29 November 2006
According to Professor Gordon Young, an expert involved with the UN global water assessment programme for almost a decade: “the lives of up to 1.5 billion people, or one-fourth of the world’s population may be adversely affected by the rapid melting of snow glaciers in the Asian region“.
Sixty four scientists and water resource experts from Canada, China, Japan, Jordan, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, The Russian Federation, Tajikistan the United States and Uzbekistan have come to Almaty to participate in the regional workshop on assessment of snow glacier and water resources in Asia, 28-30 November 2006. The regional workshop is being organized by UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office within the framework of the International Hydrological Programme together with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), the Institute of Geography, Kazakhstan.
The mountain ranges in the region include the Altai, Tian Shan, Pamirs, Karakoram, Himalyan and Tibetan Plateaus; these ranges hold the largest volumes of ice outside the polar regions and have been called the “third pole of the planet” by Dr. Gregory Greenwood of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Mountain Research Initiative.
The three-day workshop brings together the efforts of many international organizations, research institutions and individual experts to discuss changes in snow glaciers and their impact on water resources, eco-systems, society and sustainable development. The conference highlights the critical need for joint planning and international cooperation in projects related to snow glacier assessment and waters resource projects in Asia.
Workshop participants will develop recommendations for joint research, monitoring and also identify future research needs related to climate driven changes on water resources.
The workshop is supported by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, the European Commission and UNESCO Offices in Moscow, Beijing, Jakarta and Tashkent