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26 May 2015 | News

ICIMOD raises mountain issues at World Water Forum

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The 7th World Water Forum was held from 12-17 April 2015 in Daegu and Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea, with the theme ‘Water for the Future.’ Director GeneralDr David Molden led a three-member ICIMOD delegation. The ICIMOD delegates actively participated as presenters and panelists in seven sessions, high level panel discussions, and roundtables. ICIMOD also organized a session of its own.

At the high level panel on ‘Future of World’s Waters beyond 2030’ organized by the World Water Council, Dr Molden spoke on the likely flow conditions and their development implications due to climate change for the rivers originating from the Hindu Kush mountains. He also made a statement – ‘The state and fate of water flows from the changing Hindu Kush Himalayas’ – on ‘Mountains – The Water Towers Facing Climate Change’ session organized by Mountain Partnership.

ICIMOD organized a session titled ‘Building Resilience to Water Related Disasters’ in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), Global Water Partnership,International Centre for Hazard Risk Management (ICHARM), United Nations ESCAP,Water Youth Network, Arghyam India, and CMES China. Dr Molden chaired and delivered the keynote address at the session. The central message of Dr Molden’s keynote was that in order to build resilience, it is essential to ensure effective risk governance by building a supportive interface between government policies and programs and the climate adaptation initiatives adopted by communities at the local level. For the arrangements to be effective, it would require the development of a mechanism for communication between the government decision-makers and local communities.

APWF Governing Council Chair Ravi Narayanan delivered a special address on the last mile challenges to resilience building. He highlighted the need to build inclusive institutions that adopt participatory processes built on transparency and trust and the need to transfer, diffuse, and spread out knowledge and information conducive to adaptation and resilience building at the local level.

Current advisor and former Director of ICHARM Professor Kuniyoshi Takeuchi noted that risk governance is one of the four priorities of action in the Sendai Declaration of March 2015 made at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

At the same session, ICIMOD’s Senior Advisor Dr Ramesh Vaidya moderated the discussions on four case studies on flash floods, mountain springs, agricultural insurance, and water governance. Other participants presented case studies on building resilience to flash flood in the mountains, building resilience to drying springs in the mountains, good water governance, and index-based weather insurance. The key messages of the session were:  (1) Emerging technologies and strengthened ‘end-to-end’ information systems can build flood resilience; (2) Index-based weather insurance can support improved drought resilience;  (3) Evidence-based risk assessments is essential in promoting water-related disaster  risk management; (4) Better understanding of spring hydrogeology and improving local water governance can help revive drying springs and build resilience to seasonal water shortages; and (5) Linking government water policies with local adaptation strategies can build resilience to water stress.

ICIMOD also participated in the Asia-Pacific regional sessions led by UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO). Dr Molden moderated the session on Water and Food Security organized by FAO, in which ICIMOD’s Regional Programme Manager Dr Arun Bhakta Shrestha made a presentation on mountain springs. At the session on ‘SMART Implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)’ organized by NARBO, Dr Shrestha made a panel statement on closing the knowledge and competency gaps to implement IWRM drawing on the experiences from the Koshi basin.

Finally, ICIMOD participated in two synthesis sessions – a global one on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, and a regional one on the Asia-Pacific region.  At the closing of the inter-regional Day on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation organized by the International Office for Water, Dr Molden made his panel statement on risk governance in the Asia-Pacific region and Dr Vaidya made a presentation on adaptation measures for floods and droughts. And at the synthesis session organized by the Asia-Pacific Water Forum, Dr Vaidya presented the key messages of the ICIMOD session on ‘Building Resilience to Water Related Disasters’.

ICIMOD’s active participation at the 7th World Water Forum raised the awareness of the international community on the problems of mountains and its people in the context of changing climate, especially in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, and potential solutions for climate change adaptation and resilience building.

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