Monday 5
Social-Ecological Resilience, Climate Change and Adaptive Water Governance of Regional Scale Water Systems in the United States
Nils Ferrand, Lance Gunderson, Barbara Cosens
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› Béziers
Trans-boundary Headwater Governance in Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH): Need for Building Regional Geo-political Resilience for Adaptation to climate change in South and East Asia
Prakash Chandra Tiwari  1@  , Bhagwati Joshi  2, *@  
1 : Kumaun University, Nainital, India  (KU)
Department of Geography, DSB Campus, Kumaun University, Nainital 263002, Uttarakhand, India -  Inde
2 : Government Post Graduate College, Rudrapur, India  (GPGC)
Department of Geography, Government Post Graduate College, Delhi Road, Rudrapur, Uttarakhand, India -  Inde
* : Corresponding author

Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) constitutes headwaters of some of the largest trans-boundary basins of planet that sustain more than one-fourth global population dependent primarily on subsistence agriculture in South and East Asia. However, water resources of the region are currently facing severe threats from multitude of drivers of global environmental change, particularly climate change. Global warming is resulting into rapid retreat of glaciers, decrease in permafrost and changes in seasonality of run-off. Besides, during recent past, Asian monsoon has shown sweeping changes resulting into erratic rainfall and increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. These changes have stressed hydrological regimes of HKH headwaters through disruption of groundwater and decreased stream-flow. In view of this, regime of water resources in South and East Asia is likely to change rapidly, with respect to discharge, volumes, availability and access to freshwater both in up-streams and down-streams thus exacerbating region's limited capacity to cope with projected decrease in availability of water for drinking and food production. This may increase proportion of water, health, food and livelihood insecure population in South and East Asia which includes some of the poorest people of the world with access to less than 5% of planet's freshwater resources. This will have enormous regional implications for fundamental human endeavours ranging from poverty alleviation to environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation, and even to human security and peace in the region. A regional headwater cooperation framework is therefore highly imperative not only for adaptation to long-term impacts of climate change, but also for regional security and peace in the region.

 

Paper aims at engineering geo-political resilience for regional cooperation for adaptive governance of trans-boundary headwaters in HKH. Comprehensive study of available literature and media reports, interpretation of people's responses obtained through interviews, interaction with political leadership, government officials and institutions across the region formed basis of this study. It was observed, increasing power of some countries and political instability in other states, internal and external security threats, weak leadership, and long standing inter-state conflicts are important reasons for weakening geo-political resilience in regional water cooperation in the region. However, there is growing realization and demand by scientific community, intellectuals, NGOs and civil society organizations and regional institutions for building geo-political resilience in the region for trans-boundary river-basin management in HKH. Climate change has provided opportunity to foster regional cooperation, and therefore demands building of geopolitical resilience in the region. An effective regional water co-operation framework need to be evolved based on: (a) sharing of hydro-meteorological information for early warning; (b) sustainable headwaters development for mitigating and moderating risks of climate change induced disasters both in uplands and lowlands; and (f) integrated watershed management in upland river basins to increase availability of water for drinking and food production both in upstream and downstream. A number of regional institutions working in South-east Asia are willing to play meaningful role in initiating trans-boundary headwater governance. Furthermore, perspective of regional economic cooperation may help in evolving conducive institutional mechanisms for regional headwater cooperation.



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