Koshi basin initiative
15 December 2020 to
18 December 2020
The transboundary Koshi River basin – shared by China, India, and Nepal – experiences multiple water-related hazards that affect millions of people each year. To enhance disaster risk reduction in the basin, a collaborative platform – the Koshi Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Hub (KDKH) – was established in December 2018. The KDKH strives to strengthen regional collaboration and deepen the interface among research, policies, and practices. Following KDKH country consultations in India and Nepal and a side meeting in China in 2019, members have been meeting virtually to discuss collaborative activities.
A recently launched report has identified 42 potentially dangerous glacial lakes in the Koshi basin, out of which 24 lie in China and 18 in Nepal. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs of Nepal, this year alone, floods and landslides have taken 337 lives. According to the Bihar Disaster Management Authority, in August alone, 253 people were killed by floods, more than 7.7 million were affected, and almost 700,000 were displaced. With climate change, these hazards are likely to intensify and the basin will face more extreme events in the future. Studies have indicated that the 50-year return period flood will increase by 1.5 to 2 times in the extreme climate change scenarios by the end of the century.
The impacts of disaster risks vary across the Koshi basin countries. Studies have indicated that women, children, and marginalized groups constitute the vast majority affected by disasters. The poorest members of society are adversely affected because they generally live in risk-prone areas and face other disadvantages as a result of high poverty. Existing structural gender inequalities continue to dictate women’s ability to recover from a disaster.
Such disproportionate impacts are compounded by shortcomings in other areas, such as basin scale information, coordination and collaboration between stakeholders for efficient and effective disaster risk reduction, and mutual trust for developing and implementing innovative solutions. There is also a need for gender and socially disaggregated data to promote transformative change in the Koshi basin with regards to resilience building and disaster risk reduction.
The KDKH annual dialogue brings members from the basin countries China, India and Nepal, and beyond to discuss recent research findings and good practices that could inform policies and plans for reducing disaster risks at a transboundary scale. The dialogue provides a platform to bring together institutions and stakeholders to capitalize on mutually beneficial opportunities to build a resilient Koshi basin.
The virtual platform will be organized by the KDKH members and will be open to members by invitation only.
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All timings are in Nepal Standard Time (UTC+05:45).
Session 2B*: Community-based disaster risk management
Session 4B*: Drought
(reporting from parallel sessions)
*Sessions are parallel.
This session will set the overview of the Annual Dialogue and share the summary of the country consultations in Nepal and India and a meeting in China in 2019. We will also hear from high-level speakers from the three countries on how KDKH can support the priorities for disaster risk reduction in the basin countries.
The session aims to share the knowledge and understanding of glacial lakes, and GLOF hazard and risk in the Koshi basin. It also focuses on improving an understanding of different technology and application in reducing GLOF risk. An action plan will be discussed and developed for following years as a collaborative work.
The session aims to present key success stories, replicable practices, and major learnings of CBDRM with the potential for on-the-ground impact and its scalability. It will also focus on addressing the cross-cutting issues such as gender and livelihoods and its integration with CBDRM practices. To support this work, it is important to understand the existing challenges and opportunities within the basin. In this regard, a CBDRM Transboundary Working Group Questionnaire Survey was conducted among the members of the group to better understand and document CBDRM practices and approaches in the basin. The survey responses will be presented at this session.
This session will take stock of the 2020 floods by bringing together experts and conducting an interactive discussion with the participants. It will also explore the dual challenges brought by the global pandemic for reducing flood risks. The session will also include examples of reducing flood risks through technology to link science to practice. A participatory way forward will be developed for the flood transboundary working group.
The transboundary Koshi basin is prone to multiple hazards including landslides and excessive sediment flux, the impacts of which are likely to hamper infrastructure development, ecosystem services as well as the livelihoods and economy of the basin. In this context, the transboundary working group on sedimentation and landslide (TWG-SL) session will update and share the progress of their research activities on landslide and sedimentation aspects in China, India and Nepal, as well as good practices of solutions. The session will also highlight the future outlook for transboundary collaboration on sedimentation and landslide.
Droughts has always been a persistent issue in the Koshi basin and climate change has added to the variability and uncertainties to the issue. This session aims to provide the platform to share current knowledge of drought among China, India and Nepal. This session will also discuss on future transboundary collaboration in the basin by identifying gaps, and how the drought impact can be addressed at local and basin level.
During this plenary session, sessions 2A to 4B will report back and share priorities for transboundary collaboration. A panel from three countries will deliberate on shared priorities for transboundary collaboration and provide further recommendations.
Journalists from the three countries share the major stories reported in the media this year from the Koshi Basin related to the disasters and climate change. They will be exploring how these media stories supported to draw attention to these issues and how it can be enhanced, particularly to support transboundary collaboration. They will also discuss the role of scientific information, and community perspective in media reports and how they can be strengthened.
The session will build consensus on the mission, vision, outcomes and change pathways and the governance of the KDKH with the participants. A panel will deliberate on way forward to strengthen KDKH.
The session will summarize the key points of all the previous sessions and share concluding remarks from key stakeholders.