Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Alarm Bells for Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Region

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hindu Kush Himalayas

Mains level : Read the attached story

Hindu Kush Himalaya

Introduction

  • The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) called for ‘bold action’ and ‘urgent finance’ to prevent collapse of Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).

About Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)

Description
Geographic Location South Asia, spanning Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Area Approximately 3,500,000 square kilometers
“Water Tower of Asia” At least 12 rivers fan out in every direction across the Asian continent from it, including:

– Syr Darya and Amu Darya towards the now-dead Aral Sea

– Tarim toward the Taklamakan

– Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra towards the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal

– Yellow river towards the Gulf of Bohai

– Yangtze towards the East China Sea

– Mekong towards the South China Sea

– Chindwin, Salween, and Irrawaddy towards the Andaman Sea

Glaciers Home to thousands of glaciers, including Mount Everest and K2.

A Region on the Brink

  • Biodiversity Hotspot: The HKH region, characterized by its remarkable biodiversity, is described as a ‘biosphere on the brink’ by experts.
  • Scope of Crisis: The speed and scale of habitat and nature loss in the HKH region are deemed ‘catastrophic,’ and urgent action is required.

Alarming Statistics

  • Biodiversity Richness: The HKH region boasts four of the world’s 36 global biodiversity hotspots, 575 Protected Areas, and 335 important bird areas.
  • Biodiversity Loss: Despite conservation efforts, the region has witnessed the loss of 70% of its original biodiversity over the last century.
  • Human Dependence: 85% of mountain communities in the HKH region rely on this biodiversity for food, water, flood control, and cultural identity.
  • Population Pressure: With 241 million people residing in the HKH region, 31% face food insecurity, and half experience various forms of malnutrition.

Human Impact

  • Threat to Humanity: The declining nature in the HKH region now endangers not only animal and plant life but also human societies.
  • Water Tower of Asia: This region, known as the ‘Water Tower of Asia,’ supplies essential ecosystem services, including clean water for one-third of the global population.

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