In 2019, ICIMOD published a landmark synthesis report, the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, putting the acute vulnerability of this iconic and vital mountain biome to climate impacts on the map for the first time. The first ever cross-chapter paper on mountains was included by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2022, with an ICIMOD scholar its lead co-author.  

In May 2023, on the 75th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, ICIMOD cryosphere analyst Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa stood at one of the highest human settlements on Earth, Namche Bazar, with his grandfather Kanchha Sherpa, the last survivor of the first ascent of the world’s tallest mountain, alongside the descendants of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary, and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, and launched a campaign to mobilise mountain communities; mountain athletes and guides; and scientists; to protect Earth’s frozen zones.  

Together they issued an SOS for Earth’s mountains and all beings that rely on their freshwaters: an SOS for Earth’s frozen zones.  

2,000 climbers, scientists, and diplomats signed the SOS Declaration in its first 48 hours.  

In June ICIMOD published Water, Ice, Society, and Ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, a major new assessment report that showed that today’s emissions will lead to ever faster and irreversible losses across the Hindu Kush Himalaya, with water availability peaking in 2050; up to 80% of glacier volume gone by 2100 and all gone soon thereafter.  

In Spring 2024, on the eve of the world’s first UN Expert Dialogue on Mountains, and on the 100-year anniversary of the first photograph of the Khumbu glacier by George Mallory, ICIMOD is setting out to amplify the voices of these three communities most aware of, most passionate about, and most impacted by irreversible losses to snow and ice—mountain communities, professional outdoor people, and scientists—to renew that SOS for Earth’s glaciers, snow, and cold.  

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