4th December 2009
Nepal held the world's highest Cabinet meeting today as ministers wearing oxygen masks gathered on the slopes of Mount Everest to highlight the danger that global warming poses to Himalayan glaciers.
The 23 Cabinet members, also wearing purple sashes reading "Save the Himalayas", sat at folding tables next to the Everest base camp at Kalapathar at an altitude of 17,192ft (5,250 metres). They signed a commitment to tighten environmental regulations and expand protected areas before flying back to Kathmandu.
"The Everest declaration was a message to minimize the negative impact of climate change on Mount Everest and other Himalayan mountains", said Madhav Kumar Nepal, the Prime Minister of Nepal.
Dipak Bohara, the Forest Minister, said that the event was designed "to get the world's attention on the impact global warming is having on underdeveloped countries" before the climate change conference in Copenhagen.
He said that Nepal would urge wealthy countries to commit 1.5 per cent of their earnings to help poorer nations to protect the environment. The 10-point Everest Declaration the cabinet adopted includes increasing the protected area of Nepal's land from 20 percent to 25 percent, developing communities' capacity to cope with climate change and working together with other countries to mitigate the impact of global warming.
The declaration also supported developed countries' plans to contribute 1.5 percent of GDP to a climate fund and bring down greenhouse gases to pre-industrialization levels.
The country is also sending some of its most famous Everest climbers on the leadership of Wongchu Sherpa President of Everest Summitteers Association to highlight the challenges facing Nepal, such as floods from glacier melting, erratic rains, longer dry spells and unprecedented forest fires.
The Kalapathar cabinet meeting is organized by Everest Summitteers Association.