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HI-AWARE is one of the four consortia of the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA). It conducts research and pilot interventions, capacity building and policy engagement on climate resilience and adaptation in the mountains and flood plains of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra river basins. Its overall goal is to contribute to increasing the climate resilience and adaptive capacities of the poor and vulnerable women, men, and children living in these river basins, by using the findings from research and pilot intervention outcomes to influence policy and practice that will improve their livelihoods. HI-AWARE is implementing three Work Packages—Knowledge Generation, Research into Use, and Strengthening Expertise—in 12 sites in the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta river basins. The sites are located in Hunza, the Soan River basin, Mona and Sargodha in Pakistan; Garhwal and between Rishikesh and Roorkee in India; Langtang and Nuwakot in Nepal; and the Gandaki floodplain in Nepal; and West and North Sikkim; Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok; and Jalpaiguri district in India. There is also one site in Niphamari district in Bangladesh.
In addition to conducting research on water, energy, food security, human health, water-induced hazards—such as floods, landslides and droughts—and extreme weather events, HI-AWARE is also in the process of testing adaptation measures in observatory labs in these sites and designing adaptation pathways for out-scaling and up-scaling.
HI-AWARE is supported by the UK’s DFID and Canada’s IDRC through the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).
For more information visit the HI-AWARE website.
The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, the source of ten large river systems of Asia, provides water and other ecosystem services to more than 210 million people living in the mountains and over 1.3 billion living in the plains. That is why these sources in the HKH region are also known as the ‘Water Towers of Asia’. Characterised by the youngest, highest and some of the most fragile mountain systems in the world, the HKH region and its glacier- and snow- fed river basins are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Climate change-induced shifts in the timing and pattern of rainfall, especially monsoon rainfall, and of glacier and snow runoff in the region, are already having an impact on water resources, including water availability and energy security across the region. As most of the HKH region, including the Indo-Gangetic plains, is dependent on monsoon rain for agriculture, any changes in the monsoon cycle are going to have implications for food and nutritional security in the region. The impacts of climate change can be especially difficult to cope with for vulnerable populations, many of whom are dependent on subsistent farming. The impacts created by changing weather patterns, for example, can adversely impact agricultural output.
Because of climate change, the frequency and intensity of extreme events such as floods, heat waves, and droughts are projected to increase, with implications for human health and safety, making disaster preparedness and management all the more imperative at all levels. Coupled with demographic and socioeconomic changes, the climate change impacts will affect the lives and livelihoods of over 1.5 billion people living in urban, peri-urban and rural communities in the region and downstream plains in ways that are still little understood. It is the more vulnerable populations –comprising the marginalised, the poor and the women and children – who are usually the hardest hit by extreme events.
Although the people in the region have been coping with or adapting to climate change impacts in their own ways for centuries, this is clearly not enough. Planned adaptation is also needed in addition to the ongoing coping strategies and autonomous adaptation – measures that communities have come up with on their own. Adaptation measures and strategies, based on traditional and indigenous knowledge, and informed by modern science, are needed. However, we do not know enough about the local, seasonal, and sectoral impacts of climate change; nor do we know enough about how people are adapting, and what adaptation measures work – when, for whom, and at what scale.
This is where HI-AWARE comes in, to: Address some of these knowledge gaps as well as influence policy and practice to improve the resilience of people and their systems most vulnerable to climate change.
The HKH region comprises regions with varying topographies and climatic conditions. There is acute need to conduct studies on the ground, collate the findings generated and use them to inform adaptation measures. HI-AWARE will focus its activities in 12 sites that represent a range of climates, altitudes, hydro-meteorological conditions, rural-urban continuums, and socio-economic contexts in four study basins: the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta.
It will conduct research in these sites, including modeling, scoping studies, action research, and randomised control trials. It will test promising adaptation measures in observatory labs at the sites for out-scaling and up-scaling. It will also conduct participatory monitoring and assessments of climate change impacts and adaptation practices. These activities will seek to identify:
Any climate change adaptation measure needs to take into account the variable effects of climate change in different places and the differing capacities of populations. HI-AWARE will thus adopt a comparative, participatory, cross-scalar, trans-disciplinary. gender-inclusive and integrative approach to look at short- and long- term climate trends, physical and social vulnerabilities, and adaptation strategies at various scales.
The HI-AWARE Consortium is led by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand global and local changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while addressing upstream-downstream issues. It is working to develop an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem to improve the living standards of mountain populations and to sustain vital ecosystem services for the billions of people living downstream now, and for the future. More..
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