For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON D.C. -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have partnered on a unique event to highlight the impacts of global climate change on the Himalayas. The Green Hiker-Green Planet Campaign, which includes a 4-day trek through the Langtang area in Nepal's Sacred Himalayan Landscape, brings together individuals from a variety of sectors to increase awareness and spur joint action on conservation, climate change advocacy and preparedness.
The campaign is part of USAID's 50th anniversary commemoration and WWF's 50th anniversary commemoration. The trek, which is taking place April 18-21 will culminate in a press conference in Kathmandu, Nepal on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.
Nepal is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change - highlighted by rapidly melting glaciers, changing rain patterns, deforestation and air pollution - issues that the participants will be seeing first hand during the 4-day trek. Nepal is not alone in dealing with the effects of climate change. It is representative of all countries facing these issues around the globe.
A team of 20 trekkers - including representatives from USAID, WWF, the Government of Nepal, civil society, and the media - started out Monday in Dhunche and hiked through Thulo Syabru, Jibjibe and Trisuli. The team has already observed first-hand the impact of climate change on Nepali communities and witnessed community initiatives to adapt to climate change, such as community seed banks, farmer schools and "water smart" initiatives. The participants also interacted with the local communities on issues such as tourism, livelihoods, and species conservation.
Jed Meline, Deputy Mission Director of USAID/Nepal, remarked, "We believe we should look more closely and widely for opportunities to collaborate on climate solutions in Nepal. It is especially imperative to address climate change in Nepal because the Himalayas have the largest glacier concentration outside the polar region. Nepal hosts eight of the world's tallest peaks, 3,200 glaciers and 1,466 glacial lakes-with millions of people dependent on the water that comes out of the mountains' many rivers. The Green Hiker- Green Planet campaign is a great opportunity to discuss how we can all work together as partners to address climate change and its effects."
With decades of development efforts in Nepal, USAID has had a long history of successful and cutting-edge environmental programs in Nepal, including its work with community forest user groups to support environmental governance, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable livelihoods.
WWF has worked in Nepal since the late 1960s, when it began efforts to help the Government save the Greater one-horned rhino and Bengal tiger. Since then, WWF's mission has expanded to include community conservation and development initiatives and the protection of large landscapes such as the Terai Arc and Sacred Himalayas, as well as addressing issues such as climate change and deforestation.
Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal, stated that WWF was proud to share this platform with USAID in bringing to light climate change impacts at the local level. "The diversity of the team members who are participating in the trek is expected to encourage cross-sectoral collaboration to induce dialogue and actions to combat climate change in Nepal and all over the world," he remarked.
For more information about USAID and its programs around the world, please visit www.usaid.gov.
For more information about World Wildlife Fund please visit www.worldwildlife.org.
Last updated: May 31, 2012