The Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas was recently held in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, and was attended by the four Himalayan nations of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Pakistan, Afghanistan and China were missing from the meeting but the Summit attempted to downplay their absence by insisting that the aim of the conference was to secure ecosystems, food and water se- curity and endangered species only in the Eastern Himalayas.
The two-day Summit discussed the pressing threat of climate change in the region and explored cooperation on energy, water, food and biodiversity issues. It also called for the international community to limit its greenhouse gas-emissions.
Regional cooperation yielded the proposition of a monitoring and knowledge-sharing mechanism that will explore new “affordable and reliable” clean energy resources. Due to regional tensions, critical issues of climate change are rarely discussed as political differences take center stage. The meeting proved to be a breakthrough success as delegates discussed the future of glaciers outside the polar region, that account for nearly 40% of the world’s fresh water. Though water remained a point of contention, extensive discussion and debate focused on the issue. Consensus on food security and vulnerable community livelihood was also reached. Liisa Rohweder, CEO, WWF Finland hailed the effort as “These kinds of regional initiatives are really needed,” adding that the summit would be a good precursor to the U.N. climate talks later this year in Durban, South Africa.