Nepal is a unique nation in the world in terms of ecological and cultural diversity. The country is home to hundreds of mountains, including the world’s tallest peak Sagarmatha. Our mountain region stretches over an area of 51,817 square kilometres. However, the density of population in this region is much lower as compared to the hilly and Terai regions. This is chiefly due to difficult terrain and lack of transportation and communication services. Mountains are such sources of ecosystem that support millions of people living in and around mountain landscapes. Mountains also nourish lives and provide livelihoods. Being the water towers providing fresh water to more than half of humanity, mountains are home to a lot of distinctive species of flora and fauna. But the mountain regions worldwide have now become quite vulnerable to climate change due to the increasing phenomenon of temperature rise. The rate of ice and snow being melt in these regions has been increasing alarmingly over the years.
Many glacial lakes in Nepal, too, are reported to be in danger of outburst because their water volumes are rising due to climate change. Ecologists from around the globe have already raised the alarm that the climate change effects on the mountain ecosystems could be very devastating in the days ahead. So, with mountain ecosystems requiring special measures to adapt to and lessen climate change effects, it is essential for the whole world to double down on its efforts to curtail the emissions of greenhouse gases. In view of this challenging situation, the UN General Assembly has designated 2022 the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. The global body has called upon all governments, international organisations, and stakeholders to dedicate this year to increase awareness on the significance of conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems. It has been realised that mountain regions, especially in developing nations, are reeling from increased level of poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion, ecological degradation and exposure to the risks of of disaster.
Those living in such regions are having difficulty in having access to basic services such as safe and affordable drinking water, basic sanitation and resilient modern energy services. As a mountainous country, Nepal has always accorded top priority to the agenda of sustainable mountain development and its environmental protection. But the country's attempts alone may not be adequate to deal with the emerging problems and challenges that have global dimension. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that the government is undertaking different programmes and activities, focussing on the challenges and prospects of mountain ecosystems. PM Deuba shared the view while inaugurating a two-day interaction titled 'Regional Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Mountain Solutions’, which was organised by the Ministry of Forest and Environment on Wednesday.
The policy dialogue is part of the various programmes being organised to mark the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. Prime Minister Deuba, however, hoped that the diverse activities being carried out throughout this year would contribute to creating massive public awareness about the importance of conservation and durable use of mountain resources. As carbon emissions are causing global warming, Nepal is committed to accomplishing net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. Since the climate crisis seems to be going beyond human control, it is necessary for all the nations to step up urgent measures to stop global temperature rise in order to secure the future of humanity.