Charged multivesicular body protein 1A (CHMP1A; also known as chromatin-modifying protein 1A) is a member of the ESCRT-III (endosomal sorting complex required for transport-III) complex but is also suggested to localize to the nuclear matrix and regulate chromatin structure. Here, we show that loss-of-function mutations in human CHMP1A cause reduced cerebellar size (pontocerebellar hypoplasia) and reduced cerebral cortical size (microcephaly). CHMP1A-mutant cells show impaired proliferation, with increased expression of INK4A, a negative regulator of stem cell proliferation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation suggests loss of the normal INK4A repression by BMI in these cells. Morpholino-based knockdown of zebrafish chmp1a resulted in brain defects resembling those seen after bmi1a and bmi1b knockdown, which were partially rescued by INK4A ortholog knockdown, further supporting links between CHMP1A and BMI1-mediated regulation of INK4A. Our results suggest that CHMP1A serves as a critical link between cytoplasmic signals and BMI1-mediated chromatin modifications that regulate proliferation of central nervous system progenitor cells.