Thursday, October 15, 2020

HKH countries sign historical declaration

 Ministers from across all eight of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) countries have signed a historically significant declaration agreeing to strengthen regional cooperation in the region to promote a united voice for the HKH at regional, global and UN platforms.

Through the declaration, which is signed today, the ministers agreed to enhance the uptake of scientific evidence for improving policies in the region focusing on mountain environments and livelihoods and to assess the feasibility of establishing a regional institutional mechanism, according to International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Adoption of the declaration is aimed at jointly identifying and developing a roadmap towards a more prosperous, healthy, peaceful, and resilient HKH region for the 240 million people living in mountains and hills, and the 1.9 billion people living in the mountains and river basins downstream, a press note issued by the ICIMOD reads, adding that food and nutritional insecurity remain a severe challenge in the HKH region; more than 30 per cent of the population suffers from food insecurity and around 50 per cent face some form of malnutrition, with women and children particularly vulnerable.

The summit was hosted virtually, with the foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali expressed his governments’ ongoing commitment to promoting a unified voice for the HKH region as the host country for ICIMOD, according to the Kathmandu-based centre.

“The global significance of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region is indisputable and it is clear that disruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic lay bare the vulnerabilities of mountain communities,” said outgoing director general of ICIMOD David Molden. “The Hindu Kush Himalaya is the pulse of the planet.”

Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, extending over 3,500-km in length in eight countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east and crossing Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, is one of the world’s greatest mountain systems: home to the world’s highest peaks, unique cultures, diverse flora and fauna, and a vast reserve of natural resources.

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