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.
About the Author
- Mini Exhibition of Micro Entrepreneurs Products at Dolakha On 24 November 2015, 17 micro entrepreneurs exhibited their products during the mini exhibition organized at Charikot, Dolakha on the special occasion of the arrival of Chief Guest Andrew Egan, Assistant Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) along with Special Guest, Ms. Sarah Boddington, First Secretary, Australian Embassy – Nepal, Special Guest Ms. Arthi Patel, Principal Advisor, Micro Enterprise Recovery, UNDP/DFAT and Mr. Renaud Meyer, Country Director, UNDP. The event was chaired by Mr. Rameshowor Manandhar, Chair FNCCI, Dolakha. Addressing the audience at the mini exhibition, Chief Guest Andrew Egan, Assistant Secretary DFAT said, “We understand that the Dolakha district was very badly affected by the recent earthquakes which is why we were so determined to provide quick response to assist in the recovery. We understand that one of the best ways to recover after a natural disaster is to support people such as the micro entrepreneurs to restart their businesses and recommence their skills in developing, producing and selling their products in markets by rehabilitating and resuscitating local markets.” During the mini exhibition various locally produced pickles, ginger candies, vegetables, lokta jewelries and hats, leather shoes, dhaka bags were put on display for sale. Muna Shrestha of Kalidevi Srijansil Ginger Candy Micro Entrepreneur Group expressed, “I am very happy to get an opportunity to showcase our products firsthand to the donors who have supported us immensely in rebuilding our livelihoods and are continuing to make a difference in our lives.” While Dhanabahadur Tamang, shared, “We live very far with very limited access to markets so organizing such kind of exhibition is a great platform to promote our products and attract more customers.” The micro entrepreneurs are overwhelmed with RELRP providing rapid support in reviving their damaged enterprises within five months after the devastating earthquake. Nearly 12,059 MEDEP ME’s have been severely affected by the tremor but their entrepreneurship skills are still intact. Other major highlights during the UNDP and DFAT team visit were mingling with MEs who are involved in Poultry Farming Skill Training, Dhaka Weaving in Chathali, Bhimeshwor Municipality 3 and Potato Seed Storage and Rustic Store Common Facility Centre located at Lakuri dada VDC Ward 9. UNDP Country Director, Renauld Meyer on his two day field visit to Dolakha expressed, “We came to Dolakha to monitor the project that the UNDP is providing support to with financial support from the Australian Government. I am very pleased to witness Micro Entrepreneurs are able to cope and go back to business. The objective of UNDP is to make sure micro entrepreneurs can rapidly become empowered and economically independent so that they can restart their production and go back to the markets, sell their products and then earn an income for their families but also to reinject the money in the local economy.” Yesterday AT 05:52 AM
- #16DaysofActivism : UNDP staff and locals in Birgunj organize a candle lighting program in Birgunj. Photo: Baijanti Singh Yesterday AT 03:45 AM
- "See more posts on"Facebook