The Himalayan Third Pole Circle is advised to play a more proactive role to mitigate climate change

Meeting: There is a need for the Himalayan Third Pole Circle to do something different and larger than what has already been done by various national and international organisations to mitigate climate change.

On the second day of the meeting in Thimphu, yesterday, experts from 13 countries discussed how the Himalayan Third Pole Circle as a body could facilitate combating climate change in the Himalayan region.

Discussions were also made on what the circle could learn from the Arctic Circle.

The Arctic Circle is a non-profit and nonpartisan body of think tanks, corporations and public associations from around the world.  It is designed to increase participation in Arctic dialogue, and strengthen international focus on the future of the Arctic.

Speaking at the forum, National Environment Commission secretary, (Dr) Ugyen Tshewang, said that the Third Pole Circle should look for a sustained dialogue that the Arctic Circle has been doing for over two decades.

He said, Bhutan, thinking in the global perspective, has contributed to the climate change fight, by declaring it to remain carbon neutral, and reserve 60 percent forest cover for all times to come.

“These contributions are nothing (nil), but we showed some example,” he said. “Climate change is a serious challenge for Bhutan and we need international support in this area.”

The forum also discussed involving policy makers and public in combating climate change.  There is need for people and countries to take ownership of the environment and eco-system.

The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who initiated the Third Pole Circle meeting, said the role of the circle was to bring together all regions on board.

Meanwhile, the director general of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Dr David Molden, said that there was a misconception among the public about glaciers and ice, and its impact on water bodies.  He said, in the next Third Pole Circle meeting, this could be discussed further.

Some of the key roles identified for Himalayan Third Pole Circle are to ensure the best available scientific data, promote three-dimensional information sharing across borders and sectors, build regional trust, and engage policymakers as allies rather than simply audience.

It also identified the need to help policymakers understand the economic and social risks of climate change and water stress, promote policies that build societal resilience under uncertainty, encourage concrete demonstration projects, increase application of available local knowledge.

By Nirmala Pokhrel