Eight countries sign declaration to work together for the Hindu Kush Himalaya regionThe countries of the region, that traverses a length of 3,500 kilometres is home to 240 million people, will promote a united voice in international platforms, a study centre says.
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 was signed on Thursday, 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, or 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.
Food and nutritional insecurity remain a severe challenge in the HKH region; more than 30% of the population suffers from food insecurity and around 50 percent face some form of malnutrition, with women and children particularly vulnerable, said the Kathmandu-based centre.
The Summit was hosted virtually, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Nepal, Pradeep Gyawali expressing his governments’ ongoing commitment to promoting a unified voice for the HKH region as the host country for ICIMOD.
“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 David Molden, outgoing Director General of ICIMOD, “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.