BISHKEK 2013 BACKGROUND



International conference
MOUNTAINHAZARDS 2013
Natural Hazards, Climate Change and Water in Mountain Areas


The conference was held in Colpon Ata, Kyrgyzstan on September 16th – 18th.

The organizers and sponsors of the conference were:

Central Asian Program UNDP Climate Risk Management,

Czech-UNDP Trust Fund,

Adygine Endowment Fund,

Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic,

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

and Norwegian Forestry Group.


Altogether 143 participants, 100 foreign from 20 countries and 43 local attended the meeting.
In total 77 presentations have been presented in 9 sessions.
The book of conference proceedings comprising 103 abstracts has been published upon the conference and delivered to all of participants. 
 
Background

High mountain environment is one the most complex and sensitive ecosystems on the Earth. Due to strong altitude differences and complicated morphology, several climatic levels are found within short vertical distance. Seasonal differences are very conspicuous. The presence of glaciers even complicates the situation. Besides, current climate changes influence considerably the natural processes in high mountains over the world.

Hundreds of millions of people live in mountains being dependent on natural changes of environment, facing the harsh climate, difficult life conditions and various kinds of natural hazards. One of the most important hazards is potential change of water resources due to reduction of glacier mass and changes of amount and spatial distribution of precipitations.

Central Asia (CA) is one of the world’s regions most vulnerable to current climate variability and impacts of future climate change. This is as a result of a combination of a number of natural and anthropogenic factors

Climate change is likely to manifest in CA: increasing temperatures; changing rainfall patterns; increasing aridity; an increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and climate-related disasters (such as droughts, floods, debris-flows, glacial lake outbursts, landslides and avalanches). Indeed, trends over the last few decades indicate that these predicted changes are already being experienced in CA countries and worldwide, and current climate variability is already adversely impacting development, especially on sectors such as water, agriculture, and energy.

Furthermore, although the region is prone to earthquakes, the majority of disasters are triggered by hydro-meteorological hazards, including drought, floods, extreme temperatures and rainfall-related landslides, debris-flows, lake outbursts; all of which are likely to increase under a changing climate. Unless timely, coordinated and sustainable Climate Risk Management (CRM) measures are implemented, CA is likely to experience considerable economic loss, humanitarian stresses and environmental degradation as a result of climate-related disasters and incremental change in climate conditions.

The conference was aimed at the discussion of different topics related to the aforementioned processes. It will give an opportunity for scientists and experts from various countries to present the results of their work and research of natural processes, climate change adaptation and disaster risk mitigation measures in high mountain regions, as well as the results of recent studies of glacier cover change Central Asian mountains and other mountainous regions. The main topics of these discussions will cover relevant kinds of natural hazards: glacial lakes outbursts, landslides and rock-falls, earthquakes and debris flows. The research, risk assessment and mitigation and adaptation measures will be on focus. The discussion on interdependencies of climate changes, glacier retreat and water resources will be the special topic of the conference. Results of studies and research and specific approaches for Central Asia , Himalayan region, Europe and other parts of the World are the main expected outputs of this conference.

Tight international cooperation is strongly needed to effectively address the challenges presented above.

A number of scientific, environmental and public organisations took part in the conference. A special attention has been paid to the current and future activities of UNDP and other UN Agencies and multilateral organisations in the region. Representatives of the organisations and individual projects will take stock of what has been achieved and what are the main gaps so far. Another important result of the conference is a coordinated basis for international aid in Central Asia and beyond for the coming years.

Forthcoming event follows-up the meetings held in Bishkek in 2009 (“Mountainhazards2009”) and in Dushanbe in 2011 (“Mountainhazards2011”).

The information on previous conferences is available on the web sites: www.mountainhazards2009.com and www.mountainhazards2011.com.  

Goal of the conference

The goal of the conference is the discussion on investigation of hazardous natural processes and climate in high mountain environment and the experience in monitoring the phenomena, methods of risk assessment and possibilities of risk mitigation and adaptation measures.