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Vulnerability through the eyes of the vulnerable: climate change induced uncertainties and Nepal’s development predicaments

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) depicts the Hindukush-Himalaya, including Nepal, as a “white spot,” a region about which scientific information on climate change is limited or lacking altogether. Given that the rise of this mountain range, the world’s highest, has had a considerable influence on global wind circulation and climate dynamics, this knowledge gap does not speak well of our ability to understand climate change or its potential impact.

This report is a first attempt to synthesise existing scientific and socio-economic information on the likely impacts of climate change in the Nepal Himalaya and to assess the complex patterns of vulnerability such changes will expose its citizens to. It has three goals:

1. To pinpoint key areas where improvements in basic climate-related data and the capacity to analyse it
can strengthen Nepal’s capacity to understand the ongoing processes of change

2. To identify likely impacts of climate change in the region and their economic consequences

3. To outline potential strategies for responding or adapting to the impacts of climate change that address the needs of vulnerable populations and/or protect critical national forests, biodiversity, energy and other resources.