Koshi Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Hub

Country Consultation: Building a Resilient Koshi

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Background 

The Koshi River drains a large part of the east-central Himalaya – about 75,000 km2 – flowing from Tibet and through Nepal before joining the Ganges in northern Bihar in India and eventually flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The Koshi is well known for its floods and capricious behaviour, posing common challenges to and displacing millions in Nepal and India in recent years. From 1954 to 2014, Nepal faced a total of 41 flood events, which killed almost 6,500 people and affected more than 3,500,000. Similarly, floods in Bihar have claimed 9,500 lives between 1979 and 2017. 

The Koshi Basin Initiative (KBI) at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has been working with its partners to increase understanding of disasters in the basin, improve regional cooperation for disaster risk reduction (DRR), and build the resilience of basin communities. 

The concept of the Koshi DRR Knowledge Hub (KDKH) was accordingly conceptualized as a platform that fosters transboundary collaboration and promotes science, policy, and practice interlinkages to address DRR in the basin as a multifaceted, interdisciplinary, and transboundary challenge. It aims to promote the development of collaborative activities and projects that will improve decision making related to the management of the Koshi River basin. 

The country consultation marks an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing a transborder knowledge hub on DRR for the Koshi basin which transcends the boundaries of China, India, and Nepal. The Government of Bihar has been working on building of the resilience of the communities in the Koshi basin through a systematic approach according to the DRR Roadmap and Agriculture Roadmap, which are both based on the Sendai Roadmap (2015–2030).

The event is being hosted by the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority in association with ICIMOD, Plan India, Caritas India, and Yuganter.

Objectives

The consultation aims to achieve the following goals: 

  1. Share ways and methods of information exchange that bridge the gap from research to practice to policy.

  2. Enhance upstream and downstream cooperation in the Koshi basin for DRR and subsequent resilient building through an exchange of ideas, experience, and information.

  3. Identify and prioritize policy-, community-, and research-level issues in building resilient livelihoods, and develop a mechanism to engage at a transboundary level through the KDKH.

  4. Create opportunities for cooperation and collaboration for the KDKH, and establish a sustainable network of transborder communities and other stakeholders.

Expected outcomes

The consultation is expected to bring about the following: 

  1. Share resilient-building actions with all the stakeholders.

  2. Identify actions for improving transboundary cooperation for better accessibility and uptake of research results for operational activities through the KDKH.