Countries in the eastern Himalayas are intensifying their cooperation for adapting to climate change.
Photo: Irma Ylikangas
Four countries in the eastern Himalayas – Bhutan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal – have agreed on regional cooperation in order to secure the region’s energy, water and food resources and to maintain the diversity of the Himalayan nature in the changing climate. The Finnish Meteorological Institute conducts projects in the region in order to develop local know-how and the ability to produce up-to-date weather and climate services.
Director General Petteri Taalas participated in Finland’s official delegation to the Climate Summit held in Bhutan in November. The goal of the Summit was to raise the preparedness of countries in the eastern Himalayas for adapting to the impacts of climate change. In conclusion, the four States signed a declaration defining their mutual responsibilities and division of labour in the face of the considerable challenges brought by climate change. It has been predicted that climate change will have significant impacts in the Himalayan region.
In conjunction with the Summit, the Finnish delegation met, among others, with the Prime Minister of Bhutan. Director General Taalas also had a meeting with the directors of Bhutan’s hydro-meteorological services and discussed cooperation prospects, for instance, in the form of a project funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Through expert bodies such as the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has funded programmes aimed at adapting to climate change in the Himalayan region. At present, the Institute has ongoing projects in India and Nepal, and negotiations on the project in Bhutan are in progress.
The Nepalese project will create a development plan aimed at improving Nepal’s hydro-meteorological services, thereby making the country better prepared for natural disasters caused by the weather. According to predictions, climate change will increase extreme weather events.
“Appropriate weather and climate services improve risk management and can reduce the adverse effects of extreme weather events on the economy and human life. Increased know-how and investments in observations, information systems, forecast models and in the production of services for various customer groups typically repay society ten times over,” says Petteri Taalas.
Photo: Olli Moilanen
Nepal’s hydro-meteorological measurement network is modest. When the Meteorological Institute’s project was launched in spring 2011, Nepal had hardly any real-time weather observation data available. During the project, the number of real-time weather stations has increased by three. Early next year, a new weather station at Pokhara Airport will be linked to the observation network.
The project also includes training given by the Meteorological Institute’s experts, and cooperation with Nepalese partners pertaining to data processing, forecasting, and developing the effectiveness of warnings and other weather and climate services.
Director General Petteri Taalas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Project Manager Irma Ylikangas (email@example.com)