Training for Partners in Bhutan

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Group photo of trainees with ICIMOD resource personnel
Prof. Khanal explaining development of data dictionary to the participants

A three-day training for Bhutanese partners on vulnerability assessment was conducted from 4 to 6 November 2015 at the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) in Thimphu, Bhutan.  Under the joint project Cryosphere Monitoring Programme-Bhutan (CMP-B), implemented by Department of Hydro-Met Services (DHMS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the event was coordinated by Watershed Management Division (WMD) of DoFPS, and DHMS of Royal Government of Bhutan with resource persons from ICIMOD. 

Climate change impacts on high mountain environments put downstream populations at risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). A 2010 ICIMOD report recorded 34 GLOF events in Nepal, Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) in China, and Bhutan. Recent outburst that occurred on 28 June 2015 from Lemthang Tsho in the Mo Chu catchment in Bhutan proves the threat of GLOFs still loom large. 

GLOFs are catastrophic by nature which brings huge loss of lives and infrastructure. Common management practices in the region are mitigating hazards by reducing water levels in lakes and through enhanced early warning system (EWS). Addressing exposure and vulnerability is rarely practiced in the region. The introduction of disaster risk management requires a holistic approach to manage risk, a practice increasing now increasing with the changing climate. 

Eleven attendees from three different government agencies — Department of Disaster Management, WMD, and Department of Geology and Mines — participated in the training engaged in a socio-economic survey and vulnerability assessment. Sessions included livelihood based vulnerability analysis, overview of data handling and management, analysis methods and approaches, and hands-on learning applying actual data collected in the field. 

CMP-B is a four year project is funded by Royal Norwegian Government through the Cryosphere Initiative of ICIMOD.