Upper Indus Basin Network Meeting

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ICIMOD and its partner organisations of the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) Network — Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), WWF-Gilgit Baltistan, FOCUS — came together for a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on 26 July 2015. The meeting was organised to report on progress made since November 2014 by the six technical working groups, and to discuss future network strategies. The UIB Network is a collaborative of organisations working in the region to improve present and future water availability, demand, and hazards, and to provide solutions for all with concerned with water usage. 

Photo courtesy: ICIMOD

Six thematic working group presented progress on: data collection; quality and sharing; climate variability and trends; cryosphere monitoring and modelling; hydrology; water availability and demand-basin scale; hazards and risks; adaptation strategies at the local-level water use; and management and socioeconomic factors.

During the general discussion, the group was updated on current partnership progress. ICIMOD and Future Water are working on improving the Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) model interface and plan to organise a second training in December 2015. Similarly, a joint study on migration and ecosystem based adaptation is being conducted by WWF and ICIMOD. Similarly, ICIMOD is conducting a joint study on migration, ecosystem based adaptation, and Payment Ecosystem Services (PES) with WWF. An irrigation, water conservation and hazard management study is being jointly conducted with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). FOCUS and ICIMOD will be installing early warning system to reduce the vulnerability of local communicates to glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF). As many ICIMOD partners are working in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), an inventory of the projects should be prepared and shared with policy makers that will help UIB Network to get new projects. 

A separate strategic committee meeting was held concerning how to incorporate new members into the UIB Network and how to develop and share separate work plans from different institutions with the group. Other issues covered were the need for a data sharing policy, and the desire to approach relevant universities for wider dissemination of knowledge and sharing. A follow up workshop was agreed upon in late September during the Karakoram International University workshop in Gilgit.  

In closing, the partners suggested that more institutions should be included in the UIB network. Separate meetings should be organized for each working group, detailed Terms of Reference (ToR) and action plan for each working group should be prepared. The members discussed that there should be uniformity in data collection, site selection, installation of equipment and identifying critical glaciers.