Partnership forum to reduce disasters in the Koshi River Basin

   TwitCount

Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) have signed a letter of Intent for cooperation. Under this arrangement, BSDMA will facilitate cooperation and interaction of the Koshi Basin Program (KBP) of ICIMOD and its key partners with key stakeholders in Bihar. 

To kick start the partnership, BSDMA along with A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS) organized a partners’ forum workshop to understand and discuss disasters, livelihoods, environment and sedimentation issues in the Koshi Basin at the A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS), Patna, Bihar, India on 19 February 2014. 

Mr Anil Kumar Sinha of BSDMA (right) and Dr Shahriar Wahid of ICIMOD signed the Letter of Intent.  Photo: Udayan Mishra/ ICIMOD

Mr Anil Kumar Sinha of BSDMA (right) and Dr Shahriar Wahid of ICIMOD signed the Letter of Intent.

Photo:
 Udayan Mishra/ ICIMOD

Besides ANSISS, other key partners of the forum include the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), New Delhi; Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), New Delhi;  International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo; Commonwealth Scientific Information and Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia; and the Indian Institute Technology Kanpur (IITK)

Under the umbrella of Koshi Basin Program (KBP) being implemented by ICIMOD with financial support of Australian Government, these local, national and International organizations are undertaking a number of studies to understand and address socio-economic, livelihood, environment, sedimentation and disaster related issues in the Koshi Basin. The Koshi originates from the Himalayan mountains in Tibet and flows through, China, Nepal and India.

In his inaugural address, Mr Anil Kumar Sinha, Vice Chairman of BSDMA emphasized the need for a strong regional cooperation to effectively prevent the frequency and intensity of floods in the Koshi Basin. He suggested greater participation of local communities and local ‘panchayats’ in creating evidences, forming guidelines and developing appropriate policies to manage the issues of water management, poverty and disasters in the Koshi Basin. He assured that BSDMA and the state Government of Bihar are strongly committed to share resources if the program wishes to expand its reach with practical and innovative solutions to address disaster risk in the Koshi basin. He also welcomed ICIMOD and its partners from India, Nepal, China and Australia to conduct rigorous research in the Koshi basin and assured full support from BSDMA.

Participants at the forum.  Photo: ANSISS

Participants at the forum 

Photo: 
ANSISS

Director of ANSIS Prof DM Diwakar highlighted the importance of integrating community knowledge, perceptions, and priorities in development planning in the Koshi Basin to empower people to effectively deal with floods and livelihood issues. He also informed that as part of Koshi Basin Program, ANSISS will develop a detailed socio-economic profile of people living in the Koshi Basin, study and analyze food security issues, existing livelihoods, community coping practices, government interventions, emerging alternatives, and future perspectives and policies with relevance to Koshi Basin. 

The institute will also analyze data and evidences to show policy impacts on upstream-downstream cooperation in reducing vulnerabilities and improving socio-economic conditions, and will develop best practice case studies in the areas of local governance and external interventions in addressing livelihoods and socio-economic development of communities in the Koshi Basin. 

Introducing the Koshi Basin Program (KBP), Dr Shahriar Wahid, Coordinator, KBP, ICIMOD, informed that with the support from the Australian Government, ICIMOD and its key national and regional partners initiated the KBP (Phase I) to contribute to inclusive poverty reduction in the Koshi Basin by evaluating the range of possible water-related development pathways through evidence-based decision making and basin-wide cooperation. The overall goal of the Programme is to strengthen community resilience against climate change impacts and water-induced hazards in the Koshi Basin. Mr Hari Krishna Nibanupudi, Senior Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist, ICIMOD informed that the key purpose of the partnership forum is to involve vital stakeholders in the Koshi Basin and integrated their inputs into the Koshi Basin Program from the beginning in order to make the program outputs relevant, acceptable and usable for decision makers. Other experts who spoke on the occasion include Dr Dave Penton, CSIRO; Prof Rajiv Sinha, IIT Kanpur and, Dr Anil Gupta, NIDM.