Urgent Call to Protect Biodiversity in High Mountain Asia

Urgent Call to Protect Biodiversity in High Mountain Asia

Experts from The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) have emphasized the need for immediate action and financial support to prevent the collapse of nature in High Mountain Asia. This call to action was made on February 5, 2024, during a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Biodiversity Crisis in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH):

The HKH region, known for its exceptional biodiversity, is facing severe threats. According to ICIMOD, it is on the verge of collapse, as highlighted during the Third Lead Authors meeting of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) nexus assessment.

Meeting Objectives:

Hosted by ICIMOD in Kathmandu, the meeting aims to explore the interconnections between food and water security, health, biodiversity, and climate change in the HKH region.

Escalating Losses and Threats:

The speed and scale of nature and habitat losses in the HKH region are described as “catastrophic” by researchers. Despite conservation efforts, the biodiversity loss is alarming, with 70% of original biodiversity lost over the last century.

Human Impact:

The decline in biodiversity poses a significant threat not only to animal and plant life but also to human societies. Approximately 85% of mountain communities rely on HKH biodiversity for essentials such as food, water, flood control, and cultural identity.

Geographical Significance:

High Mountain Asia, encompassing various mountain ranges, plays a vital role in the Asian continent’s hydrological cycle. It serves as the source of numerous major rivers, providing clean water to a third of the world’s population.

Urgent Investment Needed:

With 241 million people living in the HKH region, urgent investment is required to address food insecurity and malnutrition affecting a significant portion of the population. The statement calls for increased funding and policy reforms to reverse nature loss and prevent ecosystem collapse.

Global Significance of Mountains:

Mountains cover 22% of the Earth’s land surface and host 50% of the world’s global biodiversity hotspots. Given their susceptibility to climate change, ICIMOD advocates for a dedicated Global Mountains assessment by IPBES.


This meeting marks the first IPBES assessment gathering in South Asia and underscores the critical need for immediate action to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem services of High Mountain Asia.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. Where was the urgent call for action to prevent the collapse of nature in High Mountain Asia made?
    a) New Delhi
    b) Kathmandu
    c) Beijing
    d) Islamabad
    Answer: b) Kathmandu
  2. How many global biodiversity hotspots are found in the HKH region?
    a) Two
    b) Four
    c) Six
    d) Eight
    Answer: b) Four
  3. What percentage of mountain communities in the HKH region depends on biodiversity for essentials? a) 50%
    b) 65%
    c) 70%
    d) 85%
    Answer: d) 85%
  4. Which major rivers originate from the High Mountain Asia region?
    a) Nile and Amazon
    b) Mississippi and Danube
    c) Indus and Ganga
    d) Volga and Yangtze
    Answer: c) Indus and Ganga
  5. What percentage of the Earth’s land surface do mountains cover?
    a) 10%
    b) 22%
    c) 35%
    d) 50%
    Answer: b) 22%