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Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, ndc, psc (Retd) President

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Presentation on theme: "Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, ndc, psc (Retd) President"— Presentation transcript:

1 Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, ndc, psc (Retd) President
IES - Climate Change & Security at Copenhagen - II The Contribution of the Global Security Community to Success Brussels, 7 -8 October 2009 Glacial melt in the Hindu Kush/ Himalayas/ Tibetan Plateau- A case study in the geopolitical and environmental security Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, ndc, psc (Retd) President Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS)


3 Glacial melt--- The temperature increase in the Himalayan region has been greater than the global average of 0.74 °C over the last 100 years (IPCC 2007). The higher the altitude the more rapid the warming. This ongoing rapid warming has a profound effect on the Himalayan environment. Retreat of glacier tongues has led to the formation of glacial lakes. The resulting glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) can cause damage to life, property, forests, farms and infrastructure.

4 Glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas

5 The melting glaciers in the Himalayas
Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other parts of the world. In Northwest China, 27% of the glacier area will decline by 2050 (equivalent to an ice volume of 16,184 km3), as will 10 to 15% of the frozen soil area. IPCC made a forecast that if current trends continue, 80% of Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 30 years; recent estimates suggest this loss in 50 years. The current trends of glacial melt suggest that the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and other rivers across the northern Indian plain could likely become seasonal rivers in the near future. Between 20 and 40% reduction of runoff per capita is likely by the end of 21st century in the NW provinces of China. 

6 Himalayan glaciers are shrinking more rapidly than
elsewhere Source: Dyurgerov and Meier 2005

7 Snow-cover change in the Himalayas

8 Snow-cover change in the Himalayas

9 Glacial melting in Tibetan Plateau
Glacier recession on the Tibetan Plateau has quickened, triggering a series of environmental calamities. Winters are not as cold as before. Warmer climate has sparked an onset of epidemic diseases Water in summer is no longer as clean as before. Tibetan plateau is home to an expanse of glaciers measuring 59,425 square kilometers. But now the glaciers are shrinking by 131 square kilometers yearly.

10 Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet

11 The melting glaciers: impacts on water
As glaciers melt, river runoff will initially increase in winter or spring but will eventually decrease as a result of loss of ice resources This is likely to be unfavourable for downstream agriculture This could seriously affect half a billion people in the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya region and a quarter billion people in China who depend on glacial melt for their water supplies. 

12 High dependence of major South Asian
countries on transboundary surface water

13 River basins of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas

14 Experts Opine that-- Glacier change is an indicator of climate change
Regular monitoring of glaciers including mass balance is necessary Monitoring of glacial lakes and adaptation and mitigation measures for potentially dangerous glacial lakes are required. The development of a dynamic and regional database on glaciers and glacial lakes will greatly enhance the understanding of global and regional climate trends. Regional cooperation is necessary for systematic research on snow and ice and water 

15 Impacts on Human Life: The most marginalized (mountain communities and ethnic minorities, etc.) and vulnerable groups will suffer the most from. Impact on biodiversity and affect on people’s diet, nutritional status and nutrition related health problems. Infectious diseases, particularly the insect vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are sensitive to the impact of climate change. Agriculture, particularly rain-fed agriculture is highly sensitive to climate change. Increase in temperature may reduce the crop yield, particularly of cereal crops, and therefore cause food shortage.

16 Geopolitical and Environmental Security aspect
Conflict over possession of natural resource. Socio-political and economic unrest. Migration en masse. Regional disintegration. Inter and/ or Intra-state conflict. Loss of biodiversity. Loss of human habitat. Extinction of species. From ‘Nuclear Winter’ to ‘Carbon Summer’.

17 Affects of global warming in Bangladesh
If nothing is done to curb emissions, sea levels could climb more than three feet. 15% of Bangladesh could be under water if sea water rises 1 feet. The mangrove forests of Sundarban islands, a world heritage site, the Bengal tiger and hundreds of bird species may disappear. Tens of millions of Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs). Bangladesh’s food supply is already threatened by flooding due to melting glaciers in some areas and droughts due to heat in others. Environmental issues can also fuel violence and political unrest. Source:

18 Sea Level Rise: Worst Case Scenario

19 Recommendations Need to reduce scientific uncertainty. Reduce risk from seasonal and flash floods. Support community-based adaptation and disaster management. Need to promote regional co-operation in water resource management. Need to do policy advocacy at national and regional levels. 

20 Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS)
Thank you Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS)

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