As climate change impacts are increasing the likelihood of natural disasters, such as floods and landslides, having a thorough disaster risk management plan is become more important for communities throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). The government of Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan has recognized the efforts of the Indus Basin Initiative of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and consortium partners to establish more resilient mountain villages through partnership with the Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GB-DMA). As part of this effort ICIMOD built the institutional capacity of GB-DMA to enable the transition from a response-based approach to a proactive one by updating the Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Risk Management Plan.
Carried out in coordination with partners including WWF-Pakistan and Agha Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), these efforts have strengthened service providers and helped communities adapt to climate change through:
- High-value orchard development in Morkhun-Gojal and Popdin-Passu through solar powered river water lifting and irrigating through high efficiency irrigation systems;
- Protection of valuable croplands from river erosion in Passu village through women-led biological engineering of Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) along the Hunza River;
- Successful rehabilitation of the deteriorated glacier fed irrigation system for Shahabad-Ghulkin;
- High value agro production in Zarabad-Hussaini through sustainable irrigation and water supply systems;
- Lifting river water for Khyber village using hydro-ram pumps;
- Piloting women-managed production of bio-briquettes for household use using biodegradable waste, and;
- Establishing hazard management systems in Gulmit, Passu, Gulkin and Hussaini through customized Community Based Glacier Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (CBFEWS): CBFEWS for Debris flow in Damas, Flash flood in Sherqilla and GLOF in Passu.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home of the Hindu Kush, Himalaya and Karakorum mountain ranges. The region is combating climatic variations that lead to disasters like avalanches, glacial lake outburst floods and torrential monsoon rains. All of these disasters trigger socio-economic changes in the communities they affect, further aggravating community livelihood options in areas with already limited agricultural opportunities. Other partners include the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Karakorum International University, Forest Department GB, and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.
This initiative is part of ICIMOD’s River Basins Programme, Indus Basin Initiative. The transboundary Indus basin, with an area size of 1.1 million sq.km, is spread across Afghanistan, China, India (33%), and Pakistan (52%) with the upper portion resting in the Hindu Kush, Karakorum, and Himalayan ranges. The basin ranks among the most important in the world in terms of human dependence, supporting about 215 million people directly or indirectly. The upper part of the basin is the main source of water for agriculture, energy production, industrial use, and human consumption for the entire basin.