Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas - Bhutan 2011

The consequences of climate change in the Himalayas can no longer be ignored. Melting glaciers, erratic weather conditions, changing rainfall patterns, and increasing temperatures, are impacting on the people and wildlife of the region. The time for action is running out.
Recognising this, the Royal Government of Bhutan convened the Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas - Bhutan 2011. The event brought together environment ministers from the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, as well as representatives of civil societies and academia.

Those attending agreed upon a regional 'Framework of Cooperation' aimed at building regional resilience to the negative impacts of climate change in the Himalayas.

Themes of the summit

  1. Ensuring food security and securing livelihoods.
  2. Securing the natural freshwater systems of the Himalayas.
  3. Securing biodiversity and ensuring its sustainable use.
  4. Ensuring energy security and enhancing alternative technologies.

Outcomes of the summit

Representatives from the 4 nations signed a declaration to adopt a 'Framework of Cooperation' that included the following objectives:

Food security
  • Improve and sustain food production;
  • Help vulnerable communities gain better access to nutrious food;
  • Establish regional knowledge sharing and capacity building.
Freshwater systems
  • Enhance practices that will minimize climate change induced disasters;
  • Promote water efficiency and water efficient techniques - including modern and traditional methods;
  • Increase knowledge sharing of climate change adaptation;
  • Improve the regions understanding of the impacts of climate change on water resources.
Biodiversity
  • Create an interconnected mosaic of conservation spaces across the Eastern Himalayas;
  • Ensure the sustainable use of biodiversity for poverty alleviation and income generation;
  • Establish a regional mechanism for knowledge generation and sharing.
Energy security
  • Enhance access to affordable and reliable 'clean energy services for all';
  • Promote diversification of energy supply and the use of cleaner energy resources;
  • Improved regional connectivity for electricity and natural gas;
  • Enhance energy efficiency;
  • Mainstream climate resilience in energy systems.
 / ©: WWF / Chris CHAPLIN
Bhutan's Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y. Thinley speaking at the Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas - Bhutan 2011.
© WWF / Chris CHAPLIN

WWF & the Summit

Before the Summit

WWF supported the Royal Government of Bhutan in its efforts to bring together the 4 Himalayan nations for the summit, and provided technical support and advice during the development of the 'Framework of Cooperation'.

After the Summit

WWF welcomes the results of the summit, and will continue to work with the governments and local communities of the Eastern Himalayas to achieve the objectives set out in the 'Framework of Cooperation', and maintain a 'Sacred Himalayas for Water, Life and Culture'.

 / ©: WWF Living Himalayas
Download the WWF Climate Summit factsheet
© WWF Living Himalayas

WWF's vision for the Himalayas: A harmonious mosaic of healthy, vibrant landscapes, providing plentiful resources for people, while giving wildlife space, and securing the ecological and cultural treasures of the Himalayas.

  •  / ©: WWF

WWF's Goals for the region

    • Climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation will be mainstreamed into the management of river systems.
    • A mosaic of over 7 million hectares of high conservation value forest, grassland and wetland will be secured, connecting 1,500 km of conservation area.
    • Viable populations of iconic and threatened species will be secured and will live in harmony with human communities.

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