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13 Aug 2018 | Indus Basin Initiative

Managing Systems Under Stress: Solutions Presented at Third Indus Basin Knowledge Forum

The third Indus Basin Knowledge Forum (IBKF) facilitated interaction and potential collaboration between researchers and funders of water-related work in the Indus basin. It revisited progress made on the 10-point action plan for strengthening knowledge on the Indus basin endorsed at the Second IBKF in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2017.

The theme of the IBKF in 2018 was “managing systems under stress: science for solutions in the Indus basin”. The event provided an opportunity to share and solicit inputs on the Scenario Workshop for the Indus Basin, which was developed with basin stakeholders involved in Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy and Lane (ISWEL)—a project at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA).

Jointly organized by IIASA, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and the World Bank, the IBKF brought together 90 participants from Indus basin riparian countries Afghanistan, China, India, and Pakistan.

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Speaking at the event, David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, spoke of the challenges mountain communities face—climate change, environmental degradation, ecosystem degradation, and migration. He said that as physical meeting places for multiple countries mountains have the potential to foster regional cooperation to jointly address complex issues.

Senior climate specialist at ICIMOD Arun Bhakta Shrestha, Programme Manager for River Basins and Cryosphere, facilitated a session with Barbara Willaarts, Project Manager of ISWEL. It focused on research for policy and practice, highlighted current water-related research being conducted in the Indus Basin and the way forward in terms of linking them with policy processes. It concluded that scientific inputs should factor at the decision-making stage and used to justify decisions once taken. It also suggested that research should focus on how best to communicate issues to all parties involved. The need for a focus on action and tailored dissemination processes was also highlighted.

At the forum, speakers from the Indus Basin and global academic and implementation agencies spoke about the importance of process-focused knowledge generation and result dissemination. They emphasized knowledge co-production with users of research, investigators, coauthors, working groups, and task forces.

Bringing experts together to generate scientific knowledge, developing modelling capacities, and sharing data is not enough to influence policy. Speakers at the forum highlighted the value of co-generating verifiable knowledge, since collaborative knowledge generation creates trust among stakeholders.

The Indus Basin is one of the three priority basins for ICIMOD and the most important in terms of biophysical and socioeconomic stresses. ICIMOD is committed to the Indus Basin Initiative and the long-term wellbeing of countries sharing Indus waters through the Upper Indus basin Network (UIB-N).

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