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1 Jun 2018 | News

Knowledge hub proposed for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Koshi basin

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As part of a wider effort between Nepal, India, and China to strengthen disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the Koshi basin, 50 scientists, decision-makers, and practitioners from China and Nepal unanimously agreed on 23 April 2018 to establish a DRR knowledge hub. In a special session on “Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk management in the Koshi River Basin,” they decided unanimously that the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) would take the lead in this initiative. (Experts and practitioners from India had voiced this sentiment and the need for a knowledge hub during a satellite event of a larger resilience conference in December.) A series of discussions and workshops identified major challenges and concrete steps to address them. Sector experts have long highlighted the need to bridge knowledge and information gaps within the basin, through progressively downstream areas in China, Nepal, and India.

The session was organized by ICIMOD and the Institute of Mountain Hazard and Environment (IMHE) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) at Hotel Himalaya in Kathmandu. It was designed to increase regional understanding of water-related disasters and rural livelihood adaptation in the basin. It also helped identify areas for regional collaboration in DRR policy, research, and practice. Representatives from China and Nepal deliberated on past efforts, progress, gaps, and ways forward to strengthen regional collaboration on DRR and sustainable livelihoods. Key common priority areas that emerged were: the need to build trust among scientists, government, and practitioners; the need to amend key policies with existing knowledge gaps, especially with regard to gender; and the need to map key partnerships for regional cooperation and DRR at different levels of governance and across borders. Other priorities included the need for upstream and downstream countries to work collectively to influence policymakers and the need to engage different stakeholders (especially government) and to ensure that existing/emerging knowledge is relevant to them. Finally, participants stressed the need to develop joint research projects and present common results. Professor Deng Wei from IMHE reiterated the urgency of developing such a resource, starting with a five-year Action Plan, as early as possible.

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