UNEP-IEMP Co-organized the Launch Event of “A Scientific Assessment of the Third Pole Environment”

  • 30 April 2022  |  News

On 28 April 2022, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a report titled “A Scientific Assessment of the Third Pole Environment” successfully online and at the venue in Beijing. The UNEP-IEMP co-organized the event together with UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ITPCAS), as a special event to observe the year 2022 as the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. The launch event was moderated by Mr. Maarten Kappelle, Head of Scientific Assessments, Science Division of UNEP. 

The venue for the launch event at ITPCAS

In the opening session, Ms. Isabelle Louis, Deputy Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP, congratulated all the experts behind this important report and praised it a product of the involvement of an interdisciplinary scientific community, providing a solid base for policies and actions to address the triple environmental crisis. 

Mr. Basanta Shrestha, Director of Strategic Cooperation, ICIMOD, believed that the Third Pole Environment (TPE) assessment report would be highly valued in taking forward the new strategy being developed by ICIMOD, and wished to continue the fruitful and collaborative partnership with UNEP, the TPE, and other scientific organizations. 

Prof. Yaping Zhang, Vice-President, Chinese Academy of Sciences, expressed warm thanks to all the contributors for the launch of TPE assessment report, and remarked that scientist and researchers around the world should think beyond boarder and continue international cooperation and interdisciplinary research to tackle challenges in the fast-changing era. 

Mr. Jian Liu, Director, Science Division, UNEP welcome all the participants in the launch. He said  launching the TPE assessment report is not only to fill in the knowledge gaps in the region and globallybut also to help identifying options for solutions for policy sector. He wished the triple party collaboration between UNEP, ICIMOD and CAS continue and have more outcomes. 

Following the opening session, a keynote presentation made jointly by Profs. Tandong Yao, Lonnie G. Thompson, and Deliang Chen, Co-chairs of TPE, to introduce key messages from the report. As highlighted, the report provides a scientifically sound evaluation of a region with the largest complex of alpine ecosystems and freshwater systems in the world. It considers the changes that have taken place in the regional environment over the past 2,000 years, especially the changes today. It also looks to the future and underlines the importance of interdisciplinary research to address threats affecting this environment the Third Pole faces today and in the near future. 

Prof. Tandong Yao, Lonnie G. Thompson, and Deliang Chen, Co-chairs of TPE, making a joint keynote presentation

Six distinguished panelists joined in a panel discussion which was moderated by Mr. Matthias Georg Jurek, Programme Management Officer, UNEP Vienna Office. During the discussion, Dr. Nakul Chettri, Regional Programme Manager – Transboundary Landscapes, ICIMOD, shared experience from his work which largely on balancing conservation and development through science and policy interface and trusted partnership of diverse stakeholders.

Ms. Ermira Fida, Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stressed that climate was already impacting every corner of the world including the Third Pole Environment and she saw a very strong convergence from the TPE assessment report and those released by IPCC in recent days.

Prof. Shilong Piao from Peking University pointed out that to provide a clear road map in reducing the vulnerability and exposure of human and nature system to climate change, we still need to reduce uncertainty in understanding land surface process such as precipitation, temperature, and also ecosystems.

Dr. Ram Prasad Chaudhary, Professor Emeritus of Tribhuvan University, Nepal, suggested to assess local and traditional knowledge on climate change by local communities that can be a useful information for conservation and sustainable use of biological resources including wild medicinal plants.

Ms. Tina H.P. Schoolmeester from GRID-Arendal highlighted the global significance of the Third Pole Environment from the global linkage perspectives, and also suggested to have more efforts in communicating complex issues in clear, visual and informative manner. 

Mr. Rinzin Dorji, Chief Forestry Officer/Park Manager, Department of Forests and Park Services, Bhutan reiterated that the TPE report was very timely and informative to guide local conservationists in integrating protected area conservation plans. He finally called for international communities to better support the work with local communities. 

A screen capture showing speakers and panelists

This report is the first comprehensive assessment of environmental changes in the Third Pole that aims to present the latest knowledge on climate, freshwater bodies, ecosystems and biodiversity, and human impact on the environment. It was produced by UNEP in collaboration with the UNEP-IEMP, the Third Pole Environment, and the Pan-Third Pole Environment and supported by the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research project, ICIMOD, and ITPCAS. 

The full report and its Executive Summary in 6 UN languages are accessible at:

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