30 Dec 2014
The Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) ‘Science-Policy Dialogue’ was held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 4 September 2014. The event brought together experts from HI-AWARE consortium member and partner organizations, government agencies and NGOs to discuss ways to improve and strengthen science-policy interface on climate resilience and adaptation in the mountains and flood plains of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.
In his welcome address, Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, noted, “There is a high expectation placed on the HI-AWARE team of researchers to generate good science and adaptation strategies that can be tried on the ground to improve climate resilience.”
Dr Philippus Wester, Principal Investigator and Project Leader of HI-AWARE, set the tone by providing an overview of the HI-AWARE Initiative. Dr Walter Immerzeel of Future Waters then gave a presentation on ‘biophysical conditions leading to vulnerability to climate change’. Dr Chanda Gurung, Senior Gender Specialist at ICIMOD, presented next on ‘socioeconomic, gender and governance factors leading to climate vulnerability’, followed by Dr Hester Beimans, a researcher at Alterra-Wageningen AR, whose presentation focused on ‘critical moments, adaptation turning points, and adaptation pathways’. The follow-up discussions generated plenty of good suggestions for the HI-AWARE initiative such as developing climate models as well as projections of extreme climate events specific to the HKH region, disaggregating gender data to better illustrate how gender roles and relations are being reshaped by climate change, and designing adaptation pathways targeting the poorest of the poor, and landless and disadvantaged communities.
Parallel interactive sessions on ‘climate change visualization’, ‘migration, gender and governance adaptation’, and ‘adaptation pathways’ – collectively dubbed ‘knowledge carousal’ – yielded plenty of good ideas. At the plenary, it was generally agreed that there is very little understanding of climate change and its impacts at the local level, underscoring the need to help people visualize climate change through projections, analogies, metaphors, stories, info-graphics and popular media such as community radios and street dramas. There were also calls to develop criteria to better identify migration as an adaptation strategy, and a common adaptation framework for the HKH region.
In the afternoon, Dr David Molden moderated a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change and adaptation in the HKH region. The panelists were Dr Atiq Rahman, BCAS; Ir Kless Slingerland, Alterra; Dr Nadeem Amjad, PARC; Dr Arabinda Mishra, TERI University; and Dr Kullar S. Murali, CARIAA-IDRC. The panel discussion generated recommendations for the HI-AWARE initiative. Notable among these were the recommendations to link poverty reduction with climate change adaptation at the policy level, and partner with the private sector to address the lack of capacity at the local level to respond to climate change as well as identify additional risks.
The following day, a HI-AWARE Steering Committee Meeting reviewed the progress made by the HI-AWARE Initiative since its inception, and endorsed the following documents:
Dr Kallur S. Murali, Senior Programme Officer at CARIAA-IDRC, said that the HI-AWARE initiative has made notable progress so far. Likewise, Dr Philippus Wester expressed satisfaction at the level of common understanding reached by the HI-AWARE team members on the work plans for implementation.
The successful conclusion of the Science-Policy Dialogue and the Steering Committee Meeting marked the end of the HI-AWARE inception phase.