Climate change glacier melt

Climate change in the Solukhumbu

Remote Nepal can feel so far removed from the rest of the world that it may rise above global problems. But Nepal is the fourth most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Snow cover is shrinking in the mountains, rain patterns are unpredictable, and fertile land has become barren. This solid-looking environment is incredibly fragile.
The Australian Himalayan Foundation has worked with communities in the small Solukhumbu region since 2005. Under the shadow of Mt Everest, most people are subsistence farmers, living in remote villages with no road access. Snow leopards, red panda and many other rare animals share this region.
The people, flora and fauna of the Solukhumbu are some of Nepal’s most vulnerable to climate change.
Women in Solukhumbu farming
Women in the Solukhumbu. Photo Conor Ashleigh

What are the problems?

According to the recent Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, temperatures across the Himalaya will increase by more than 2°C by 2050. That is an average effect, with more increases at higher elevations.  Himalayan communities are already living with the effects of climate change. They are experiencing erratic rainfall, flash flooding, drought, forest fires, and landslides each year. And we expect these events to become more severe and frequent as temperatures rise. Families are having to abandon their homes and farms due to uncertain and hazardous climate conditions.

Generations of people have farmed the land in the Solukhumbu, and the future of this life seems precarious at best.
Family in Solukhumbu Nepal
Family in Solukhumbu. Photo Conor Ashleigh

So, what can be done?

Everest Youth Climate Initiative (EYCI)

Communities who are poor and isolated have limited alternative livelihoods. When you are not part of national decision-making processes, you are inherently more vulnerable to change.  Learning to adapt is now recognised as an essential part of the human response to climate change. And this is where AHF can help.
People in the Solukhumbu region are keen to deepen their understanding of their Himalayan environment and the threats that face it.
Together with REED Nepal, AHF has a project working with teachers and students in 16 schools throughout the Solukhumbu. On our own we can’t impact climate change, but we can increase local communities’ ability to adapt to the changes facing them. Through school-based eco-clubs, students and teachers are learning about climate change. EYCI runs workshops to train students in monitoring their environment. Students are planting trees and creating awareness campaigns.

” Combining indigenous and local knowledge with external expertise is vital for resilience. ”  – Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment


With EYCI, we are bringing local communities in Nepal together with other agencies to create partnership. Experts in the Himalaya and in climate change. School and community groups. Government bodies, scientific organisations and other NGOs.
When we included community members in planning and consultation, we came up with some local activities. Our current projects include:
  • Local reforestation
  • Red Panda monitoring and conservation
  • A livelihood-support program
Eco clubs working to adapt to climate change, Nepal
Workshop with Eco-Club at Gamela
The best way to prepare communities for climate change is to engage, educate and include them in the conversation. We are working in collaboration with the communities of the Solukhumbu to help them adapt and overcome some of the challenges posed by climate change in the region.
This land, this life, and this culture are some of the most unique and beautiful in the world. We must help these communities to preserve them for future generations.



Climate Risk Profile Nepal  https://www.climatelinks.org/countries/nepal

Climate change adaptation in Nepal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_adaptation_in_Nepal

Climate change in Nepal: a comprehensive analysis of instrumental data and people’s perceptions https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-019-02418-5

Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-92288-1 

 WWF Climate Change Adaptation http://www.wwfnepal.org/hariyobanprogram/what_we_do/climate_change_adaptation/