Leveraging Collaboration for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Koshi Basin 

Date: 2 December 2017

Venue: ICIMOD Kathmandu Nepal

Background

The transboundary Koshi Basin is home to more than 40 million people who depend on its rich natural resources. It is also a multi-hazard environment, one of many in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), where floods, landslides, and droughts affect millions of people every year and disrupt sustainable development. Disasters in the region often have cascading transboundary impact with upstream-downstream linkages. In addition, an increase in the incidence of extreme weather events due to climate change and environmental degradation is expected to magnify the frequency and impact of such disasters. Women and marginalized communities are most vulnerable as they lack access to information and capacity to prepare for disasters and deal with their aftermath. Gender-based norms and other socio-cultural factors also tend to increase their vulnerability.  

Often, communities affected by disaster continue to struggle to resume their livelihoods or take up alternative ones several years after its occurrence. Although there have been efforts to improve disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the Koshi Basin, DRR policies and practices often lack a multi-hazard approach. Additionally, stakeholders are often unable to capitalize on the knowledge and capacities presented by the transboundary nature of disasters. Upstream-downstream linkages in the Koshi Basin can be a basis for shared disasters and provide opportunities for DRR and livelihood improvement. Institutions and stakeholders could collaborate to adopt a standardized, multi-hazard risk assessment approach. Extensive and effective cooperation can be achieved by sharing knowledge and fostering practices that address the transboundary scale of disaster.  

The Koshi Basin Programme at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has been working with partners to increase understanding of disasters in the basin and the capacity of stakeholders to improve preparedness. The networks created in this process and through ICIMOD partners can be leveraged to identify areas for collaboration and knowledge sharing between institutions and stakeholders in the basin. In 2016, a Knowledge Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilient Livelihoods in the Koshi Basin  was organized in Patna, Bihar by the Koshi Basin Programme in partnership with the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority, National Institute of Disaster Management, National Disaster Management Authority. The DRR Roadmap for Bihar based on the Sendai framework is currently being implemented. In Nepal, the Disaster Risk Mitigation Bill , which has a provision for establishing a National Disaster Risk Mitigation and Management Centre, has been endorsed. This satellite event during the ResilientHKH Conference will provide an opportunity to bring together key policy and decision makers, scientists, and practitioners to discuss how regional collaboration can be strengthened for DRR to ensure resilient livelihoods in the Koshi Basin.  

Target audience

Scientists, practitioners, and policy makers in the Koshi Basin working on DRR and livelihoods. 

Questions that will be discussed

  • What current practices are working, and what are the challenges to regional collaboration for DRR in the Koshi Basin?  
  • What are the opportunities for enhancing regional collaboration for DRR in the short-, medium- and long- term? 
  • What roles can government institutions, civil societies, government institutions, and scientific communities play in enhancing regional collaboration for DRR in the basin? 

Expected contribution to the main conference

  • Set of recommendations for enhancing collaboration and cross-learning in DRR towards resilient livelihood based on experience and learning from the Koshi Basin. 

Format

Two-hour event 

  1.  Panel discussion 
  2. Group discussion on floods, landslides, and droughts with representation from ICIMOD’s livelihoods and gender teams 
  3. Summary/recommendation formulation