Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nepal - picking up where the Maldives left off ...

On October 17th the Maldives, the world's lowest-lying nation, organized a historical cabinet meeting under water. President Mohammed Nasheed and 13 other government officials donned scuba diving suits and took their seats at a table on the ocean floor — 20 feet under the surface of a lagoon.

Nepal is following in the Maldives' footsteps with an action of their own -- Nepal has announced that it will organize a cabinet meeting at the base camp of Mount Everest -- the highest peak of the world -- in order to draw global attention to climate change and the problem of melting glaciers in the Himalayas.

Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes whose walls could burst and flood villages below. Melting ice and snow also make the routes for mountaineers less stable and more difficult to follow.

Nepal has set a special date for the ministerial meeting. It is the 11th day of the 11th month and if the numbers of the year 2009 are also summed up it will be 11. There are chances that the meeting will also start at 11 in the morning.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and other Cabinet members will fly by plane to the 17,400-foot camp, the starting point for mountaineers attempting to climb the world's highest mountain. Prime Minister and other ministers will meet at the base camp. (Oxygen masks will be on-hand, if needed.)

Separate from this action, a renowned Everest climber said he and mountaineering colleagues are planning to travel to Copenhagen next month to highlight the impact of climate change on the mountains. Appa, a Nepalese Sherpa guide who has scaled the 29,035-foot peak 19 times, said climbers from all over the world will join the campaign.

The Nepalese meeting on Mount Everest (which is not funded by the government, but by an outside organization) will endorse the declaration that is going to be presented at the "Summiteers' Summit" at Copenhagen on December 11, 2009 to raise the awareness of impacts of climate change in the Himalayas. Nepal will declare it a green zone and ask international support for this declaration.

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