Consultative Workshop - Landslide Inventory, Risk Assessment and Mitigation in Nepal

Nepal is a country where mountain terrain covers more than 80 percent of its land area and is naturally prone to soil erosion and landslides. Landslides pose a serious issue. Not only do landslides impact land productivity due to loss of mountain landmass but they also affect settlements resulting in loss of lives and properties. Due to low agricultural production in many districts, people are obliged to import food and many rely on remittances from out-migration. The earthquake of 25 April 2015 and numerous heavy aftershocks have severely affected people in the mountain communities whilst the monsoonal rains continue to trigger new landslides, creating new threats to human security.

Established in 1974, the Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM), Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MOFSC) is the principal authority mandated for conducting soil conservation and watershed management in Nepal. DSCWM provides services to all 75 districts from its 61 District Soil Conservation Offices (DSCO). The main objectives of DSCWM include: assisting in maintaining ecological balance by reducing pressure from natural hazards such as floods, landslides and soil erosion through conservation and development of important watersheds of the country; maintaining land productivity, reducing soil erosion and contributing to the development of infrastructure protection by integrated management of watersheds. Additionally, the Department of Water Induced Disaster Prevention (DWIDP) is engaged in landslide issues and river training activities. Other line agencies, such as the Department of Roads (DOR), are involved in dealing with road slope stabilisation. 

In addition to government agencies, a number of international institutions, such as the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Nepal) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Nepal), are active in monitoring and assessing landslides but are not directly involved in the landslide treatment/slope stabilisation. UNEP, UNDP and FAO have been long-term partners in assisting DSCWM. In addition, national, regional and international universities and scientific institutions have also been conducting research linked to earthquakes in Nepal, including landslide inventories.
Many of these institutions are also planning to initiate landslide hazard mapping, risk assessments and restoration activities in the future. Data on landslides are being collected with little coordination or common methodologies, leading to a range of landslide mapping of various qualities and duplications.  Therefore DWSCM proposes to organise a consultation workshop in Kathmandu 28-29 September 2015 with all relevant government, non-government, academic and international agencies expecting to receive some useful inputs on the standardising of landslide inventory methods and of landslide hazard, vulnerability and risk mapping methodologies in the Nepalese context. It is also expected to discuss the creation of a common platform for data sharing and coordination on landslide inventories to improve the effectiveness of hazard and risk assessments and assist future mitigation efforts of Government of Nepal.

Objectives of the Workshop:
  1. Bring together a wide range of stakeholders currently involved or planning to get involved in the field of landslide inventorying, hazard mapping, risk assessment, research or restoration in Nepal;
  2. Present currently available information on the landslide inventory, hazard mapping, risk assessment and restoration measures;
  3. Discuss various scientific approaches to inventorying, hazard mapping, risk assessment, research and restoration measures and recommend the most suitable options; and
  4. Create a platform for data sharing and continued collaboration.