The first Working Group meeting on Himalayan Glaciology was hosted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) at Kathmandu, Nepal on 29 March 1996. The inaugural session was presided by Mr Egbert Pelinck, Director General ICIMOD. Dr Syed I Hasnain, Chairman of the Working Group has welcomed the gathering and presented a brief historical perspective of the Himalayan glaciology. He observed that the glaciers of Himalayan-karakoram region are the source of major rivers in south Asia. All of them have about 60 to 70 per cent snow and ice melt component in their runoff. The mountain valleys and adjacent downstream plains are often affected either by drought or floods. Perhaps the main reason why we failed to tackle these problems effectively is our poor understanding in glaciological and meteorological parameters above 4000 meters. Considering the serious inadequacy of present and past data from Himalayan-Karakoram regions, future changes in hydrologic regimes of the snow and ice melt fed rivers will be difficult to understand in view of global climate change and local changes in the Himalayan environment. Mr L A Mandalia, water specialist from UNESCO Regional Office, Delhi, India has emphasized the importance of Himalaya in the regional water resource development. He lauded the ICSI efforts in focusing the attention on Himalaya. He also informed that a FRIEND type of project has recently been approved for the development of water resources in the Hindu Kush - Himalayan region. The project will soon be operational.
Mr Pelinck in his presidential remarks has asked the WORKING GROUP to address the problem of scientific information in the field of hydropower development. He said that ICIMOD is not directly involved in snow and glacier studies, but doing extensive research work in water resources, climate change, water harvesting. The Director General of ICIMOD has offered the services of the center as a facilitator in any kind of Himalayan regional activity.
The Working Group members from India, Pakistan, and Nepal has presented detailed glacier related research in their respective countries since the middle of 19th Century. Unfortunately none of the members of the working group from China could attend the meeting.
After formal presentation the members of the Working Group have deliberated at length on the various chapters to be included in the proposed IAHS red book on Himalayan glaciology to be published by IAHS press in 1998. It was resolved that the chapters will be written countrywise detailing the past and present status of snow and glacier related research.