Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) Priority Setting Workshop on Adaptation Knowledge Gaps in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

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Participants at the LAKI Priority Setting Workshop for the Hindu Kush Himalaya, and the parallel LAKI Priority Setting Workshop for Indian Ocean Island Countries in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Adaptation knowledge gaps have been identified, repeatedly, as a barrier to widespread and successful adaptation actions. The Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) recognises this challenge. Initiated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), LAKI works to address knowledge barriers which impede the implementation and scaling up of adaptation actions. It does so through a participatory process that involves the identification, categorization, and prioritization of knowledge gaps. It is characterized by facilitated science-policy-practice dialogues that catalyse collaborations, and response actions that are implemented to close identified knowledge gaps. LAKI was endorsed and launched by COP20 president Manuel Pulgar-Vidal as a component of a set of actions aimed at further addressing adaptation to climate change under the UNFCCC.

As the regional collaborating agency for the UNFCCC’s Nairobi Work Programme, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), together with UNFCCC and UNEP, organized a LAKI Priority Setting Workshop for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) from 20-22 October at the Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Government agency representatives, academics, and civil society representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan participated in the workshop. They deliberated on identifying the highest-priority knowledge gaps among the 64 that had already been identified in a scoping paper prepared by ICIMOD. A round of discussions helped narrow down the list to 46. Following this work, participants prioritised these gaps using the Delphi methodology. The participants finally identified 16 LAKI Priority Knowledge Gaps across four thematic areas – Agriculture, Water, Forest and Biodiversity, and Health – and expressed interest in taking the process forward. 

Major LAKI gaps identified for the HKH were as follows: 

  • Access to adequate, locally usable knowledge and information on weather and seasonal forecasting to assist farm production operations. 
  • The weak dissemination of evidence, and successful water management practices, adaptation technologies, and water allocation and management during periods of scarcity and abundance. 
  • Lack of access to awareness products and Early Warning Systems for multiple hazards (drought, landslide, debris flow, flood and GLOF) in the Himalaya and downstream communities. 
  • Inadequate information and knowledge on adaptation options and technologies suitable for addressing context specific climate extremes, the impacts and risks for agriculture and the net effect of climate change at local levels. 
  • Limited access to weather and seasonal forecasting data for public health preparedness (heat waves, cold waves, thunderstorms and diseases epidemics).

The results of the Priority Setting Workshop will be presented to the COP in Marrakesh by the UNEP during the reporting of the progress of the LAKI process. The UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) has welcomed the commitment of the UNEP, through its Global Adaptation Network, to engage with partners in order to scale up the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative in other sub regions with a view to removing knowledge gaps. The LAKI Priority Setting Workshop is perhaps the first example of a focused attention by the Convention to addressing adaptation issues specific to the HKH.