Enhancing visibility and positioning of mountains in IPCC assessment processes
karakol 1753189 1920Jointly hosted by MRI and University of Zürich, the workshop ‘Enhancing visibility and positioning of mountains in the global IPCC related processes’ was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 21 – 22 October 2018 alongside the World Mountains Forum, to present and consolidate regional contributions from SMD4GC partners on climate change as inputs for the IPCC AR6 assessment processes.

Under the framework of the Sustainable Mountains Development for Global Change Programme (SMD4GC) ‘extension phase’ in 2018, the MRI and UZH coordinated and held a workshop activity just prior to the World Mountain Forum in Bishkek: ‘Enhancing visibility and positioning of mountains in the global IPCC related processes, and to strengthen capacities of regional partners.’ The main aim of the workshop was to jointly validate and review the draft products of regional hubs with the expected value-adding aspect of strengthening capacities to report on sustainable mountain development, and relating these conclusions as inputs for key global reports and publications.

Review products presented from four mountain regions
Philbert Nsengiyumva from ARCOS outlined the African contribution, in which each chapter was planned as a combination of literature review and case studies. He concluded that due to high exposure and low adaptive capacity to climate change, mountains are considered among the areas in Africa most vulnerable to its effects. The vulnerability of mountain ecosystems and mountain people is the result of a combination of different drivers, in addition to climate change. It is therefore recommended that African mountains receive particular attention to ensure implementation of climate change adaptation initiatives at all levels.

IPCC workshop Bishkek 2Philippus Wester from ICIMOD presented an overview of the extensive synthesis report brought together by HIMAP: Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Assessment – Mountains, Climate Change, Sustainability and People, which offers the first comprehensive assessment and overview in the HKH region. He stressed the importance of assessing the spatial variance in temperature increase and its associated and differentiated impacts, concluding that in the context of HKH the global average increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius in temperature is already too high, potentially resulting in significant losses in glacier mass and increased disaster risk in the HKH region.

Francisco Cuesta from CONDESAN and Christian Huggel from UZH jointly presented the regional report from the Andes titled ‘New biotic communities, landscapes and ecosystems from climate and glacier change in the high Tropical Andes: an integrated perspective.’ In this publication, it is concluded that the Tropical Andes is a region experiencing one of the highest warming rates of all mountain regions, based on literature reviews and results from new study designs that highlight the new dynamics which glacier retreat is causing in a high-alpine context for ecosystems and water-availability. Francisco concluded by stressing the great role glaciers play in Andean societies and the still poorly understood dynamics that their retreat will trigger, increasingly challenging the livelihoods of mountain people by altering the conditions for instance for agriculture and hydropower.

Marc Foggin from the University of Central Asia gave a short overview of the different publications and reports related to the hub activities in recent years. These include the internal Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) research report on ‘Climate Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity of Mountain Societies in Central Asia,’ focusing on the human dimensions of global change and reviewing what adaptation plans are in place at the policy level. An MSRI Brief ‘Climate Change in Central Asia: Major Vulnerabilities and Anticipated Social-Ecological Impacts in Mountain Regions’ will soon be published, pulling together the knowledge from different projects and publications and addressing the complexity of the systems informing local policymakers and stakeholders. Further, Nadine Salzmann from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, presented a summary output based on research in the Dushanbe Glacier titled ‘Climate- Cryosphere-Water Nexus – Central Asia Outlook,’ which captures in its high-impact visualizations the key messages related to changes in water cycles caused by glacier retreat. Nadine concluded that the impacts of changes in run-off will differ between high-and low-lands and across regions as well as over time, which calls for well-coordinated and contextualized adaptation actions.

‘Vanishing Glaciers’: A call from the world’s mountains to COP24
glacier IPCC info event smallThe second day of the workshop was dedicated to discussing and planning a joint synthesis product to disseminate the key messages of the findings of these regional products. An earlier suggestion for building these messages around a communications campaign during the UNFCC 24th Conference of Parties (COP24), was further developed. Eric Nanchen (Fondation pour le développement durable des régions de montagne, FDDM, Switzerland), as a key participant in the Swiss delegation presenting at COP24 in Katowice in December 2018, was nominated ambassador for the campaign and briefed the workshop participants on COP policies, protocols and engagement possibilities. Supporting the communication campaign, will be a social media outreach effort that presents ten key messages outlined in the summary synthesis product.

Stay tuned to the MRI and SMD4GC partners’ social media channels to learn more – and act with us by spreading the word starting on Monday 3 December!

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This workshop was carried out in the context of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's 'Promoting Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change' (SMD4GC) program and is grateful for support from the SDC. The extension phase of the programme ends 31 December 2018. More information about the programme can be found here.