Adaptation to climate change in Gandaki basin


HI-AWARE – a research programme on adaptation, water and resilience in glacier and snowpack dependent river basins of the region – brought together policy makers and practitioners from Nepal for a two-day workshop to share initial results of research in the Gandaki river basin. “Engaging with policy makers and practitioners is an important way to ensure new research is put to use to improve river basin management in the Hindu Kush Himalayas”, said Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The meeting was jointly organized by ICIMOD and Practical Action in Kathmandu on 10-11 August 2016.

During the meeting, researchers worked with policy makers and practitioners to identify and prioritize suitable adaptation measures for communities living in the Gandaki river basin. The workshop also brought together learning from a series of local-level stakeholder engagement events held in Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Chitwan districts of Nepal earlier in the year.

“Community voices are essential to planning and using HI-AWARE research, and further work is needed to see how climate change impacts affect different sectors such as wate rand agriculture”, said Gehendra Gurung, Practical Action. HI-AWARE research is focused on how people are adapting to climate change processes in the high mountains, midhills, and plains of the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta river basins. Over the two days, researchers from HI-AWARE presented research on biophysical drivers, climate models, and the documentation of successful autonomous and planned adaptation case studies. The findings of this research are important for building the resilience of communities and livelihood systems.

Interactive touch tables were also used to showcase integrated data from HI-AWARE climate models and other studies, allowing policy makers, practitioners, and researchers to identify priority areas and possible adaptation measures together.

Policy makers also shared their experiences and priorities. “In rural villages of Nepal, too much and too little water is a major issue, and policy interventions backed by scientific evidence are needed to improve flood and drought management”, said Gehendra Kesari Upadhyay, Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management.

Five key messages emerged during the consultation:
• Local knowledge needs to be incorporated with scientific knowledge for adaptation planning.
• Engagement with policy makers and practitioners is important to ensure research findings are included in planning and policy making processes.
• Meaningful communication with local communities is important, and research findings should be simplified and translated into Nepali for use by local communities in adaptation planning.
• Vulnerability and hazard mapping and zoning is needed for disaster-prone areas in Nepal.
• The relationships and linkages between upstream, midstream and downstream communities in transboundary river basins need to be further studied.

Gopi Khanal, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, noted that the HI-AWARE findings will be included in the development of a new strategy for urban resilience.

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News and photo by ICIMOD

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