ICIMOD Highlights Transboundary River Management Agenda in Beijing

A side event hosted by ICIMOD Koshi Basin Programme during 33rd International Geographical Congress

Two side events were organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) during the 33rd International Geographical Congress in Beijing, China 21-25 August 2016. 

ICIMOD’s Koshi Basin Programme (KBP) organised a thematic session on ‘Regional Science Collaboration for Transboundary River Basin Management’ focusing on the transboundary Koshi Basin in the region. Four technical papers were presented from China, India, Nepal and one with a regional perspective, and were followed by an expert panel discussion on strengthening regional collaboration on river basin management. 

In his opening welcome remarks, David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, highlighted the need for transboundary cooperation with a strong focus on translating science to policy. Dr Molden thanked ICIMOD regional member countries for fostering joint and collaborative work in transboundary river management. He also highlighted the need for research on development and partnership. 

Participants highlight on the need for transboundary cooperation, more evidence-based research and translating research into policy

In his welcoming remarks, Liu Yi, Deputy Director of IGSNRR acknowledged the role of ICIMOD in bringing various experts and policy makers together to strengthen regional collaboration on integrated river basin management. Professor Yi expressed his institute’s willingness to further support in south-south collaboration in river basin management, on upstream-downstream linkages, and integrated research for possible policy support in the region. 

As part of the Koshi Basin Programme, Roshani Rai from Nepal, Rajiv Sinha from India and Wu Xue from China made their presentation on various aspects of river basin and ecosystem management. Laxmi Dutt Bhatta from ICIMOD presented a case from Dhankuta, Nepal on the upstream-downstream benefit-sharing Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) as part of Koshi Basin research. Chen Ningsheng from Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment (IMHE), China presented on the experiences of mainstreaming landscape mitigation plan for further collaboration. 

KBP Coordinator, Shahriar Wahid, presented regional level research progress of the transboundary Koshi Basin and partnership in Koshi Basin Programme.  Dr Wahid shared his experience implementing research with a ‘development perspective’ in the Koshi Basin and encouraged embedding research into development and policy planning processes to create maximum impact of research outcomes.

The presentation was moderated by Arun Bhakta Shrestha, ICIMOD’s Senior Climate Change Specialist and was followed by an expert panel discussion on assessing policy making demand for information. Among the panelists included Dr Molden, Rajiv Sinha of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur, India, and Rong Nianhe from Bureau of International Cooperation, National Natural Science Foundation of China. Panelists highlighted the need for further collaboration in integrated river management for collective policy inputs in the region, and south-south dialogue and cooperation to foster active collaboration between experts and policy makers. 

Giving example of Koshi River Basin, Dr Molden said, "Sustainable policy cannot be designed without systematic research, and we need to focus on systematic research with strong partnership and data sharing." Prof Sinha recommended that more concrete evidence-based research was needed for effective communication with politicians, and decision and policy makers. 

Mr Nianhe supported the idea of south-south research cooperation, and added that his foundation would be interested to further collaborate with ICIMOD and other regional partners to strengthen this collaboration.