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Arctic Circle
  • December 16, 2021

Third Pole - Himalaya

Arctic Circle VIRTUAL Prior to the Abu Dhabi Forum.

The Third Pole – Himalaya will experience profound ecological and geophysical transformations as a result of climate change. The melting of the glaciers carries water security implications for up to 2 billion people across the river basins of Asia. In the face of this monumental challenge, new avenues of collaboration are called for.

At this VIRTUAL event it will be explored if the Arctic model of collaboration can serve as an inspiration for the Third Pole – Himalaya.

The VIRTUAL presents a dialogue between Director General of ICIMOD Dr. Pema Gyamtsho and Coordinating Lead Author of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment Dr. Eklabya Sharma. They will discuss the challenges facing the region and efforts to increase collaboration in recent years; in particular the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment Report. The focus will also turn towards the call for action issued by ICIMOD and the imperative need for new avenues of collaboration and how it can find inspiration in the Arctic model.

This VIRTUAL dialogue is moderated by Mr. Dagfinnur Sveinbjörnsson, Arctic Circle Emissary on the Third Pole, Climate and the Oceans and is an introduction to the Arctic Circle Abu Dhabi Forum to take place in January.

Introductory remarks by H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland 1996-2016, Chairman of the Arctic Circle.

Pema Gyamtsho

Director General of ICIMOD

Dr Gyamtsho has over three decades of leadership experience in environment and sustainability, agricultural research, natural resource management and planning, and other areas, and has served the Royal Government of Bhutan as Minister of Agriculture and Forests. His 2020 appointment as Director General marks his return to ICIMOD. He worked previously with the Centre, both with the Governing Board as a representative and observer of Bhutan, and in a senior-level position, during which he travelled throughout the region.

Pema Gyamtsho has a PhD in natural sciences from ETH Zurich in Switzerland and a Masters in Agriculture Science from New Zealand.

Eklabya Sharma

Coordinating Lead Author of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment

Professor Eklabya Sharma is the Chairperson of Scientific Advisory Committee of the G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India. An ecologist with over 35 years of experience in sustainable development, he has contributed to research and development through senior positions at the G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). He was vice-chancellor of TERI School of Advanced Studies, an inter-disciplinary institution focused on sustainable development. Professor Sharma was for example a coordinating lead author of the important Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment (2019) which assembles the collective knowledge of over 300 leading researchers, practitioners, experts, and policymakers. His expertise is on biodiversity conservation, natural resources, transboundary landscape management, biogeochemical cycling in ecosystems, climate change impact assessments, adaptation and nature-based solutions, and resilience building. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy.

Dagfinnur Sveinbjörnsson

Arctic Circle Emissary on the Third Pole, Climate and the Oceans

Dagfinnur Sveinbjörnsson is the Arctic Circle Emissary on the Third Pole, Climate and the Oceans. Dagfinnur is the former CEO of Arctic Circle since its establishment in 2013 and until 2021. Since its establishment it has become the preeminent venue for engagement in Arctic affairs and the relationship of the Arctic with the international community. 
Dagfinnur read philosophy, history, economics, politics and the political economy of development at the University of Iceland; Trinity College, Cambridge; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and was a fellow at Harvard University.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

President of Iceland 1996-2016, Chairman of the Arctic Circle

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson served as President of Iceland for twenty years, 1996-2016; elected five times in nationwide elections. Previously, he was Minister of Finance, Member of Parliament, Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the first Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland. He now serves as Chairman of the Arctic Circle, which he founded in 2013 with various Arctic partners. The Arctic Circle Assembly held in Iceland every October has become the largest annual international gathering on the Arctic, attended by more than 2000 participants from 60 countries. The Arctic Circle also organizes specialized Forums in other countries; so far, in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Before and after his presidency, President Grímsson has worked closely with members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate as well as with many key members of governments in European countries. For decades, he has been an active participant in the global climate dialogue and during his Presidency and in recent years initiated and promoted clean energy projects in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and the Americas; especially using Icelandic achievements and technologies as a model. Cooperation with Sinopec has led to the largest geothermal projects in the world, building clean energy urban heating systems in a multitude of Chinese cities. He was the Chairman of a commission established by IRENA on the new geopolitics emerging from global renewable energy transformation. Grímsson served on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy for All, created by the United Nations and the World Bank. In addition to devoting his post-presidential efforts to the three areas of climate, the Arctic and clean energy, Grímsson is also involved in international cooperation on the oceans and the evolution of sustainable use of marine resources.

President Grímsson has received many international awards, including the Nehru Award for International Understanding, presented to him by the President of India.

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