About HI-AWARE work areas

Work areas

The HI-AWARE programme consists of three inter-related Work Packages, which will be implemented at various scales in four study basins: the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta river basins and beyond.

  • Work Package 1, or Generating Knowledge, consisting of five interlinked Research Components, is focused on knowledge generation on climate change impacts, the causes that lead to vulnerability, and adaptation practices and policies;
  • Work Package 2, or Research into Use, will systematically promote the uptake of knowledge and adaptation practices at various scales by practitioners and policymakers, to reduce vulnerabilities of communities and build livelihood resilience; and
  • Work Package 3, or Strengthening Expertise, will build the capacity of researchers, students, and science and policy stakeholder networks to do interdisciplinary research on climate change vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation.

Overview of HI-AWARE programme design

Through proper implementation of these work packages, HI-AWARE intends to bring about changes in the behaviors, attitudes, and practices of its key stakeholders in the way they conduct and use research, apply adaptation measures, and inform policies and decision-making to contribute to improved livelihoods of vulnerable groups in the region.

Generating knowledge

Generating Knowledge (GK) focuses on the generation of scientific knowledge to address major research gaps that are currently preventing the support of planned adaptation, especially in areas such as food and agriculture, energy, health and nutrition, urban habitat, and hazards management. GK, in turn, consists of five inter-related research components.

Research Component 1 (RC1) will focus on biophysical drivers and conditions that lead to people’s being vulnerable to climate change. RC1 will:

  • develop detailed mountain-specific and basin-scale climate change scenarios;
  • improve cryosphere-hydrological modelling to assess significant shifts in river-flow regimes, with an aim to develop water-demand and supply scenarios as well as improve and apply water-food impact models; and
  • help researchers better understand climate change’s impacts on extreme events (heat waves, floods, droughts), and quantify these extremes from climate models and, subsequently, impact models.

Research Component 2 (RC2 will focus on socio-economic, governance and gender drivers and conditions leading to vulnerability to climate change. This component will be conducted in close interaction with RC1, to lay the foundations for assessing and analysing climate change adaptation measures and approaches. It will analyse current livelihood systems (changing occupational structures, agricultural practices, including land-use change; reduced dependence on natural resources; and labour out-migration). It will also include measures needed to sustain and improve these systems.

Research Component 3 (RC3) will focus on monitoring and assessing climate change adaptation practices. RC3 will create robust evidence and improved understanding of the potential of adaptation approaches and practices, including their socioeconomic cost-benefits, from HI-AWARE study basins. RC3 will:

  • review existing climate change adaptation practices and policies, both planned and autonomous, for a variety of sectors and extreme-event types;
  • analyse and prioritise – through consultations with stakeholders – important adaptation practices and policies based on (assumed) criteria such as effectiveness, efficiency, feasibility, flexibility and robustness in handling critical moments;
  • develop robust evidence on the effectiveness and applicability of adaptation practices and policies against region-specific critical moments with regard to agricultural water management, forecasting options for flood risk and agriculture, human health and heat-coping strategies, and alternative energy options; and
  • develop new approaches to conduct inclusive socio-economic cost-benefit analysis of adaptation practices and policies such as the Marginal Cost Method.

Research Component 4 (RC4) will identify and analyse:

  • critical adaptation moments – the times of the year with the highest climate risks – for different sectors and extreme-event types and relate these to the observed climate to understand under what circumstances they occur, and how climate change will affect their timing and duration.
  • adaptation turning points – those points in time when current policies and management practices are no longer effective and alternative strategies have to be considered – for priority adaptation practices and existing policies by sector and location.

Research Component 5 (RC5) will explore adaptation pathways – sequences of policy actions to achieve targets under changing climatic conditions – that offer flexibility by allowing for progressive implementation. RC5 will:

  • explore barriers and opportunities for successful up-scaling of adaptation practices and policies for different sectors and locations;
  • prioritise promising adaptation practices and approaches for different sectors and locations through pair-wise ranking and cost-benefit analysis with a governance dimension; and
  • determine pathways for adaptation policies and practices on a large scale.

Research into Use (RiU) is focused on promoting the uptake of research among key stakeholders, particularly practitioners, policymakers, and vulnerable communities, to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable populations in the region. Whether the research will be used by the stakeholders depends on three overlapping factors: political/policy contexts; strength of evidence; and quality of relationships between policymakers, practitioners, and research communities.

RiU consists of a three-pronged approach:

  • Communication strategy – to tailor and share co-created knowledge products for uptake by target audiences;
  • Strategy for influencing policy – to guide consortium members to better understand the political context in which policy makers operate; help members determine relevant stakeholders as well as the timing and pitch for their science messages; and promote the uptake of HI-AWARE research outcomes into policy/decision-making; and
  • Strategy for influencing practice – to better understand practitioners and their current livelihood systems; to develop evidence and convincing cases for uptake of research outcomes and pilot-tested adaptation measures and approaches; and encourage networking between practitioners and researchers.

Monitoring and evaluation of the used strategies is a continuous process, which should be documented every step of the way, for learning. Mapping and monitoring key indicators corresponding to RiU activities, for example, is only one of many ways of measuring its relative success.

Documentation of RiU will be done at four levels:

  • Level 1 – Research dissemination (e.g. number of downloads, number of publications shared, extent of media coverage);
  • Level 2 – Research communication or evidence that research studies are being used to catalyse discussions (e.g. citation indices, people reporting that they have been influenced by the study, discussions on social media or newspapers);
  • Level 3 – Research uptake or evidence of practical use (e.g. new legislation passed, changes in practice on the ground, etc); and
  • Level 4 – Impact (e.g. enhanced adaptive capacities, climate resilience, or improved livelihoods). This will be difficult to track and measure in the lifetime of the HI-AWARE initiative.
Strenghthening Expertise

Strengthening Expertise (SE) is focused on building the capacity of MSc/PhD students, research institutes and NGOs from the region for conducting interdisciplinary research on climate change vulnerability, adaptation and resilience. Under SE, HI-AWARE will organise an annual Science-Policy Dialogue on a rotational basis in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, to bring together key stakeholders, including researchers and policymakers, working on climate change adaptation. It will also organise gender-sensitivity training sessions and climate change vulnerability and adaptation workshops in the study sites for stakeholders to foster common understanding of critical Hi-AWARE issues, including challenges and opportunities.