Happy International Mountain Day!
Save the Himalayas
The program will be organized as an accompanying event of the fifteenth conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to celebrate the International Mountain Day on December 11, 2009. Mountaineering icons, marching in summit gears on the streets of Copenhagen, will be joined by many mountain lovers in issuing a declaration to save the Himalayas from the impacts of climate change.
After holding a historic cabinet meeting at a Mount Everest base camp last week, Nepal is all set to organize a march by Everest summiteers at Copenhagen on December 11.
The hour-long march comprising mountaineers who have scaled the world’s tallest peak will coincide with International Mountain Day and highlight the threat posed to Himalayas by climate change.
“The march to be held on the sidelines of the Copenhagen meet will have mountaineers marching in full mountaineering gear to attract global attention to the issue,” said Deepak Bohara, Nepal’s minister for forest and soil conservation.
On Monday, a 57-member Nepalese delegation led by Bohara left for Copenhagen. Several other ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala will leave soon to take part in the march.
The Nepalese team which comprises of 32 Mt Everest summiteers includes Apa Sherpa, who has climbed the peak a record 19 times, Min Bahadur Sherchan (77), the oldest climber and Nimduma Sherpa, the youngest woman summiteers.
Several Mt Everest summiteers from across the globe including Austrian Peter Habbler, who climbed the peak without oxygen cyclinder, Canadian Byron Smiths and the Mayor of Prague Pavel Bem are also expected to take part in the march.
The Summiteers’ Summit to Save the Himalayas Copenhagen, 11 December 2009
The majestic Himalayas, whose enthralling beauty have inspired awe and religious devotion in people around the world for millennia, continue to challenge the human spirit and contribute to the human experience. The Himalayas are the ‘water towers’ of Asia, feeding its largest rivers and nourishing hundreds of millions of people downstream. The Himalayas play an important role in global atmospheric circulation and are a sanctuary for unique biodiversity. The lofty peaks and mighty rivers have inspired civilizations and supported a mosaic of cultural diversity. The Himalayas, in essence, are a global treasure.
But the perils of climate change are threatening this treasure. Temperatures are rising rapidly at higher altitudes – several times higher than the global average. Glaciers are melting – changing landscapes and creating dangerous glacial lakes held back only by natural dams of rubble and ice. The ensuing changes threaten unique ecosystems and the lives of millions of people living in the mountains and downstream who eke out their livelihoods from diverse mountain resources. The menace of climate change on the Himalayas will manifest far and wide in the form of drought, flood and sea level rise. As the seas rise, there is no refuge from climate change even at the highest altitudes.
We, the undersigned, confirm the vital importance of the Himalayas and recognize the risks posed by climate change; we call upon the world community:
• To focus attention to the challenges of climate change in the Himalayas and downstream.
• To value their unique contribution to human adventure, global ecology, and regional river systems;
• To safeguard Himalayan ecosystems which provide essential services to millions of people living in the mountains and on the plains.
• To enable mountain peoples to meet the unfolding challenges of climate change.
• To save the Himalayas for the current generation and for generations to come.
The highest ever Cabinet meeting
After passing initial health check-up in Syangboche, twenty-four Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, have reached Kalapatthar plateau near Everest Base Camp at an altitude of 17,192 feet (5,242 meters) at 9:20 a.m on Friday morning to hold the historic Cabinet meeting set in the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas, including Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain.
The Cabinet meeting will be held for around 30 minutes to draw global attention to the threat of climate change in the Himalayas. It is set to declare Banke National Park as new national park and Api-Nampa and Gauri-Shankar as conservation areas.
A rescue team led by Usha Gurung along with six doctors and a team of mountaineers are accompanying the ministerial team for this historic event.
The government will make public the decision of the Cabinet at a press meet after arriving in Syangboche (3,780 m) later.
Speaking to media-persons before the ministerial team was air-lifted to Kalapathhar, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Dipak Bohora said that the Government of Nepal is holding the Cabinet meeting to draw the attention of the world to the threats of climate change in the Himalayas and the people living in the region.
The Cabinet is set to endorse the agenda prepared for the UN climate change summit to be held in Copenhagen.
State-owned Nepal Television is broadcasting the special event live from Kalapatthar.
Twenty four Cabinet ministers, including PM Nepal, had reached Lukla Airport in Solukhumbu district on Thursday to take part in the historic meeting. However, four ministers missed the meeting.
A large number of national and foreign journalists, health and technical teams had reached Syangboche on Thursday to cover the rare media event.
The high-altitude Cabinet meeting has attracted international attention, especially as it comes on the eve of the Copenhagen summit. nepalnews.com