Climate change is already deeply changing the way of life of mountain communities, be they in the Alps or the Himalayas. Do we understand what is happening and what can we do?
Over 170 million people eke out a modest living at over 3,000 metres in vast and isolated tracts of the Himalayas. A further two billion rely downstream on the water that for millennia has flowed down from the roof of the world into the Indian Ocean.
Yet agricultural productivity has been declining, Himalayan communities are getting poorer, young people are migrating, and Himalayan women, despite being a significant force for development, are being left behind.
Amid geopolitical struggles and environmental change, we are only just starting to grasp the dilemmas facing high-altitude farming in a vast mountain range that stretches from the Himalayas to the Hindu Kush. Can technological progress and evolving agricultural techniques help save the day? What is the connection between global policies and their local impact? Does development aid for mountain communities need to be re-thought? How concerned should Switzerland be by what is happening, and can we make a meaningful contribution?
As part of an annual Himalayan Festival to be held in Lausanne 7-21 November, a bilingual (English/French) Symposium is being organized by Norlha, an NGO seeking to helping people in the Himalayas. Bringing together stakeholders and experts from multiple fields and places, the gathering will examine key challenges as well as provide direction and action for what needs to be done.
The Symposium on high-altitude agricultural communities in the Himalayas will take place in Pole Sud, Place de l’Europe, Lausanne on 19 November 2014.
For further information: www.norlha.org or firstname.lastname@example.org