The “Glaciers and Students” Project, a continuation of the Italian government’s support to Gilgit-Baltistan.

The “Glaciers and Students” Project, is the continuation of the Italian government’s decades-long support to Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan.

The Glacier and Student project is one of the most significant projects in the context of GB that focuses on developing the inventory of all glaciers in northern part of Pakistan. The project envisions to accomplish the following major milestones:

1. Inventory of Major Glaciers in Pakistan i.e. nearly 7200

2. Installation of 08 weather stations at high altitude in Gilgit-Baltistan

3. Training and capacity building of students of the only two universities of GB i.e. Karakoram International University and Baltistan university also involving the faculty of the relevant departments of the both universities

4. Capacity building of the partner institutions including Gilgit Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency and GBDMA etc.

5. Capacity building of the institutions in avalanche rescue and prevention

The world’s largest glacial reserves outside of the polar regions are found in Gilgit Baltistan. This international prominence provides both many opportunities as well as challenges to the area. Apparently, the area is unable to escape the effects of global warming, which can have a significant negative impact on the glaciers and, as a result, the populations in the in the down streams can be the recipients of the rage of the nature.

Yet, in-depth study and studies using technology and scientific techniques are needed to better understand how climate change affects glaciers. Understanding the actual situation can help with policy development and action planning.

The Glacier and Student Project is an extension of the decades-long Italian support for Gilgit Baltistan, which aims to promote scientific studies, promotion of ecotourism, socio-economic development of mountain communities also focusing on supporting women, institutional capacity building, support to the academia, agricultural promotion, cultural conservation etc.

The glacier and students project is implemented with local partners in Gilgit-Baltistan including Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency, Karakoram International University and University of Baltistan. The aim is to enhance collaborations with local institutions, their capacity building, and more importantly to achieve the sustainability of the project. The project is implemented by EvK2CNR and executed by UNDP whereas it is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

Gilgit-Baltistan needs numerous more such projects because of the importance of its fragile ecosystems, abundant natural resources, and disaster-prone communities. Moreover, studies and research on the environment, climate change, and related fields have always been lacking and have just recently gained attention while using relatively limited resources.

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