Nepalese cabinet holds meeting on Mt Everest

Nepalese cabinet holds meeting on Mt Everest


Nepal's Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, center, and members of the cabinet raise hands in favor of a document to highlight the negative impacts of global warming on Mount Everest, seen in the background, during a special cabinet meeting at Kalapatthar in Nepal, Friday. AP

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and 23 other cabinet ministers travelled to the Kalapathar plateau, 17,200 feet up in the Himalayas, by helicopter for the meeting.

Nepal's top politicians strapped on oxygen tanks Friday and held a Cabinet meeting amid the frigid, thin air of Mount Everest to highlight the danger global warming poses to glaciers ahead of next week's international climate change talks. Kalapathar is a flat area at an altitude of 17,192 feet (5,250 meters) next to Everest base camp, the jumping point for climbers seeking to scale the peak.

Through this cabinet meeting, Nepal has drawn the attention of the industrialised countries how their activities are contributing to global warming that could cause devastating effects in the Himalayan region which support the life of 1.3 billion people.

The glaciers formed by the melting Himalayas could disappear within decades, bringing drought to large swathes of Asia, where millions of people depend on rivers that originate from Himalayas.

"The glaciers are melting due to global warming, that has become a critical issue and we want to draw global attention to it," Environment Minister Thakur Sharma said ahead of the meeting.
The meeting has endorsed Nepal's agenda to be presented at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference starting next week and declared Gaurishanker-Apinapa region as a new conservation area, according to officials.

The unique meeting of Nepalese government comes after the Maldives cabinet met underwater in October to symbolically flag the threat of global warming ahead of the crucial Copenhagen Summit.
The government of the Maldives had held the underwater cabinet meeting in a bid to draw global attention towards the rising sea levels that threaten the existence of the island country.

Besides ministers, more than 100 people including journalists, environment experts, doctors and security personnel were also present at the base camp to witness the cabinet meeting.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks playing traditional drums gathered in Syangboche, site of the highest landing strip in the Himalayas, to welcome the ministers when they return from Kalapattar.
Prime Minister Madhav Nepal is scheduled to address a press conference at Syangboche later in the day.

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