Mountains, glaciers and hydropower in a changing climate

Mountains worldwide are the water tower that provides food, energy and ecosystem services to billions of people living downstream. For instance, the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) provides these services to 1.3 billion people. However, climate change coupled with socio-economic changes have put unprecedented pressure on these water resources. This seminar will highlight the role of mountains in providing water, food and energy for sustainable growth using examples from the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes.

First, we will look at recent scientific evidence on climate change and its impacts on glaciers and rivers. Historical records shows that a majority of the glaciers worldwide have been retreating, except for the Karakoram region where some glaciers are reported to be advancing. Recent studies have shown high variability in glacier mass loss depending on location. Findings will be presented from the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes.  

The second objective of the seminar is to look at the climate change impacts on the hydropower sector. HKH has a hydropower potential of around 500 GW. We will look into prospects and challenges of sustainable hydropower development from the perspective of mountain communities using concrete examples of successful benefit sharing mechanisms.

Part 1: Power point presentations
Session Chair: David Molden, ICIMOD

 

11:00 Introduction to the session and setting the context 
David Molden, ICIMOD

 

11:10 Glaciers and climate change in the Himalayas and the Alps
Walter Immerzeel/Arthur Lutz, Future Water

 

11:20 Climate change, and its impacts of hydropower projects in the Himalayas and the Andes
Martin Honsberg, Statkraft, Norway

 

11:30 Sharing benefits from hydropower projects at community level– Examples from Nepal
Aditi Mukherji, ICIMOD

 

11:40 Q&A

 

Part 2:  Panel discussions
Session Chair and Moderator: Mats Eriksson, SIWI
Panel discussions: What does climate change and melting of glaciers mean for water resources of the mountains and downstream? Each panelists will have roughly five to seven minutes to make their point. Audience questions will be embedded during this session.
Panelists:

  • Dipak Gyawali, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation
  • Uta Gjertsen, Statkraft, Norway

 

12:20 Closing remarks and way forward
Eklabya Sharma, ICIMOD

 

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Mountains and glaciers, Photo Credit: Mr. Jitendra Bajracharya
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