Finland supports ICIMOD to establish a regional flood information system in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region

22 Dec 2009


Kathmandu, 22nd December 2009 - The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Finland signed an agreement on 15th December on a collaborative project to establish a regional flood information system in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. Finland is providing a maximum of 2 million Euros over three years (2009- 2012) for the project which will be implemented by ICIMOD in close collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the six regional partner countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The project builds on the results of a preliminary phase, studies, and consultative meetings with country representatives carried out from 2001 to 2005 that was sponsored by the US Department of State’s Regional Environment Office for South Asia and the US Agency for International Development’s Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).

The long-term goal is to minimise loss of lives and livelihoods by providing timely warning of floods and thus reducing flood vulnerability in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, in particular in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Indus river basins. The project aims overall to develop and strengthen a regional framework for cooperation on sharing flood data and information amongst participating countries, and will develop a commonly agreed platform for timely exchange of flood data and information within and among participating countries. ICIMOD, working closely with WMO and the partner countries, will also establish a flood observation network in selected river basins. The aim is to facilitate sharing of real time or near real time data by regional and national flood information systems and thereby improve the lead time for taking risk reduction measures. The technical capacity of partner organisations on flood forecasting and communication aspects will be enhanced, and resources provided to procure the necessary equipment for rainfall and flow measurements at selected sites.

The incidence and intensity of water-related hazards and disasters are expected to increase in the Himalayan region as a result of climate change leading to more frequent and damaging cycles of floods and drought, and the need for a timely and reliable early warning system is increasing. The regional flood information system developed under the new project will help improve flood forecasting and disaster preparedness, improve regional cooperation in flood risk reduction, strengthen upstream-downstream linkages, and contribute to reducing loss of lives and livelihoods.

For further information contact:
Ms Nira Gurung
Communications Officer