1. Looming challenges characterize the HKH as environmental, sociocultural, and economic changes are dynamically impacting livelihoods, environmental conditions, and ultimately sustain- ability. Many challenges for sustainability are related to weak governance, natural resource overexploitation, environmental degradation, certain aspects of unregulated or rapid urbanization, and loss of traditional culture. Addressing these problems will require policy and action at local, national, and international levels, including common action among HKH states.
2. However, for mountain societies of the HKH, some changes may also bring novel opportunities for sustainable development. A range of opportunities lie in improved connectivity including transportation and communication, which increases access to information, partnerships, and markets. Enhanced access to social services may be enabled and strengthened by economic growth and the advancement of science and technology. Additionally, a growing network of local urban centres may support the transmission of new prosperity to rural populations, as the development of mountain towns and cities often can help—besides their mere economic power—to enhance the political influence of these regions within the national states.
3. The drivers of change to environmental, socio-cultural, and economic sustainability in the HKH are interactive, inextricably linked, and increasingly influenced by regional and global developments. Among the most important drivers in this intricate network of causes and effects are demographic changes and current governance systems, as well as land use and land cover change, over-exploitation of natural resources, economic growth and differentiation, and climate change.
Ning Wu, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal; and Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, China,
Review Editor: Marc Foggin