Ms. Noda is UNDP Country Director, Nepal.
02 Dec 2013
GLOF risk reduction effort should focus on innovating affordable community-led measures
The Hindu Kush Himalayan region in Asia is home to over 200 million people. In addition over a billion people downstream depend on the rivers and waterways that are fed by these glaciers. As the impacts of climate change become apparent, glaciers in these mountain ranges appear increasingly vulnerable to changing climactic conditions.
Loss of glaciers means loss of critical storehouse of freshwater for future generations. It also means an increase in the glacial related disasters, such as glacial lake outbursts floods (GLOFs). Thousands of glacial lakes have already been formed behind the thinning and unstable ice dams. The sudden collapse of such dams can cause catastrophic floods that destroy lives, forests, property, farms and infrastructure. The devastating power of GLOFs can reach hundreds of kilometers downstream uprooting communities and infrastructure in their wake.
Even large scale international assistance may not be adequate to address the enormous scope of the challenge. There are over 20,000 glacial lakes in the Himalayas and in Nepal alone 3 are considered to be in potentially dangerous state, according to a 2009 study by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). As the global temperature rise many more glacial lakes would join the danger list. This calls for broad partnership to develop affordable and easily replicable solutions to the glacial lakes and accompanying challenges.
Catastrophic event like a GLOF can reverse many decades of development gains and can cause serious setbacks in socio-economic progress. The ensuing flood from glacial lake outburst in Dig Tsho Lake in Nepal in 1985 is a dramatic reminder of the tragedy in the making.
With discussion on impact of climate change gaining prominence, the focus, of late, has been rightly on the receding glaciers and the threat from GLOF. But the challenge so far has been the ability to identify and develop scientifically sound, affordable and cost-effective options for GLOF risk reduction.
Most mountain communities are not technologically sophisticated and installing expensive technology raises serious questions about maintenance and sustainability.
Reducing threat from GLOFs is an expensive undertaking at the moment. But it need not be that way. Encouraging innovation that leads to affordable and quickly replicable models should be the focus. This would require collaboration and partnership between knowledge organizations, scientific institutions and development partners to develop simple and effective technology that is easy to install to reduce water from glacial lakes and is more cost effective to maintain. Educating the communities on installing low-tech community based early warning system should also be a priority.
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- अष्ट्रेलियाको परराष्ट्र मामिला तथा उद्योग तथा व्यवसाय (डिफ्याट) का उच्च पदस्थ पदाअधिकारी साइमन क्रयाम्पसहित अन्य दुइजना प्रतिनिधिले बनेपास्थित लघुउद्यम विकास कार्यक्रम अन्तर्गत लघुउद्यमीहरुबाट संचालित चीज र पुस्टकारी उद्योगको अवलोकन गरेका छन् । Simon Cramp, Business Partnership Platform Director at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Ainsley Hemming Second Secretary-Development Cooperation and Tara D Gurung Director- Development Policy and Programmes of #DFAT observed hard cheese and Pustakari making enterprise at Banepa. Mr. Madan Magarati, chairman of District Micro Enterprise Group Association (DMEGA) briefed Mr. Simon on the achievements since 2008 and highlighted how there had been improved financial and market linkages along with added potential income sources. Micro Enterprise Development Programme (#MEDEP) aims to alleviate poverty by developing micro enterprises and creating off-farm employment and income opportunities for rural poor and excluded. A joint venture of Government of Nepal and the United Nations Development Programme Nepal, the programme is largely funded by the Australian Government. In Kavrepalanchowk district, altogether 1,334 micro entrepreneurs are actively running their enterprises. Friday AT 07:10 AM
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