This side event will take place on Thursday, 23 March 2023 from 2:00-3:15pm EDT in Conference Room 5 of the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Preserving the cryosphere (Earth’s frozen regions, including high mountains) is essential to ensuring freshwater availability and reducing disaster risk. Glaciers and snowpack provide critical sources of water for drinking, agriculture, industry, and hydropower in many mountain and downstream areas. As the cryosphere diminishes due to climate change, these communities face increasing hazards related to flooding, erosion, landslides, and more. Cryosphere melt, including from the polar regions, also contributes to saltwater intrusion, which further threatens global freshwater resources. The melting cryosphere therefore puts billions of lives and livelihoods at risk, along with critical ecosystems and infrastructure – and will continue to do so for many generations.

Yet despite its significance to societies around the world, including those that are far from ice and snow, the cryosphere has too often been marginal to global policymaking. This side event therefore highlights the crucial importance of preserving the global cryosphere for water action, by limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5°C, as well as pathways toward urgently needed adaptation. 

The session will begin with scientific talks on the importance of the global cryosphere to societies worldwide, highlighting projected future impacts of cryosphere melt at different levels of global warming. Scientific talks will be followed by remarks from Government representatives, who will share knowledge and solutions from a national perspective.

This side event is organized by the Kyrgyz Republic, Peru, Nepal, and the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, in coordination with members of the “Ambition on Melting Ice” (AMI) High-level Group.

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Agenda for March 23

14:00 — Opening Remarks

       Mrs. Aida Kasymalieva, Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UN

14:05 — Scientific Evidence for Water Action: Irreversible Implications of Cryosphere Change

       Dr. Morgan Seag, International Cryosphere Climate Initiative. Glacier changes and water management in mountainous and downstream areas

       Dr. Detlef Stammer, World Meteorological Organization. Climate modeling, melting ice, and saltwater incursion into freshwater resources

14:30 — Implementation and Taking Stock: National Perspectives

       Nurlan Aitmurzaev, Special Envoy of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic for Mountains

       Juan Carlos Monter Chirito, Head of the National Water Authority, Peru

       H.E. Amrit Bahadur Rai, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, TBC

15:00 — Q&A

For further information, please contact Morgan Seag, Side Event Manager,