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Indus Basin Initiative
The initiative conducts research and exchanges knowledge on agricultural water and hazard management. It has improved understanding of present and future water availability and use in the basin and improved the resilience of riparian communities in the basin through drought information and early warning about upstream flood situations.
Its activities seek to ensure increased water, food, and energy security in the Indus Basin to benefit the poor and vulnerable, particularly women and girls. The gender approach adopts two folds: gender integration and gender-focused activities. Gender integration is built into activities related to water management and community-based early warning systems.
The initiative is gender-focused and implemented through action research on women’s empowerment through social entrepreneurship. A gender network has been established at basin scale to influence decision-making for gender and social equity. The initiative has launched a water management package of practice and established the Upper Indus Basin Network (UIBN), several community based flood early warning systems (CBFEWS), a drought monitoring system, and a flood outlook in Chenab in collaboration with the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
The initiative has sought alternatives to glacier melt-dependent irrigation, leveraging local partner expertise in agricultural water and hazard management and research. In Morkhun and Popdon (Passu), apple orchards have been established in previously uncultivated land using drip irrigation and mulching enabled by solar lift irrigation sourcing water from the Hunza and Simsal rivers. Future sites will integrate orchards, and vegetable and fodder cultivation. Hydro ram pumps will lift water and a drip system will be used to irrigate fields. A women’s group in Passu has demonstrated sea buckthorn as a riverbank erosion control measure with income generation potential.
The UIBN promotes coordination and collaboration among organizations working in the Upper Indus Basin to improve understanding of present and future water availability, demand, and hazards and develop solutions for various stakeholders from the local to the national level. It is instrumental in exchanging knowledge generated in the UIB through meetings, international conferences, and the Indus Basin Knowledge Forum.
CBFEWS seek to alleviate community vulnerability and strengthen the capacity of communities to deal with upcoming floods. Two CBFEWS have been established—in Sherqilla, a village in Punial Valley of Ghizar, a district in Gilgit-Baltistan and in Dammas—to disseminate flash flood debris flow warnings.
The Chenab flood outlook is being jointly developed by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and ICIMOD. Data preparation, the first step towards developing the flood outlook model, has begun. A week-long interaction at the Flood Forecasting Division, Lahore in November 2017 familiarized PMD with the flood outlook model and the development process, and reinforced ICIMOD’s understanding of the operational flood forecasting models of PMD. The Chenab sub-basins have been delineated. Data is being prepared for the joint development of the flood outlook model.
PMD, in collaboration with ICIMOD’s SERVIR HKH programme and the Indus Basin Initiative, is seeking to support the National Drought Monitoring Center (NDMC) with a drought monitoring service and an information dissemination system by capitalizing on earth observation data. Initial product design documents and field level study plans have been developed. Integration of efforts at regional scale are planned through the South Asian Land Data Assimilation System (SALDAS) and its components. Products generated through SALDAS will be contextualized per national needs, including local level validation, calibration, building and customizing information systems according to local crop calendars.
In collaboration with the SEPLAA Foundation in Pakistan, an action-based research project will identify the social entrepreneurship model approach that contributes towards gendered solutions to address the adverse impacts of climate change on the water-food-energy nexus. This model will either provide a solution to a particular problem or contribute to solutions to the problem and improve women’s decision-making roles at the household and community levels, leading towards gender equitable community resilience. The research explore the effectiveness of these models of social entrepreneurship in creating sustainable green solutions and addressing gender inequalities.
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