ICIMOD bags UNFCCC’s ‘Momentum for Change: 2014 Lighthouse Activity Award’ at COP20/CMP10

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ICIMOD’s Community Based Flood Early Warning system (CB-FEWS) received UNFCCC’s‘Momentum for Change: 2014 Lighthouse Activity Award’ under the ICT Solutions category on 10 December 2014 amidst a grand ceremony in Lima, Peru. The award ceremony was inaugurated by Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC.Momentum for Change, an initiative spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat, recognizes innovative and transformative solutions, or ‘lighthouse activities’, that address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges. For 2014, the initiative recognized climate change action in four key areas, one of which was information and communication technology (ICT) solutions. On behalf of Aaranyak, SEE and ICIMOD, Dr David Molden and Neera Shrestha Pradhan from ICIMOD received the award in the presence of Aaranyak and district level representatives from Assam, India.

ICIMOD’s Community Based Flood Early Warning System (CB-FEWS) is a shining example of how ICT can help build communities’ capacity to cope with the effects of climate change. This remarkable initiative is being implemented in the two districts of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji of Assam, India in partnership with Aaranyak, India and Sustainable Eco Engineering (SEE), Nepal under ICIMOD’s Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP). The CB-FEWS makes innovative use of ICT through a social process of networking and information exchange. It uses simple and low cost technology, which includes a wireless transmitter and receiver unit, and voice and SMS service via mobile phones. 

Neera Shrestha Pradhan from ICIMOD provided background information on the CB-FEWSat the UNFCCC Secretariat's side event 'Momentum for Change: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Solutions'. She said the system is people-centered, uses low-cost ICT tools, and is simple enough to be grasped by those at risk.Partha Jyoti Das, who looks afterthe Water Climate and Hazard Programme atAaranyak, stressed that the level of acceptance of particular technologies varies across communities owing totheir diverse cultures and traditions. He shared success stories from Dihiri, India, and said thatenhancing ICT tools andscaling up and scaling out CB-FEWS can pave the way forward.

The UNFCCC Momentum for Change initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.