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Indus Basin Initiative

Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio

ICIMOD’s investment strategy for engagement for SDIP Phase II focuses on ICIMOD’s ‘River Basin Programme (RBP)’ covering three major transboundary basins – the Indus, Ganga (Koshi), and Brahmaputra – using a strategic approach focuses on the interface science-policy-practice, and the multiple uses of water throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).

Current challenges to river basin research include knowledge gaps, increasing disaster risks, climate change, and persisting uncertainties about hydrological processes. ICIMOD’s RBP will fall in line with SDIP-II by generating regional knowledge and feeding it into regional networks and forums while promoting science diplomacy in policy processes. Within four years ICIMOD hopes to achieve improved cooperation for enhanced management of these three transboundary rivers.

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Information and resources on SDIP

Through the SDIP, supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Government of Australia, ICIMOD aims to improve regional evidence-based knowledge on critical challenges faced by transboundary river basins in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) and offer solutions through a river basin approach.

An Innovative Approach to Agricultural Water Management in the Upper Indus Basin: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus at the Local Level
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Investment Strategy for Engagement in SDIP II
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SDIP Phase II Partnership Workshop Report
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Impact, outcomes, intermediary results and expected key outputs

Impact

The desired impact is: improved integrated river basin management, to reduce physical vulnerabilities and improve food and energy security for mountain and downstream communities (women and men) in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region while recognizing upstream interests.

Outcome

The desired outcome is: actionable proposals for integrated water resource management practices and policies, including measures for risk management and for improved and equitable access, particularly for women and girls, to water for energy and food security, formulated, shared, and used by policy makers, the private sector and service agencies at the basin and community levels.

Intermediary results

The following intermediary results of the RBP also serve the aims of SDIP II:
  • Result 1: Evidenced-based knowledge used by service agencies and policy makers for diplomacy, policy advocacy and regional cooperation
  • Result 2: Improved understanding of climate change, climate variability, and their impact on women, men, vulnerable groups, and the environment to support the development of adaptation related policy and practices
  • Result 3: Adaptive capacity of women and men built for risks related to both environmental and socio-economic changes

Expected key outputs

The following key outputs serve the aims of SDIP II:
  • Key Output 1: Regional science-policy-practitioner dialogues, evidence-based policy advocacy, improved communication, forums and networks strengthened for regional, national, and local cooperation
  • Key Output 2: Cutting-edge integrated knowledge produced and solutions developed and made available on climate change and its impacts on water, energy, and food for communities (women and men), practitioners, and governments at community, national, and regional levels, both upstream and downstream
  • Key Output 3: Gender sensitive and equitable innovations are promoted to enhance the adaptive capacities of communities to change on the ground benefiting the poor and vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls

Creation and use of critical new knowledge

This component aspires to generate “cutting edge and integrated knowledge products” for addressing food, water, energy, and climate change issues for upstream and downstream basin populations.

  • Improved basin monitoring and scenario projections
    High resolution climate scenarios generated at basin, sub-basin, and catchment scales lead to better impact assessments. There is high uncertainty regarding the climate scenarios of Indus Basin. Efforts will be made to streamline and harmonize ground based monitoring system in the basin at a regional level, and thus will call for national cooperation on this form of data collection and management. The outputs will result in better knowledge and enhanced capacity of national and regional institutions to assess the impact of climate change and variability to implement appropriate adaptation options.Natural hazards are one of the key drivers of change. At sub-basin and catchments scales they can impact the livelihood of local communities, while at basin scale it can offset the economic growth. Climate change and socio-economic development is likely to increase basin vulnerability to natural hazards. The Indus Regional Flood Information System (RFIS) and Indus Basin Flood Outlook will be piloted to enhance the regional cooperation in flood management at sub-basin and basin levels. In both basins web-enabled operational national level strategic flood information system will be linked to district level Decision Support System for Risk and Response Planning and to locally driven proactive early warning and dissemination system.
  • Scenarios and projections for determining water availability
    Climate change and socio-economic change in river basins is changing and increasing the pressures on water availability for all sectors. In the Indus basin, stakeholders will be able to make robust assessments of current and future water availability under different scenarios. This will allow for better anticipation of adaptation measures needed to sustain agricultural production and water for other uses.More generally, these activities will build awareness among upstream and downstream populations for understanding the potential impacts of climate change, and for develop adaptation measures that improve resilience.
  • Solving spring mysteries
    Springs source water to mountain communities, but the nature of springs remains poorly understood. In the HKH springs appear to be drying, or disappearing, only to reappear in other locations. Restoration of springs and recharge are two critical areas of work at ICIMOD. Our spring studies and practice documentation hopes to strengthen our understanding of springs, and to inform farmers to improve their management of these water sources. Pilot studies currently underway are expected to develop innovations for mountain farmers who rely on springs.
  • Enhancing gender inclusivity in water
    In HKH countries, women are the primary stakeholders in water and sanitation, and as of late, an increasing role in agriculture. However, they continue to have a diminished role in decision-making and knowledge sharing on these issue. This is an unfortunate oversight as their frontline role in water issues can reveal the close inter-linkages between poverty, gender, and development. We are placing a strong emphasis on collecting gender-differentiated data on water to ensure that we develop programs and solutions that are distributed equitably. A comprehensive knowledge base on gender mainstreaming will enable improved policy advocacy for women.

Develop a foundation and mechanisms for regional cooperation

This component is comprised of the means through which to build regional dialogues, improved communication, and advocacy.

  • Scientific knowledge used for diplomacy, policy, and regional cooperation
    The risks posed by environmental stressors such as climate change are common and can only be tackled with common understanding, knowledge sharing, and innovating solutions to address these issues.  Science for diplomacy will strengthen ongoing efforts to bring science into development discussions and create a better knowledge environment for river basin countries to collaborate on water, food, and energy security.
  • Regional Science Network in Upper Indus Basin (UIB)
    The Indus basin lacks coordination between scientists at the national and regional levels. To address this issue ICIMOD supports the Upper Indus Basin Network (UIB) of scientists and policymakers. To enhance this cooperation, ICIMOD acts as a regional knowledge hub for building, sharing, and disseminating of water-related information. We also coordinate with other regional actors such as IWMI, SAWI, and CSIRO. We saw early signs of promise in the UIB at the 2016 Indus conference held in Kathmandu.
  • Establish and enhance gender resources and networks
    The Phase SDIP II intends to build a gender experts database for those people engaged in basin research, and to feed this data into the Women, Gender, Environment, and Mountains network (WGEM), hosted at ICIMOD. The program will maintain a regional database with gender-water-food security related information, and establish dedicated web support to the WGEM network.

Promoting best practices, capacity development, and innovations

The aim of “research into use” at ICIMOD means generating knowledge and practices that develop capacity and drive innovation for addressing the challenges that face mountain people.

  • Enabling innovations in water sector, improving water management and livelihoods
    As conditions change in the mountain and hills, we will focus on innovations that can enhance adaptive capacities and identify emerging livelihood opportunities for mountain people. A few early examples of this work include solar pumps, ICT for agriculture, storing of fresh water for irrigation, and innovations in water efficiencies for agricultural use.
  • Developing basin-wide responsive knowledge
    Exciting new possibilities are opening up for access to data and information for decision-making. In the past ICIMOD has hosted Koshi Basin Information System and Indus Basin Knowledge Platform. In Phase II, ICIMOD will integrate existing web platforms into a River Basin Information System (RBIS) covering the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra basins. As more reliable, up-to-date data becomes increasingly crucial to regional policies, cross-border communication can help pave the way for a healthier, more environmentally-secure future.

SDIP I and SDIP II

Key achievements and activities

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