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Protect the pulse.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya is the pulse of the planet. Being at the top of the world, changes happen here before they happen anywhere else and the beat of this place vibrates across the globe. We are ICIMOD. Together with our partners, we protect the pulse. 

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The fragility of our mountains

February has been an eventful month. It started with a tragedy in Uttarakhand, India, which once again reminded us all of the fragility and volatility of our HKH environment. The flooding event that led to the loss of many lives and the destruction it left behind is a costly reminder that we need to pause and re-think development in our region.

While the exact causes and sequence of events that led to the Uttarakhand disaster were unclear in the beginning, we have a much better understanding now. What we saw in the various videos circulating in media and social media was the result of a potent mix of complex geological and weather processes and the impact of climate change. Our colleagues have analysed all available data to present a complete picture of what happened on that fateful day.


SSA - Media Associate (Special Service Agreement) (Open for Nepali nationals only)

Application deadline: 15 Mar 2021

Division: Knowledge Management and Communication (KMC)


Understanding the Chamoli flood: Cause, process, impacts, and context of rapid infrastructure development

Disaster struck Uttarakhand’s Chamoli District on 7 February 2021, when a massive flash flood ravaged through...

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Call for abstracts

Deadline: 19 March 2020

KSLCDI invites abstract submissions for the Kailash Consortium of Academics and Researchers for Experience-sharing (Kailash CAFE) 2021...

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Featured news/articles


Deepening regional cooperation for climate action: HKH High-Level Task Force convenes

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COP26 President meets with ICIMOD: #HKH2Glasgow

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ICIMOD’s Adaptation Fund accreditation paves the way for strengthened regional cooperation on climate change adaptation in the HKH

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Studying glaciers during the pandemic

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Devastating floods in Uttarakhand

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Government officials train in the use of analytical tools and approaches for watershed management in Nepal

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Featured videos

KDKH Annual dialogue(Day 1) - Session 2B: Community Based Disaster Risk Management

KDKH Annual dialogue (Day 2) -Session 4B: Drought

KDKH Annual dialogue (Day 2) Session 4A:  Landslides and Sedimentation

KDKH Annual dialogue (Day 4)- Session 8: Closing

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Featured dataset

Land Cover of Pakistan 2010

Land cover data of Hindu Kush Himalayan region of Pakistan for 2010. This dataset is created using the LandSat 30 meter spatial resolution satellite image of 2010.

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Proceedings of the first Hindu Kush Himalaya Science-Policy Forum: Actions to sustain a global asset

The first Hindu Kush Himalaya Science-Policy Forum was held from 13–14 November at the ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal. With the theme ‘Actions to sustain a global asset’, the event – organized by the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Government of Nepal, and ICIMOD – brought together more than 125 participants from the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region and beyond.

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Proceedings of the regional editors’ meet and launch of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment: Mountains, Climate Change, Sustainability, and People

The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment: Mountains, Climate Change, Sustainability and People is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive assessment report of the HKH region. It took more than five years in its making and involved over 350 scientists and researchers from 22 countries and 185 organizations within the region and beyond.

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COVID-19 impact and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in the HKH and compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities already impacted by climate change. However, it also presents an opportunity for concrete actions toward the transformation necessary for a more resilient and inclusive HKH. In this comprehensive policy paper, we assess the impacts of the pandemic, the risks and vulnerabilities, and provide policy responses and actions required for countries and more robust regional and international cooperation for the mountains.

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The HKH Call to Action to sustain mountain environments and improve livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

This HKH Call to Action is based on the HKH Assessment, which was drafted in response to requests from governments in the region, meeting a demand for a comprehensive assessment of the region’s mountains, environments, and livelihoods and proposes actions towards a shared vision for the future of the HKH region, in which its societies and its people are prosperous, healthy, peaceful, and resilient in a healthy environment. 

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Summary report of Strengthening Water Resources Management in Afghanistan (SWaRMA): Lessons learnt and way forward

The Strengthening Water Resources Management in Afghanistan (SWaRMA) project (2018–2020) was implemented by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO), supported by the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (NWARA) of the Government of Afghanistan and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Government of Australia.

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Journal articles

Maharjan, A; Tuladhar, S; Hussain, A; Mishra, A; Bhadwal, S; Ishaq, S; Saeed, BA; Sachdeva, I; Ahmad, B; Ferdous, J; Hassan, SMT (2021). 'Can Labour Migration Help Households Adapt to Climate Change? Evidence from Four River Basins in South Asia.' In Climate and Development: 1-16 DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1867044.

The dependence of communities in the Hindu Kush Himalaya on natural resources-based livelihoods makes the region particularly vulnerable to adverse climate change impacts. We analysed the determinants of household adaptation in four river basins (Gandaki, Indus, Upper Ganga, and Teesta), including migration, in three sectors: agriculture, livestock, and water. We found that household adaptation to the negative effects of climate change is very poor in the region. Migration influences household adaptation indirectly through livelihood diversification, access to services provided by external stakeholders, and changes in household composition. We identified location, access to climate information, and services provided by external stakeholders as important factors in household adaptation to climate change.

Nie, Y; Pritchard, HD; Liu, Q; Hennig, T; Wang, W; Wang, X; Liu, S; Nepal, S; Samyn, D; Hewitt, K; Chen, X (2021). 'Glacial Change and Hydrological Implications in the Himalaya and Karakoram.' In Nature Reviews Earth & Environment DOI: 10.1038/s43017-020-00124-w.

Shrestha, MS; Gurung, MB; Khadgi, VR; Wagle, N; Banarjee, S; Sherchan, U; Parajuli, B; Mishra, A (2021). 'The Last Mile: Flood Risk Communication for Better Preparedness in Nepal.' In International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 56: 102118 DOI:

Over the last decade, several flood early warning systems have been established in Nepal, but there are still challenges in communicating flood warning to the most vulnerable. The unavailability of real-time monitoring in smaller streams and tributaries has created challenges for communicating early warning. We use the Alexander framework to identify gaps in flood early warning communication in relation to their technical, institutional, and socio-cultural components. We conducted qualitative research methods in the form of key informant interviews and on-site focus group discussions to collect data, taking Ratu watershed as a case study. We conclude that, first, integration of socio-cultural aspects that can make early warning information accessible to the most vulnerable has to be strengthened. Second, warning messages need to be co-designed with communities and tailored to meet their diverse needs. Finally, for flood risk communication to reach the most vulnerable, we must consider distinct social, economic, and political experiences in both content and delivery of the information.

Vaidya, RA; Molden, DJ; Shrestha, AB; Wagle, N; Tortajada, C (2021). 'The Role of Hydropower in South Asia’s Energy Future.' In International Journal of Water Resources Development: 1-25 DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2021.1875809.

With rising energy demand in Asia, the high potential for hydropower development and the need for low-carbon energy development, hydropower would seem to have a significant role in South Asia’s energy future. However, the extent of hydropower development will depend on several risk factors, including the cost of alternative energy sources, the environmental sustainability of hydropower and social issues of equitable development. Using a risk-analysis framework, we concluded that the future of hydropower will depend on how well policies and institutions manage the risks, facilitate efficient financial markets, and promote fair and friendly cross-border electricity trade.

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