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The first Inter-Polar Conference: Connecting the Arctic with the Third Pole – the Hindu Kush Himalaya

The Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland and ICIMOD have jointly organised the first Inter-Polar Conference in collaboration with the UArctic Chair in Arctic Legal Research and Education, and the Law Thematic Network. The conference is taking place these days, 6th - 9th September, in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The Arctic and the Third Pole – the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, both contain important elements of the cryosphere, the near-permanent presence of water in a frozen state. However, as temperatures in both regions are currently increasing, these areas are rapidly thawing, and several elements of the cryosphere are possibly at tipping points.

Changes in the cryosphere will have major impacts on local communities and ecosystems, and also lead to larger-scale changes: the rapid melting of the Himalayan glaciers and changes in snowpack will have significant regional effects related to the provision of water to a quarter of humanity, and the melting of cryosphere in the Arctic will contribute significantly to global sea level rise , affecting the 10% of humanity living within 10 m of sea level, as well as global trade as docks and other infrastructure at sea level are affected.

The interlinked aspect of the cryosphere thaw and climate change has been evidenced as crucial in promoting polar science. However, the Arctic and Third Pole are almost always considered separately, demonstrating very little knowledge about the commonalities, links, and differences between both regions, especially concerning geo-political, socio-cultural, environmental, and legal dynamics of effects of and responses to these changes.

Find more information and a conference programme here: