Roundtable on Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of the Upper Indus Basin on 25 January 2013


The second roundtable meeting of the Upper Indus Basin (UIB)-Monitoring Working Group was held at the campus of Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), Islamabad on 25 January 2013 with Mr Khalid Mohtadullah in Chair. Agenda, list of participants and background paper of the presentation are annexed.

Dr Ghulam Rasul, Chief Meteorologist of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) after welcoming participants on behalf of his Director General, in his welcome remarks expressed views on the importance of the UIB initiative for better understanding of water cycle dynamics, hydro-meteorological data generation and climate-hydro-glaciological modelling to develop guidelines for water resources development.

He thanked ICIMOD for being a driving force to bring all stakeholders on board and also thanked Prof Winiger for his vital role in writing the UIB concept note. “The rich experiences of each expert will help to give clear vision to move ahead to the right direction of Indus river basin system, which is the vital lifeline of Pakistan” he further added.

After participants’ introduction, Dr David Molden, Director General (DG) of ICIMOD gave the opening remarks by thanking all the participants who have participated to a meeting even on holiday. He also thanked PMD for hosting a meeting on holiday.

He shared different important meetings and interactions he had with different partners, persons and Pakistan Television (PTV). 

“People of Pakistan have interest on mountains and climate change; partners have requested ICIMOD to support in understanding glacier mass balance, modelling climate change scenarios and to add more hydro-meteorological stations”. He further explained that ICIMOD puts top priority on mountains hydrology, glaciology and climate; for this all partners have to join hands.

He shared the five years’ plan of ICIMOD and its regional programs. River Basin Program focuses on two basins, Koshi and Indus. Koshi river basin program is already in place. ICIMOD is now putting up energy in the Indus basin as ICIMOD has such a good partners in Pakistan, through this partnership a big program proposal can be developed on the Indus basin. He also shared his following vision on Indus;

  • Partnership set up
  • Preparation of background document to move forward
  • Study on climate , hydrology and cryosphere
  • Capacity building
  • Focus on water use i.e. how mountain people use water
  • Focus on bigger Indus basin including China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan

For this, two track approach is required a) data, information and baseline collection and sharing b) proposal development for further studies on hydrology climate, mass balance etc. He concluded his opening remarks with expecting the roundtable will be useful to identifying short term and long term tasks.

Prof Dr Matthias Winiger presented the concept note on “Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of the Upper Indus Basin” (Annex 3).


  • Mr Khalid Mohtadullah, Chair of the UIB Monitoring Working Group explained that proposed program and activity must be supportive to the decision makers, it should be reliable to all stakeholders, PMD is responsible for the maintenance of infrastructures, GCISC is strong in science and universities are also important in research. “UIB Monitoring Working group should have been done more, it had strength but it didn’t move a head satisfactorily, focus should be given to short term and long term plan, many things can be done parallel. Let’s develop trust among participating members to act faster” he further added.
  • WAPDA has high stake on water and wants to know what is happening on climate change, cryosphere, water, snow. How it is going to input on water reservoir? Through its six years program, WAPDA is studying mass balance, planning to reach young people, and want to carryout remote sensing and GIS to know long term water availability. Wants to work in partnership, and already worked in Hunza basin with ICIMOD, can provide data (50 years flow data, and 40-50 years meteorological data) to all the members of working group. Interested to join with ICIMOD’s long term strategy with engaging university students and international experts for the investigation on water availability. Chair person acknowledged the willingness of WAPDA. 
  • WAPDA is collaborating with ICIMOD in HICAP program. The proposed program should also include other parameters for research such as sediment, which is damaging many infrastructures.
  • DG of ICIMOD: Indus basin is the most vulnerable to climate change, that’s why it is chosen to draw attention of global community. ICIMOD is making strategy to expand the research on other sectors including sediment. Need to get connection with mountain communities for knowledge application.
  • WAPDA has plans to lift water with solar panels and demonstrate green houses to the mountain communities.
  • Prof Winiger: For the last 24 years the University of Bonn (GIUB) carried out interdisciplinary research in Gilgit-Baltistan, mainly on environmental issues (climate, vegetation, geomorphology etc.), some include applications aspects as well. Automatic Weather Stations have been installed in selected valleys, some of them still running today. Most research results have been published as Ph.D. thesis (usually in German). Summaries of these publications are available or will be made available in English in a near future. A detailed summary of research activities of GIUB has been distributed to the UIB-Working Group on March 30, 2012.
  • Is data accumulation and sharing issues resolved?
  • Dr Rasul: Many organizations are collecting data on hydrology and climatology that should be shared with different stakeholders to make UIB data available to stakeholders. Density of Hydro-meteorological network should be increased; UIB Climate Change (CC) scenario projection should be carried out. Need to survey all activities and achievements that different organizations are doing to fill in the UIB project. PMD can develop CC scenarios.
  • What is the outcome of the ICIMOD’s capacity building project? Do we need to do more capacity building activities or not? Was data shared?
  • EVK2CNR: Is this meeting group or working group? Data sharing should be done from the beginning, but not done so far, let’s start our activity with data sharing. PMD is doing hydrological modelling, GCM model downscaling EVK2CNR will cooperate on data sharing.
  • WAPDA: EVK2 CNR is coordinating with PMD but working on hydrological model – not matching.
  • Departments didn’t want to talk on data sharing 5-6 years ago, but now they have started taking about data sharing.
  • IUCN is interested to know where water is going after melt. Catchment protection and ecosystem degradation should be studied. IUCN has interest on research and application and will support UIB initiative.
  • Concern of PARC on the concept note: something missing-- peoples’ need should be addressed and land vegetation & local climate system should be incorporated in the concept note with hydrological studies. PMD also agreed to go to the communities.
  • Prof Asif: Involvement of academia was good point that came out in the meeting. Involement of young researchers, students and faculty members with training is required.
  • Mandate, capacity and responsibility of the working group should be clear. For good science regional data is required. ICIMOD should provide cross boundary river data and satellite information.
  • Dr David Molden: ICIMOD has open access data, whatever we get from our partners that is shared.
  • Alamgir Khan, Federal Flood Commission: Lower and other basins of Indus should be included in the studies. We should share application results not only research results.
  • Dr Rasul: PMD is committed to develop program based on the concept note.
  • Representative sites should be selected for the study; possibly three sites taking account of Karakoram anomaly, CC scenario should be developed on basin scale using AR5RCP.  A working group should be composed including geologist, hydrologist, meteorologist and social scientist to help the community. We shall go ahead with Prof Winger’s concept note.
  • Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) would like to see practical proposal. Social science aspect should be taken simultaneously. Field visits are important to know how people are affected by GLOF. ICIMOD should take initiative on developing proposal incorporating social science.


A.    Data sharing

  • PMD:  Committed to share data.
  • EVK2CNR:  Will also share data and cc scenarios.
  • WAPDA: Flow data is sensitive; it can be shared only within the UIB working group. Other data will be shared.
  • Prof Winiger:  By 2013 all information will be shared including short term and long term data, information and Ph.D. thesis. Data and information that is available so far will be shared earlier.

B.    Steering committee

A steering committee of UIB working group consisting of following members has been formed.

  1. Mr Khalid Mohtadullah - Chair
  2. ICIMOD (Dr Jasra) - Secretary
  3. Director General, PMD - Member
  4. Prof Dr Matthia Winiger - Member
  5. WAPDA - Member
  6. Ministry of Climate Change  - Member

Dr David Molden in his concluding remarks mentioned that the meeting was a special moment in which people agreed on steering committee. The steering committee will be helpful in faster collaboration among members of UIB working group. ToR of the steering committee needs to be outlined. The major output of the meeting was an agreement on data sharing, expansion of UIB framework concept. ICIMOD will help in developing the proposal and submitting it to the donors.

Chair appreciated Dr Molden for his availability.

Mr Khalid Mohtadullah

Senior Advisor (ICIMOD),
Upper Indus Basin Research Chair
UIB Secretariat
CIMOD Pakistan Office
Cell: +92-300 8440960