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Workshop on Water-Livelihoods-Gender Nexus to Advance Koshi Basin Management


Koshi Basin


Hotel Himalaya, Lalitpur, Nepal

Date & Time

24 March 2016 to 25 March 2016

Shahriar M. Wahid, Golam Rasul

Organisers and co-organisers

Department of Irrigation and Department of Agriculture, Government of Nepal

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

International Water Management Institute

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Trust



Koshi River basin, a trans-boundary basin spread across China, Nepal and India, supports the livelihoods of nearly 40 million people by providing irrigation, domestic water and has a large potential for hydropower development.

Most rural people in Koshi basin depend on traditional agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods. Major drivers of change such as market, demographic changes, migration and climate change have significant impact on water resources and ultimately on the livelihoods of the basin people. Some shifts are being observed in livelihoods patterns with a major increase in the commercialisation of agriculture, and the subsistence farming has been replaced by cash crops. There is a trend of growing number of male out-migration for overseas work. Although remittance income contributes to the local economy, the work burden for most women has increased in the absence of a large male workforce. Women bear more responsibilities both within and outside their households, especially with regard to agricultural work and managing water for irrigation.

A number of initiatives have been undertaken by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Department of Irrigation (DOI), the Department of Agriculture (DOA), the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation to generate evidence-based knowledge, build capacity of communities and support policy formulation to adapt to changing climate and water conditions.

A two-day workshop ’Water-Livelihoods-Gender Nexus to Advance Koshi Basin Management’ is jointly organized by DoI and DOA, the Government of Nepal, hosted by ICIMOD and CSIRO, and supported by DFAT, Australia. DoI has a mandate to manage and monitor different modes of environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable irrigation and drainage systems. Its ultimate aim is to increase the agricultural productivity by expanding irrigable area and providing year-round irrigation, which eventually contributes to the national GDP and improves the standard of living of beneficiary farmers. Apart from this, DoI also intervenes in the river basin to protect the floodways, floodplains and agricultural lands in the form of river bank protection to minimise damage to properties from floods. Similarly, DOA is responsible for the overall growth and development of the agriculture sector. This sector contributes a significant share in Nepal’s economy. The broader objective of this department is to achieve food security and poverty alleviation by transformation of agriculture through diversification and commercialisation.

This workshop aims to synergise efforts, discuss the creation of a common platform for knowledge sharing and coordination on water-livelihoods gender nexus and improve the effectiveness of nexus assessments and policy support to Government of Nepal and India.

Objectives of the workshop

The main objective of the workshop is to improve the understanding of water in socio-economic and livelihoods context with special focus on gender aspects of the Koshi River basin. The workshop specifically aims to:

    • Bring together national and international partners and stakeholders involved in water-livelihoods-gender related knowledge and capacity development initiatives in the Koshi basin
    • Present the on-going research outcomes and improve the understanding of livelihoods and gender issues in connection with water resources management in the Koshi basin.
    • Draw policy recommendations based on the co-learning among the stakeholders.
    • Create a platform for knowledge sharing and improved communication for evidence based policy support.

Expected outcomes 

  1. A common understanding among partners of emerging knowledge and tools to improve livelihoods and gendered development outcomes in the Koshi basin
  2. Improved communication and networking among the different actors working in the Koshi, produce synergy and reduce the duplications
  3. Policy recommendations based on the co-learning from the stakeholders engaged in Koshi
  4. Possible formation of knowledge sharing platform