Over 1.3 billion people in Pakistan, India, China, Nepal and Bhutan depend on Himalayan glaciers for water, but experts say they are melting quickly, which may threaten much of the region with drought.
The announcement comes as leaders gather for the Copenhagen climate change summit to discuss strategies for combating climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that the Himalayan glaciers could "disappear altogether by 2035". But the IPCC admits that research on the impact of global warming on the rugged and inaccessible Himalayas remains sparse, describing the region as a "blank spot."
Controversially, some scientists (like Indian geologist Vijay Kumar Raina) have argued that the glaciers are not melting. Rather, they are advancing.
"There are many uncertainties," said ICIMOD climate change expert Arun Shrestha. "There is an urgent need for further research", Shrestha added.
Source: AFP (through Channel NewsAsia), "Melting Himalayan glaciers threaten 1.3 billion Asians," December 6, 2009,http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1022878/1/.h...