Experts suggest trans-boundary collaboration for disaster risk reduction in Koshi Basin

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Apr. 24
Experts have urged for a trans-boundary collaboration, including sharing of knowledge and fostering practices that address the trans-boundary scale of disaster for the reduction of disaster risk in the Koshi Basin.
Upstream-downstream linkages in the Koshi Basin can be a basis for shared disasters and provide opportunities for disaster risk reduction and livelihood improvement, they said while deliberating at the International Conference on ‘Mountain development in a context of global change with special focus on the Himalayas’.
Noting that although efforts have been made to improve disaster risk reduction in the basin, the DRR policies lack a multi-hazard risk assessment, they also suggest the institutions and stakeholders in the region collaborating for and adopting a standardised, multi-hazard risk assessment approach.
Wei Deng, Professor at the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment (IMHE), China, said that a robust network should be created among China, Nepal and India in order to study the disaster risks and remedies, livelihoods and environment in the Koshi Basin.
He was speaking at a special session on ‘Climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in the Koshi River Basin’ and Workshop on National Natural Science Foundation China (NSFC) – International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) joint projects.
The region, which is home to about 40 million people, has multi-hazard environment such as floods, landslides and draught.
Disasters in the region often have cascading trans-boundary impact with upstream and downstream linkages. In addition, an increase in the incidence of extreme weather events due to climate change and environmental degradation is expected to magnify the frequency and impact of such disasters, said a note on the topic published by ICIMOD.
Nilhari Neupane of ICIMOD said that women, poor people and marginalised communities are more vulnerable to disasters due to their poor or no access to reliable information of disaster risks and knowledge on coping with the natural hazards.
“Mountainous districts in the Koshi Basin are the most vulnerable followed by the mid-hills and plains. The mountainous and mid-hill districts are more vulnerable in terms of resource stress and ecological security while the plain is more vulnerable in terms of development pressure,” he said.
He also said that the whole basin lacked management capacity, and suggested that adaptation strategies should focus at local and sub-basin characteristics rather than a blanked approach.
Yiping Fang, an expert from IMHE, said that lives, livelihoods and properties were affected by the disasters which might push people into poverty.
Recent studies have concluded that the rural livelihood, which is closely related to the environmental changes, is the key point for the sustainability research of the basin. But rural livelihood in the Koshi River Basin faces the dual challenges from water resources and water disasters.
The local communities are unable to use the water in their benefits such as drinking and irrigation while the out of 21 potentially critical glacial lakes, 18 are in the Koshi basin.
The six-day conference began on Friday will conclude on 26 April.
It is being organised by the Central Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, NSFC, ICIMOD, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, Nepal Geographical Society, Sichuan Geographical Society China, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique France, and Deparrtment of Land Science and Biogeography at Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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