Indus Basin Initiative

Focus areas

Regional collaboration

Given the transboundary nature of issues facing the Indus basin, it is imperative that the basin countries work together to achieve shared goals. Strengthening regional collaboration is a major component of our work. We facilitate dialogue, communication, and advocacy among researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and scientists through various networks and research projects.

Regional collaboration

The UIBN is a network of national and international researchers working in the Upper Indus basin. They conduct research on climate, cryosphere, water, hazards, adaptation, and vulnerability. Governed through a Regional Strategic Committee (RSC), the network has established country chapters in all four countries in the Indus Basin – Afghanistan, China, India, and Pakistan. The country chapters have made notable progress in advancing climate change research, government collaboration, and coordination among researchers from different countries. In Afghanistan, the government has expressed willingness to work with the UIBN on issues of climate change and water management. The China chapter is reviewing glacier hazards and mapping debris cover of glaciers in the Hunza Valley of Pakistan, which has opened up avenues for further collaboration between the two country chapters. The India chapter is working to bring out a special issue of a journal focused on the Indus basin; the publication will make climate change issues in the UIB visible to a wider audience.

The Indus Basin Knowledge Forum (IBKF), through its four forums in the past, has brought together researchers, government actors, donors, and other relevant stakeholders to assess the state of knowledge on the Indus basin and explore areas for research and policy development. In these forums, participants have identified policy needs at the country and basin levels and continue to discuss ways to engage the media to communicate scientific research to policy makers. We have established the Indus Forum Working Group to conduct a joint research programme on understanding and assessing the impact of climate change in the Indus basin.

We are working with the SustaIndus project, a collaboration of various institutions, with the goal of achieving Sustainable Development Goals 2, 6, and 7 – related to food, water, and energy in the Indus River basin. We are assessing the combined impacts of climate and socioeconomic changes on water-dependent food and energy resources and developing pathways for increasing the adaptive capacity of local communities. As downstream populations are highly dependent on Indus water resources, such pathways are crucial in helping decision makers set future targets to ensure food, energy, and water security in the basin.

Our research partners include Utrecht University, Wageningen University and Research, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD Pakistan), and Climate Adaptation Services Foundation (CAS).