Background 

In 2015, global leaders from 194 United Nations member states agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—a set of milestones and a roadmap for eradicating poverty and hunger and tackling climate change by 2030. A central message emerging from this agenda is the need for resilience building. Achieving the SDG targets is particularly relevant in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), which is home to several Least Developed Countries with shared natural resource systems. The HKH provides water, livelihoods, and ecosystem services to more than 210 million people and provides water to more than 1.3 billion people—a fifth of the world’s population—living in downstream river basins. Mountain characteristics like inaccessibility, fragility, and marginality require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting. Accordingly, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has developed a set of nine SDG-consistent mountain priorities to serve as guides for achieving the SDG targets within the HKH context. 

Climate change and other drivers of change in the HKH have already begun to impact ecosystems and communities and often manifest in communities through increasing vulnerability and exposure to natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and landslides. ICIMOD and its partners have been working on developing solutions for resilience building, promoting regional cooperation, and reducing data gaps for sustainable mountain development. For example, to help realize these resilience-building goals, the European Union supports the ICIMOD-led Himalica initiative in the HKH and other actions under the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) flagship initiative, at the national, regional and the global level.   

To facilitate the response towards resilience challenges in the HKH, ICIMOD, in cooperation with the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Population and Environment, and with support from the European Union, is organizing an international conference entitled, “Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future for Asia”. Using the SDG-consistent mountain priorities as a framework, the conference aims to identify, discuss, and recommend the building blocks of resilience solutions suitable for mountain contexts. The conference will approach resilience building for transformative change in the HKH from a holistic perspective, viewed in the context of multiple change processes in mountain areas. By drawing on experts’ experiences of developing and implementing sustainable and resilience building solutions, practical policies, and the latest knowledge on resilience, the conference aims to deepen the commitment among concerned stakeholders and decision makers to find and implement resilience building solutions in the HKH and downstream.