Third UIBN–AC meeting commits to strengthening research collaboration in the Upper Indus basin


A science-based regional platform like the Upper Indus Basin Network (UIBN) can play an important role in helping understand present and future water availability, demand, and hazards and develop solutions for various stakeholders. It can also foster coordination among researchers working in the region to share their experiences, knowledge, and understanding to be able to effectively deal with the effects of climate change on the water resources and address upstream–downstream linkages.

To further this network’s influence, the third iteration of the Upper Indus Basin Network – Afghanistan Chapter (UIBN–AC) Meeting was organized at the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) office in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 15 July 2019. The main objective of this meeting was to update the Afghanistan Chapter members on the progress of each technical working group (TWG). Seventeen participants representing MEW; Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL); Kabul University; Kabul Polytechnic University; Afghanistan Meteorological Department; and ICIMOD participated in the meeting. 

Participants of the third UIBN–AC Meeting provided updates on developments. (Photo: Ayub Shinwari/ICIMOD)

Farhad Noorzi, Director, Water Programmes Department, highlighted the importance of organizing regular chapter meetings. He emphasized on the increased engagement of academia in the network and shared that the TWGs shall not be limited to leads and co-leads only; more members will be involved in the TWGs. Tayib Bromand, Co-coordinator, UIBN–AC, updated the participants on the Regional UIBN Meeting held in Kathmandu in January 2019. 

Participants of the UIBN–AC proposed that given the contextual demand in Afghanistan, TWG 4 (Surface and groundwater hydrology, water availability and demand) should be split into two different groups – (1) Surface water and (2) Ground water. (There are different departments for each in the country.) All participants accepted the proposal. The decision to appoint Fayezurahman Azizi as an Advisor to replace the Fazal Haq Bakhtari was also agreed upon by all participants. New members were also included in TWGs for expansive coverage of topics. 

The leads and co-leads of TWGs reported on the progress in their respective groups. Fazlullah Durrani, Lead of TWG 1 shared that the group has arranged meetings with different ministries and other development agencies such as MAIL, MEW, and the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) to work on the mechanism of data collection, quality, and standardization. This group is also working on data sharing among different government and non-governmental organizations.

TWG leads and co-leads shared the progress made in their own thematic areas. (Photo: Ayub Shinwari/ICIMOD)

The following TWGs also presented on their progress: 

  1. National alarming signal on ground water shortage and ground water quality of Kabul City – Naim Eqrar, member, TWG 4

  2. Hydrological modelling of Ghorband River sub-basin using J2000 – Tayib Bromand, Co-coordinator, UIBN-AC

  3. Climate change impact on precipitation in Kabul River basin – Fazlullah Durrani, Lead, TWG 1

Noor Ahmad Akhunzadah, Lead, TWG 2, will also share his presentation, tentatively during the first week of August, with the UIBN–AC’s coordinator and co-coordinator. They will then select the two best presentations, which will be presented during the UIBN’s Regional Steering Committee Meeting 26 and 27 August 2019.