The great mountains of Earth are getting ready for COP26

It has been discussed with a workshop in Pakistan, organized by Karakoram International University and the italian associations EvK2CNR and EvK2Minoprio

With the workshop held on August 25th, at the Musharraf Auditorium in Gilgit, Pakistan, the scientific community and those responsible for the development policies of the Gilgit-Baltistan mountain areas have started to approach to COP26, the world climate Conference scheduled from 1 to 12 November in Glasgow.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a mountainous area in northern Pakistan, which has K2 at its top and includes the Karakoram chain, the Himalaya’s one and in the west, on the border with the Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush, one of the most important ecosystem on the planet for its influences on atmospheric circulation and for its immense glaciers, a reserve from which millions of people draw fresh water.

The meeting was organized by Karakoram International University, Baltistan University and EvK2CNR-Pk and EvK2Minoprio associations, which for years have been carrying out in this region important scientific research projects and cooperation programs for sustainable development. The aim of the conference was to share and formulate recommendations for these territories and populations, which will be brought to the discussion table of the upcoming COP26.

With his speech at the workshop Fateh Ullah Khan, Gilgit Baltistan’s Minister for Planning and Information, underlined the appreciation of the Pakistani federal government for the role that Italy plays in the field of nature conservation in Pakistan, in Gilgit Baltistan particularly, through various development and environmental projects. The Minister also thanked EvK2 for the excellent connection created between Gilgit Baltistan and government and Italian people, which enormously contributed to the improvement of environment and livelihoods in the region, reiterating that: “The Federal Government and the Gilgit Baltistan’s one are taking environmental issues and challenges very seriously, in order to make Gilgit Baltistan a green region”.

38% of Gilgit Baltistan is already a National Park or a protected natural area and the intention is to reach the 100% with the implementation of the GBMountainVision 20/30 project.

The Italian Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese also expressed his appreciation and strongly reaffirmed the Italian government support to Pakistan and in particular to the Gilgit Baltistan area, confirming that Italy supports the Glacier and Students project (starting in these weeks), which provides for the creation of the cadastre of over 5,000 glaciers in Pakistan, the reactivation of a system of environmental monitoring stations, as well as a digital platform for data collection, together with universities and their students.

Maurizio Gallo, president of EvK2Minoprio, the organisation that took up the torch of EvK2CNR, an association founded over 30 years ago by Ardito Desio, underlined the importance of the Italian presence in Gilgit Baltistan in the last two decades: “Passion for the mountains and protection of nature and environment, not only locally but globally, are a formidable ground for collaboration and dialogue, while working together is a guarantee of credibility and friendship”.

Ashiq Ahmad Khan, member of the mountain board of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and scientific coordinator of EvK2CNR-PK, focused his speech on safeguarding the mountain ecosystem and the linked challenges and strategies for climate change mitigation, underlining how local communities, institutions and civil society in general need to be more aware of the importance of the region’s natural heritage.

Some consideration was also made in these days regarding the situation in Afghanistan, which will affect Pakistan and the neighboring territories as well, and the need of contributing to mitigate those effects.