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| Last Updated:26/10/2018

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Climate change in the Himalayas a reality: Experts

 SHIMLA: Experts have concluded that the impact of climate change in the Himalayas is being felt on the lives of people and wildlife in the region.

The observation was made in the final report of the international conference on development, biodiversity and climate change organized by the department of sociology, Government Post Graduate College, Chamba and Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, in collaboration with the Asia Climate Education Centre, Jeju, South Korea, International Union for Conservation and Nature, WG-05 International Sociological Association, NDMA, Government of India and Sewa Himalayas. Experts recommend scientific monitoring of the Himalayan region with focus on local community based practices on a regular basis. They also urged government departments and agencies to take remedial measures.

The report said Himalayan glaciers are the water towers of Asia and the source of many of the world's great rivers, The Yangtze, the Ganges, the Indus and the Mekong. More than a billion people depend directly on the Himalayas for their survival, with more than 500 million people in South Asia and another 450 million in China completely reliant on the health of this fragile mountain landscape.

"Climate change in the Himalayas poses a serious threat to the source of these great rivers with dire and far-reaching impact on biodiversity, food, water and energy security. Vulnerable nations must, therefore, move rapidly to build resilience to these impacts and adapt to the changing climate," it said.

On the basis of the presentations made by scholars, the report has recommended that both SAARC as well as ASEAN countries must come together on a joint Asian platform to combat the challenge of climate change.

The report said Geographic Information Systems are critical for monitoring changes in weather patterns as well as assessing the impact of development policies and programs. As such, it is recommended that GIS mapping of all regions and districts be undertaken in a scientific manner to delineate benchmarks at various spatial levels and climate changes be recorded regularly. Such a Geographic Information System will enable the development of an effective response system to climate change, it said.