Climate Variability and Change in the Himalayas : Community perceptions and responses (2011)
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This study investigates the effects of climate and socioeconomic change on the livelihoods of mountain people in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, causes of vulnerability, and the ways people's cope with and adapt to change, with the overall aim of contributing to enhancing the resilience of vulnerable mountain communities. ICIMOD conducted a community-based vulnerability and adaptive capacity assessment in four areas Uttarakhand in northwestern India; Nepal, Eastern Bhutan, and North East India to identify people's perceptions of climate variability and change; to identify underlying causes of vulnerability of mountain communities; to assess existing coping and adaptation mechanisms and their sustainability in view of predicted future climate change; and to formulate recommendations on how to improve individual and collective assets. An extensive participatory rural appraisal exercise was followed by field studies including focus group discussions at the community level and in-depth interviews at the household level. Special attention was paid to potential differences in the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of women and men and of different social groups. The general role of formal and informal institutions in the adaptation process was also considered. The findings demonstrate that climate and socioeconomic change are already affecting the livelihoods of mountain communities, and that the communities have developed a repertoire of response strategies to these changes.