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High Mountains Adaptation Partnership


The High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP) is co-managed by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Texas at Austin.

Our work raises global awareness of the critical importance of high mountain glacial watersheds. We have strengthened scientific, social, and institutional capacity for the management of dangerous glacial lakes and threatened landscapes in the Himalayas, Andes, and select other mountain ranges worldwide. We have been instrumental in creating the first community-based, participatory glacial lake risk reduction project in Nepal, which included a successful V&A training program, promotion of South-South knowledge exchange, and development and deployment of an innovative Glacial Lake Rapid Reconnaissance Team, a mini-hydro generation project, and vital donor coordination. We established the first high mountain glacial watershed community of practice, now called the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP), which creates new opportunities, connections, and shared knowledge between previously disconnected scientists and practitioners. And we are developing a new generation of climber-scientists fluent in climate change and adaptation issues, research methods, and action projects in high mountain watersheds.

Why High Mountain Glacial Watersheds?

Glaciated, high mountain regions of the world play a critical role in providing water and ecosystem services to large human populations living downstream. The impact of climate change in these regions is typically felt first and foremost in relation to water resources. Reduced dry season flows, increasing threats from glacial lake outburst floods, and concerns about climate impacts on high mountain livelihoods and biodiversity provided the motivation for scientists, practitioners, and government officials to launch the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership. Specifically, HiMAP seeks to resolve the lack of engagement of local communities and leaders in climate change research activities, the heavy reliance on remote sensing studies without corroborating field verification, and the lack of interaction between key stakeholders. HiMAP combines international scientific experience with local knowledge and resources to promote global awareness. The Program is open to all individuals and organizations interested in high mountain development issues.

History of the High Mountain Mountains Adaptation Partnership

The original High Mountain Glacial Watershed Program was created at the recommendation of participants in the Nepal 2011 workshop as a "Community of Practice" to address gaps in knowledge and collaboration and to develop follow-on pilots and capacity building activities. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided initial financial support to HMGWP through the Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD) Project, implemented by Engility Corporation. At our 2013 workshop in Peru, the community of practice voted to rename itself the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership. HiMAP aims to increase awareness of the critical importance of high mountain watersheds in the context of climate change, highland-lowland interactions, and ecosystem services. Co-financing for HiMAP is also provided by the U.S. Department of State as part of their support for the Adaptation Partnership. The Program is led by Dr. Alton Byers of The Mountain Institute and Dr. Daene McKinney of the University of Texas, Austin.

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