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International conference on Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas



International conference on

Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

Forging regional partnerships to enable
transformative change  

Kathmandu, Nepal

1–4 December 2013

Poverty eradication remains one of the greatest challenges facing the world today and is a prerequisite for sustainable development. However, despite global poverty eradication efforts, over 1 billion people – one in five people on this planet –  live in extreme poverty. One in seven is undernourished, of which a significant proportion are in Asia.

In the mountainous regions of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH), the poverty rate is on average 5% higher than the rate for the countries as a whole. The determinants of poverty also differ considerably. In particular, parameters such as lower access to basic amenities, poor physical access, and higher dependency rates are more prominent in the mountains.

Mountain communities have a high degree of self-reliance and a rich tradition of practices to avert risks. However, increasing uncertainties, inadequate and insecure access to resources, technology and finance, a rapidly degrading natural resource base, and insufficient integration into value chains and markets severely compromise their capacities to effectively deal with change and take advantage of emerging opportunities to pull themselves out of poverty.

There is an urgent need to support the adaptation abilities of vulnerable mountain households, communities, and ecosystems and enhance their resilience focusing specifically on the challenges confronting mountain women and disadvantaged groups. Mountain specific policies and development interventions to address the needs of the people in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region are still inadequate, primarily because of insufficient knowledge.

The Conference aims to compile updated knowledge on the contours of poverty and enablers of a sustainable development approach for the HKH and thereby, provide inputs specific to the mountain context that can contribute to the formulation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Conference also proposes to set the tone for forging and strengthening regional partnerships for sustainable mountain development.

© 2008 – 2013

Marketplace for development agencies and projects

A marketplace will be organized during the Conference to provide a forum and opportunity to development agencies and projects to showcase their ongoing (or completed) programmes and projects implemented in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The mode of presentation in the marketplace will be through posters, displays, or audio-visuals. The programme/project has to address poverty and vulnerability reduction in the HKH and must have a focus on at least two or three sub-themes of the Conference.

The themes are:

  • ·        Quantitative Approaches for Effective Targeting of Poverty and Vulnerability
  • ·        Challenges in Inclusive Development (Gender, Indigenous Communities and Marginalized Groups)
  • ·        Migration and Remittances
  • ·        Climate Change Adaptation
  • ·        Mountain Goods and Services
  • ·        Inclusive Economic Development

Preference will be given to those programmes/projects that highlight community innovations and approaches and have been/or are under the process of scaling up. The programmes/projects should showcase inclusive development, in particular, gender inclusiveness and should be good practices of inclusive economic development. A maximum of 20 institutions/programmes/projects will be selected for exhibiting their material in the marketplace.


Development agencies/projects should submit a one page write-up highlighting the programme/project achievements, ensuring that indications of how the project/programme involves community innovations, gender inclusiveness, and inclusive economic development are adequately highlighted. Young professionals from the development agencies/projects closely involved in the implementation will be given preference for presentations at the Marketplace. It is expected that the participants in the Marketplace will cover their own costs to attend the Conference.


Please send your abstracts to [email protected] latest by 20 October 2013.


Selected development agencies and projects will be informed of their selection by 1 November. The Marketplace is only open to nationals/projects from countries in the HKH region.


Special poster session for young professionals


International conference on

Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

Forging regional partnerships to enable 

transformative change
Kathmandu, Nepal

1–4 December 2013


Special poster session for young professionals

A special session devoted to showcasing cutting edge research and innovative development approaches will be organized during the last day of the Conference. The aim of this special session is to provide a forum to young professionals from the region to showcase research findings on the main sub-themes of the Conference.


The themes are:

  • Quantitative Approaches for Effective Targeting of Poverty and Vulnerability
  • Challenges in Inclusive Development (Gender, Indigenous Communities and Marginalized Groups)
  • Migration and Remittances
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Mountain Goods and Services
  • Inclusive Economic Development


Young professionals (up to 35 years old) are encouraged to submit a 300 word abstract highlighting their research findings in any of the themes listed above in addition to a visual outline of the poster. The research work should highlight issues/concerns, or document innovative approaches that address critical issues within the particular sub-theme, and thus contribute to the deliberation on the sub-themes during the Conference. A total of approximately 24 posters will be selected for presentation covering all the eight countries of theHindu Kush Himalayas. Selected poster presenters will be provided support to attend the Conference.



Please send your abstracts and visual outline of the poster to [email protected] latest by 20 October 2013


Selected young professionals will be informed of their selection by the end of 1 November. The poster session is only open to the young professionals from countries in the HKH region.



(The announcement has been published for wide dissemination to attract prospective  participants at the marketplace as requested by ICIMOD.The announcement has been taken from the link:http://www.icimod.org/?q=11269)

Australia extends its expertise in water resource management to Asia (ICIMOD News)

Australia extends its expertise in water resource management to Asia

25 Jun 2013

Canberra, Australia

Scientists from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, are applying their knowledge in transboundary river basin management to improve the livelihoods of people living in some of the poorest parts of Asia. CSIRO and its partners have begun work in the Koshi River Basin which stretches from China, across the Himalayas through Nepal and discharges into the Ganges River in India.

The Koshi Basin is home to millions of people who rely on its fertile floodplains for their livelihoods. There is growing pressure to address development challenges in the Basin, in particular population growth and an increasing demand for energy, whilst working within constraints of natural hazards exacerbated by a changing climate, such as floods, drought, landslides, sediment movement and debris flow.

In a collaborative four-year project, scientists from CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship will provide technical assistance to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) Koshi Basin Programme. CSIRO scientists will develop an integrated basin-wide modelling system to improve management of the Koshi River Basin. This system will incorporate information on water availability, freshwater environments and the ecosystem services they provide and social considerations such as the effect of changes in water availability on livelihoods. The system will contribute to development in the Koshi Basin in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner and support national and transboundary water reforms.

“Australia has a long history of managing a scarce and variable water resource, and sharing this resource amongst competing users,” said CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Director, Dr Carol Couch.  “There is much the Australian water experience will bring to this project to help improve sustainable development and climate resilience, reduce water stress, and inform water-related decision making and transboundary issues. We will draw on the suite of large river basin assessments undertaken across Australia in recent years, such as the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields assessment.

“Research will be undertaken as a partnership between Australian organisations and ICIMOD researchers, based in Nepal. We will also be learning from ICIMOD, particularly in relation to sediment movement, snow melt and glacial processes,” said Dr Couch.

“At ICIMOD, we have taken a long-term, transboundary approach to support river basin management. This includes testing, piloting, and monitoring the innovations needed to address common issues related to climate change, cryosphere, water resources management and livelihood promotion,” said Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD.

“The Koshi Basin Programme will provide a platform for national and international researchers and decision makers to come together to promote transboundary cooperation and integrated water resource management practices and policies. This will also include the development of measures for risk management as well as equitable access to water for energy and food security,” said Dr Molden.

Work undertaken by CSIRO this year will consist of a review and analysis of the existing knowledge base, capacity building and the development of a prototype model for the Koshi River Basin that incorporates information on water, climate, hydropower, freshwater environments, irrigation and social issues including poverty alleviation. The knowledge gained from this project will culminate in the development of a robust integrated basin-wide modelling framework, using eWater’s hydrological modelling platform, Source.

Project partners

This work is supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through the Sustainable Development Investment Strategy. Through the Strategy, AusAID works with a portfolio of partners to address the challenges of water, food and energy security in South Asia.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

CSIRO is working in conjunction with the International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICE WaRM) and eWater to deliver a coordinated approach to water resource management, combining excellence in training (ICE WaRM), world class modelling software (eWater) and robust science (CSIRO).

For more information, please contact:

Carol Couch,

Director, CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship,
Phone: +61 (0) 26 246 4565
Website: www.csiro.au

Media contact: Sarah Wilson, CSIRO,
Phone: +61 (0)26 246 4566, mob: +61 (0)477 710 340
E-mail: [email protected]

Nira Gurung
Communications Officer, ICIMOD
Email: [email protected][email protected]
Tel. +977 1 5003222
This article has been taken from the website of ICIMOD  for further dissemination.You may access the article directly at this link : http://www.icimod.org/?q=10974

2013 Monsoon Floods in Nepal and India: What happened and what could have been done?(ICIMOD Article)

2013 Monsoon Floods in Nepal and India: What happened and what could have been done?

24 Jun 2013

While the world is waking up to the news of the horrific scale of the recent flood disaster in the Mahakali basin of Nepal and Uttarakhand in India, several questions are being asked: what kind of climatic events led to this disaster? Could anything have been done to reduce the loss of life and property? What can we learn from this disaster for the future? In this brief note, we address some of these burning questions.

Mahakali flood disaster

The Mahakali river is a transboundary river between Nepal and India with a catchment area of 14,871 km2. It flows for about 223 km in Nepal and around 323.5 km in India to its confluence with the Karnali River in India. The recent rainfall events in the western and far western regions of Nepal and India affected 20 districts in Nepal and several districts in the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The floods and landslides that ensued have left hundreds of people dead or missing and destroyed property worth millions of dollars. While this is not the first event of this kind (see annexes), it is certainly the most severe in the last 50 years and it happened at the beginning of the monsoon when no one was expecting.

Figure 1. Flood and landslide affected districts in Nepal

Intense rainfall events

The monsoon rains usually hit Central Nepal around 15 June and Far Western Nepal around 20 June. This year, the monsoon quickly engulfed the region (http://www.imd.gov.in/; Figure 2). The real-time monitoring station in Nepal reported 80.4 mm of rain on 16 June and 221.8 mm on 17 June at Dipayal, which adjoins the Mahakali flood disaster area (http://dhm.gov.np/; Figure 3 and Figure 4). Surrounding areas such as Dadeldhura, Dhangadi, and Birendranagar in the Far Western Development Region of Nepal recorded more than 150 mm of rainfall in 24 hours on 17 June 2013. Continuous rain in the upper catchments caused the water level in the Seti river east of the Mahakali to rise from 6.94 m to 11.56 m and 5.53 m to 12.81 m in the Karnali at Chisapani on 17 June, as measured by Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Nepal’s real time network. Unfortunately, there are no real time stations installed by the Department on the Mahakali river. One to three day weather forecasts provided by United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also indicated heavy rainfall on 17 and 18 June on the border of Nepal and India (Figure 5). Cumulative 3 day TRMM rainfall estimates from 16 June to 18 June show heavy rainfall in the flood affected regions of Nepal and India (Figure 6). The discharge in the Mahakali river rose from 139,000 cubic feet per second to 440,716 cubic feet per second on 17 June – well in excess of the flow of 398,000 cubic feet seconds recorded in the 2012 monsoon (http://www.kantipuronline.com/2013/06/18/top-story/massive-floods-in-mahakali-river-6-killed-update/373456/).

Figure 2. Advance of southwest monsoon, 2013

Figure 3. Hourly rainfall at Dipayal on 17 June (Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, 2013)

Figure 4. Daily rainfall summary on the Seti at Dipayal, June 2013 (Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, 2013)

Figure 5. Satellite image of 24-hour precipitation in mm (US NOAA)

Figure 6. Cumulative 3 day TRMM satellite rainfall estimate


While we do not know the full extent of the devastation in Nepal and India, reports are trickling in. In Darchula, in the Far Western Development Region, the flood swept away 77 buildings and displaced 2,500 people (http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2013/jun/jun18/news12.php). Six were killed in Achham and Baitadi districts and eight are missing in Dhungaad. A reported 150 families have been rendered homeless in Dodhara and Chadani and around 30 families have been affected in Kuda. Four houses in Salyan have been damaged due to a landslide. In Kalikot district, 4 people are dead and 11 missing and 27 families have been displaced. Flood in the Karnali river has affected many villages in the southeast region of Kailali, inundating large areas in Tikapur Municipality and the VDCs of Lalbojhi, Bhajani, Thapapur and Khailad. In Bardiya the floods have intensely affected the Rajapur Tappu region where 2,000 houses were inundated by the Karnali river. Approximately 600 families are still at great risk in Khairichandanpur (http://www.ekantipur.com/2013/06/19/headlines/Monsoon-fury-claims-at-least-20-many-missing/373488/).
Upstream from India-Nepal Bridge in Darchula, Nepal

Before                                                    During Flood

A school downstream from India-Nepal Bridge, Darchula, India

Before                                                    During Flood

Downstream from India-Nepal Bridge, Darchula, India

Before                                                    During Flood

The effects were even more devastating in Uttarakhand in India. The flood
occurred in the peak tourist and pilgrimage season, increasing the number of causalities, missing, and affected. The monsoon arrived 15 days early in Uttarakhand with continuous rainfall between Friday 14 June and Monday 17 June 2013. This resulted in increased water level and flow in the two main rivers, the Alakananda and Bhagirathi. Cloudbursts and landslides at various locations added to the devastation and impact on the lives of the people. Up to 17 June, the rainfall ranged from 50 mm up to 500 mm. Over 60 hours of continuous rain disrupted normal life. According to the Uttarakhand State government’s disaster mitigation and management centre, causalities could run into the thousands with about 90 dharamshalas (rest houses for pilgrims) swept away in the floods. Five districts in the state have been affected, more than 550 people have died, thousands are still missing, and over 50,000 are stranded.

What we have learnt from this series of events?

Two main lessons can be drawn from the Mahakali and Uttarakhand flood disasters: The severity of the disaster could have been mitigated with a better end-to-end information system and proper infrastructure planning would have reduced the damage.
Accordingly, we need to:
  • Put in place institutional mechanisms that that can use technological advances in forecasting:
Although some warnings were disseminated by the India Meteorological Organization about the possibility of high to intense rainfall, this information was not transmitted to the
people at risk. There is a need to strengthen disaster management and preparedness mechanisms, which requires awareness and sensitization at various levels to ensure that early warning information is conveyed to end users well in advance. Advances in technology have made it possible to provide three to four hours warning of such events – which is enough to save lives. We need to develop the institutional mechanisms to fully use such technological advances.
  • Set up more hydrometeorological stations on transboundary rivers:
There is no river-level hydrological monitoring station on the Mahakali river for flood forecasting and early warning. It is recommended that a river monitoring station for early warning be set up jointly by Nepal and India to provide people with some lead-time and improve flood forecasting and management in the basin.
  • Carefully plan infrastructure in the mountains:
The Hindu newspaper put it succinctly when it said that damage could have been contained through proper policies, especially regarding infrastructure development. The development of infrastructure in mountain areas, whether roads or buildings, is challenging. Many mountain roads are contributing a huge sediment load to our rivers and inviting landslides. Many of the settlements are located along flood plains and have developed over the years, encroaching the river banks and increasing the vulnerability to floods. These settlements include residential homes, offices, resorts and restaurants to name a few. There has been limited or no efforts to move these settlements to higher grounds. In the recent floods, large stretches of road and settlements were washed away stranding thousands of people and raising questions about their design, construction, and monitoring. Infrastructure development in the mountains has to be undertaken with caution and proper planning, and must apply different standards to that in the plains.
  • There is also a need to investigate whether or not there have been significant land use changes in the basin resulting in increased runoff.

ICIMOD’s role in Disaster Risk Reduction

As a regional knowledge and learning centre serving the eight countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – ICIMOD is uniquely placed to address issues of a transboundary nature. ICIMOD is focused on improving our understanding of the complex hydrological processes of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and promoting data and information sharing. It seeks to facilitate cooperation on policies, the timely sharing of information, and the proper management of the water resources.
ICIMOD is working for an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem to improve the living standards of mountain people and sustain vital ecosystem services – now and for the future. ICIMOD has chosen to focus on hazards and disasters related to adverse weather and climate conditions, such as high intensity rainfall, glacial lake outburst floods, regional floods, and flash floods. In order to address the risks facing mountain communities and better understand the nature of hazards that might lead to disasters, ICIMOD has outlined a series of activities to be undertaken as part of ‘Disaster risk reduction and community resilience’ including the:
  • assessment of vulnerability of communities and building their resilience to multi-hazards;
  • assessment of the impact of climate change on ecosystems, natural hazards, and human health;
  • delivery of training in disaster risk reduction; and
  • provision of a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences within disaster risk reduction.
ICIMOD, in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization and partner countries from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, is working to establish a regional flood information system. Twenty-four hydrometeorological stations have been installed to share real time data to strengthen flood forecasting in four countries. In Nepal, nine hydrometeorological stations have been installed in the Koshi basin and eight in the Kailash Sacred Landscape.
ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people in implementing improved disaster risk reduction at national and regional levels addressing upstream-downstream linkages for saving lives and livelihoods. This is achieved through the implementation of transboundary programmes in partnership with regional partner institutions, exploring the application of satellite-based technologies for disaster risk reduction, supporting networking, facilitating the exchange of experience, and serving as a regional knowledge hub, among other things. Institutional strengthening and capacity building of our partner institutions is also being undertaken to contribute to effective disaster risk reduction.

Annex 1. Recent floods in Nepal with disaster details




Mahakali June 2013 Final report still to be prepared
Dang June 2012 145 families were displaced and 2,200 household were affected by flash floods
Batadi, Achham, Kalikot, Jajrkot, Rukum, Rolpa, Kaski, Tanahu, Makwanpur, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Sindhuli, Sarlahi, Solukhumbu June 2011 14 districts affected by floods and landslide; 25 deaths; 2 missing; 4 injured; 515 houses destroyed
Dailekh, Jajarkot, Rukum, Palpa, Rupandehi, Parbat, Dhading, Sindhuli, Solukhumbu, August 2011 9 districts affected; 65 deaths; 35 missing; 24 injured; 110 houses destroyed
Kanchanpur September 2010 60 houses damaged on the Mahakali river
Dadeldhura, Bajura, Achham, Rukum, Kaski, Illam June–August 2010 6 districts affected; 98 deaths; 8 missing; 29 injured; 2,835 houses destroyed; 39,000 people affected

Annex 2. Recent floods in India with disaster details




Uttarakhand, Shimla,

Himachal Pradesh

June 2013 Final report still to be prepared

Brahmaputra river overflow

July 2012 80 deaths from flood; 16 buried in landslide; 11 missing
Assam July 2012 95 deaths; 12 missing
Uttarkashi district,

Ganga flood

August 2012 34 deaths; 80 houses damaged
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar September 2011 30 deaths; 10 missing in Brahmani river