The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region is the source of ten large Asian river systems and provides water, ecosystem services, and the basis for the livelihoods of more than 210 million people in the South Asia region. Five of the eight HKH countries — Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan — share twenty major rivers emanating from the Greater Himalayas. The basins of these rivers provide water to 1.3 billion people. The river flow regimes, the supply of water and food and energy security in the region are under direct impact from changes in temperature, precipitation and glacier dynamics. Due to the transboundary interconnectedness in water resources and its high relevance in regional stability and sustainable and inclusive growth, regional cooperation is imperative in the management and development of water resources. Regional integration and cooperative transboundary water resource management requires increased accountability and transparency of governments, improved technology, infrastructure, market access, delivery of services, and enhanced social institutions. Among the latter, universities and research centres play a key role in generating, sharing and disseminating knowledge on water resources and provide evidence for effective intergovernmental integrated water resources management policies and practice.
Universities and research centres in the region, however, have largely not been able to fulfil their important tasks. This is mostly due to the lack of resources and inadequate institutional and research capacity. Moreover, an information sharing mechanism and platform as well as substantive coordinated efforts in creating and conducting collaborative research and training between institutions are seriously lacking.
Himalayan University Consortium (HUC, est. 2007) has its mandate in developing an effective, sustainable network of universities in the HKH, in collaboration with academic, research and knowledge generating and exchange institutions both within and outside the region. This network engages top-notch professional women and men capable of undertaking high-quality research, education, teaching, and knowledge dissemination in service of a mountain-specific, sustainable, fair, and inclusive development for HKH communities and adjoining mountainous areas. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), one of HUC’s founding members and the current host of its secretariat, has recently made HUC its sixth regional programme, indicating a strong commitment to foster regional cooperation among research institutions. GBPNIHESD has been among the most active members of the consortium and a strategic implementing partner of ICIMOD.
The proposed International Conference titled “Mobilizing University Research for Tacking Water, Climate Change, and Adaptation Challenges in Hindu Kush Himalayan Region” aims to: