide vital ecosystem goods and services to more than 1.4 billion people. The region includes four global biodiversity hotspots, 488 protected areas, 330 important bird areas, and 60 global eco-regions. Rangelands cover more than 60 per cent of the region’s territory. However the region is home to more than 40 per cent of the world’s poor people and faces extreme vulnerability and risks due to climate and global change. Progressive warming at higher altitudes has been three to five times the global average; this warming has resulted in increased snow and glacial melt and increased frequency of extreme events such as devastating floods and droughts which have exacerbated problems of poverty and food insecurity.


Photo (c) Matt Saunders / Flickr

Author ICIMOD: Madhav Karki and Binod Bhattarai
Publication year 2012
Language English

Themes: BiodiversityClimate changeForestsIndigenous PeopleWater

Home > mountain-partnership > Publications