Home Bangladesh One billion South Asians face climate change risks : Study
Bangladesh - Climate - Health - World wide - March 21, 2024

One billion South Asians face climate change risks : Study

Rafiqul Islam Azad : A groundbreaking study conducted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) has revealed alarming findings: approximately one billion people in South Asia are currently imperiled by the escalating impacts of climate change on the region’s vital river basins. Titled “Elevating River Basin Governance and Cooperation in the HKH Region: Ganges River Basin,” this study sheds light on the perilous effects of climate change gripping major river systems like the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra.
Recent years have witnessed a dramatic surge in global temperatures, with 2023 marking a record-breaking year for warming trends. The repercussions of this temperature surge are reverberating throughout nature, posing an unprecedented risk to the entire planet, as emphasized by the study.
Anthropogenic activities and climate change stand as dual threats, poised to inflict severe consequences on roughly one billion individuals in the South Asian region alone. Urgent action is imperative within the river basins, which serve as crucial sources of freshwater for vast swathes of South and Southeast Asia, drawing from snow, glaciers, and precipitation.
Rapid industrialization, urban expansion, and unsustainable agricultural practices have taken a heavy toll on the ecological balance of these rivers, exacerbating their vulnerability. Industrial pollution has reached critical levels, jeopardizing not only human health but also the delicate ecosystems reliant on these waterways.
The study underscores the indispensable role of collaborative efforts across the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra basins in safeguarding the future of one billion people and preserving globally significant ecosystems. Arun Shrestha, Strategic Group Lead for Climate and Environmental Risks at ICIMOD, stresses the necessity of transcending borders and embracing innovative, mutually beneficial water management strategies to secure a water-sustainable future for all.

The Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers sustain millions, providing essential resources to countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China, and beyond. Their significance extends beyond basic sustenance, shaping industrial and economic policies in a region rife with geopolitical complexities.
In light of these findings, the urgency for collaborative action cannot be overstated. Climate change has emerged as a clarion call for cooperation, compelling stakeholders to transcend political boundaries and prioritize the preservation of these invaluable river systems. Through concerted efforts, informed by scientific insights, we can mitigate the looming crisis and pave the way for a more resilient, sustainable future.
The ICIMOD, as a regional hub for knowledge development and learning, stands at the forefront of these endeavors, serving as a catalyst for collaboration among the eight member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalaya. With its headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal, ICIMOD remains committed to fostering innovative solutions and fostering a shared commitment to environmental stewardship across the region.

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