Climate Variability and Change in the Himalayas: Community perceptions and responses
M. Macchi, A.M. Gurung, B. Hoermann, D. Choudhary, ICIMOD, 2011 | ISBN: 978 92 9115 226 1

This study investigates the effects of climate and socioeconomic change on the livelihoods of mountain people in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, causes of vulnerability, and the ways people cope with and adapt to change, with the overall aim of contributing to enhancing the resilience of vulnerable mountain communities. The case studies cover ICIMOD-conducted community-based vulnerability and adaptive capacity assessments in: Uttarakhand in northwestern India; Nepal; Eastern Bhutan; and North East India. The main aims were to: identify people’s perceptions of climate variability and change; identify underlying causes of vulnerability of mountain communities; assess existing coping and adaptation mechanisms and their sustainability in view of predicted future climate change; and formulate recommendations on how to improve individual and collective assets. An extensive participatory rural appraisal exercise was followed by field studies including focus group discussions at the community level and in-depth interviews at the household level. Special attention was paid to gender considerations and to the role of formal and informal institutions in the adaptation process. The findings demonstrate that climate and socioeconomic change are already affecting the livelihoods of mountain communities, and that the communities have developed a repertoire of response strategies to these changes. These responses, however, may not keep up with the fast pace of change the communities are facing. In order to increase the resilience of mountain communities, appropriate longer-term strategies that build on mountain communities’ traditional knowledge need to be developed, rather than focusing on short-term responses which may reinforce vulnerability in the longer term. Read the report …