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Release of research report on

Inventory of glacial lakes and identification of potentially dangerous glacial lakes in the Koshi, Gandaki, and Karnali river basins of Nepal, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, and India

Venue

Online (Zoom)

Date

07 September 2020

Glacial lakes inventory report

Most Himalayan glaciers are rapidly melting and shrinking, concurrent with the warming climate. The rapid shrinking and retreating of glaciers not only impacts water resources and hydrological processes, but also influences the formation and expansion of glacial lakes, increasing the risk of GLOFs.

Tarkading glacier tshorolpa

HimalDoc

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Imja glacier

UNDP Nepal

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Resources

Background

Glaciers and glacial lakes are major sources of fresh water in the Hindu Kush Himalaya and have important linkages with ecosystem services and livelihoods. Himalayan glaciers are vulnerable to the warming climate and have been melting and retreating at unprecedented rates since the mid-20th century, impacting flow regimes in major river basins. These changes lead to the formation of new glacial lakes as well as the expansion of existing glacial lakes, increasing the risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs).

Historically, GLOFs have had catastrophic consequences in Nepal – directly and through cascading impacts (landslides, erosion, and sedimentation) – leading to the loss of lives and livestock and damaging infrastructure and transportation routes. Twenty-six GLOF events have been recorded in Nepal since 1977, and 11 of these have had transboundary impacts.

Recorded information on GLOF events shows an increment in the frequency and magnitude of these disasters in recent decades. If current warming trends and unchecked developmental activities continue, the occurrence of GLOFs and other glacial hazards could escalate, adversely impacting water availability. However, GLOF risk can be minimized by thoroughly investigating the spatial and temporal development of glacial lakes, identifying potential GLOF risks, and planning systematic and appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures.

Accordingly, ICIMOD and UNDP Nepal have prepared a comprehensive inventory of glacial lakes and identified the potentially dangerous glacial lakes in major river basins of Nepal, including the upper reach of these basins from the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and India. The research was conducted to support the Green Climate Fund (GCF) project proposal formulation led by UNDP Nepal.

During the event, major research findings will be shared and the research report will be publicly launched.

Tentative programme 

(Moderator: Arun Shrestha, ICIMOD)

Time  Programme  Speakers/resource persons 
13:20–13:30 Registration  
13:30–13:35 Welcome and introduction to the programme Arun Shrestha, ICIMOD
13:35–15:55 Presentation on context and

key findings of the study

Deepak KC, UNDP and

Sudan Maharjan, ICIMOD

13:55–14:00 Launch of report David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD

Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labé, Resident Representative, UNDP

14:00–14:20 Remarks David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD

Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labé, Resident Representative, UNDP

14:20–14:40 Q&A session Facilitator: Arun Shrestha, ICIMOD
14:40– 14:50 Closing remarks and vote of thanks  Vijaya P Singh, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP
For more information:

ICIMOD:

Sudan Bikash Maharjan – sudan.maharjan@icimod.org

Arun Shrestha – arun.shrestha@icimod.org

UNDP:

Deepak KC – deepak.kc@undp.org