Climate change and variability processes are impacting the hydrological cycle and undermining lives and livelihoods of mountain communities. The shifting patterns of rainfall, enhanced rate of glacial melting and water run-off is affecting the river flows and has the potential to threaten the livelihood patterns of mountain areas and of the plains downstream. The already delicate Himalayan eco-system is getting adversely impacted and is coming under severe strain due to the changing hazard, vulnerability and risk profile in the Himalayan region. This underscores the need for re-appraisal of the HVR context in the Himalayan region in view of the shifting patterns of hazards and the resultant risks. The Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project, funded by Directorate General, ECHO and UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), aims to address the risks posed by hydro meteorological hazards in the Himalayan Hindukush (HKH) region comprising Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. The project is being implemented by BCPR South & South West Asia Office through UNDP Country Offices in these countries with the technical support of the Regional Centre in Bangkok.
The Project aims to assess the impact of hydro-meteorological hazards on mountain communities and the socio-economic infrastructure and help develop a better understanding of the nature, pattern of occurrence, triggers, impacts and trends of hydro-meteorological disasters and their inter-relationship. It also aims to identify risk mitigation and preparedness measures/approaches which can be implemented at community and local administration levels to address the risks posed by hydro-meteorological hazards to the mountain communities.
The project will contribute towards the ongoing support to NDMA through the One UN Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Joint Programme Component (JPC1). The project has been formulated in consultation with key agencies/departments including Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), local administrations and other stakeholders in Pakistan. The Project activities will be implemented in selected villages of Gilgit and Astore Districts and would seek to establish a scalable model for replication of the activities and outputs to address similar hydro-meteorological risks in other mountain areas in an integrated manner. Some of the key rationales for undertaking detailed hazard, risk and vulnerability assessments are:
i. Efforts at risk assessments and risk mitigation have primarily been oriented towards geological hazards. Risk assessments for hydro-met hazards have not been undertaken in a concerted manner.
ii. Assessments will support the process of developing suitable institutional and policy frameworks for risk mitigation and preparedness. These measures will help offset the vulnerabilities and reduce risks in the region
iii. Help support integration of risk reduction elements into the development process at community and local administration level and facilitate policy and decision-makers in making informed choices related to development planning.
iv. Help develop methodology (ies) for conducting similar assessments in mountain areas and identify, quantify and communicate risks to various stakeholders including administrations
v. Help create a core team of DRM practitioners from state/local administration, civil society organizations and other stakeholders for undertaking similar assessments
vi. HVR assessment will help establish indicators of climate variability
vii. Compile baseline data including demographic profile, occupational and behavioral profile, cultural and educational background of communities in the identified districts including the traditional coping mechanisms and response and factors contributing to their resilience.
viii. The assessment will help compile data with regard to agricultural practices, water availability, access to market, income diversification, migration (short-term and long-term), health risks, employment profile and other socio-economic indicators. The assessment will look at the entire livelihood system and the vulnerabilities arising there from.
I. Objective/purpose and scope of HVR assessment:
The overall purpose and objective of undertaking the hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments for hydro-meteorological hazards is to achieve the following outputs:
ï‚§ HVR assessment will help understand the nature, triggers, patterns of occurrence and the disaster cycle associated with these hazards as well as climate variability indicators
ï‚§ Promote better understanding of the changing hazard profile and patterns of risk due to emerging climatic hazards
ï‚§ Identify feasible DRR interventions involving adaptation approaches to be implemented at community and local administration level to mitigate the impacts of climatic hazards
ï‚§ Promote DRR as a tool for mitigating impacts of climate change and variability processes
ï‚§ Establish a methodology for conducting HVR assessments in similar contexts for addressing multiple mountain hazards including collection and compilation of data/information on past hydro-met hazards, analyze trends, patterns of occurrence, severity and impacts of hydro-met hazards, the probabilistic scenario/matrix and application of relevant tools and processes for conducting hazard assessments and replicate the process in other mountain areas
ï‚§ Identify elements at risk, assess exposure and vulnerability of physical and built environment including socio-economic assets and habitations, social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. An assessment of existing capacities at community and local administration level will also be a part of this process.
ï‚§ Risk assessment will include assessment of likely impact on lives, livelihoods, habitations/ settlements, infrastructure, community, individual and socio-economic assets
ï‚§ HVR assessment process will help identify and assess impacts on key sectors like environment, livelihoods, agriculture and hydrological cycle
Furthermore, the assessments will feed into the process of knowledge networking and coordination for risk reduction and support formulation of policy frameworks at local, national and regional level for climate risk management. The findings will help adopt and promote an integrated approach to climate risk mitigation incorporating disaster risk reduction and adaptation approaches. Apart from deriving an overall assessment of hazard, vulnerability and risk scenario, some of the impacts of climate change and variability processes on sectors with direct bearing on lives and livelihoods of mountain communities and the development process will also be assessed.
The assessment will be undertaken for District Gilgit.
Outputs and key deliverables:
1. Prepare an HVR assessment report including –
i. Data-base of hydro-met hazards in the District
ii. Assessment of prevailing hazards, vulnerabilities and risks at community level
iii. Differential impacts of risks on the communities
iv. District level hazard maps (hazard specific) outlining hazard-prone areas
v. Assess interplay of hydro-met hazards in the Himalayan region
vi. Analytical report on emerging hazards like GLOFs, flash Floods, droughts and their likely impacts
2. Develop an overall risk and vulnerability profile of the district
3. Guidelines for assessing climate-induced hazards and risks in the mountain regions
4. Documentation of traditional mitigation measures, coping mechanisms and capacity at community level
Any other task related to HVR assessment arising during the process in consultation with the Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project team.
The process of conducting HVR assessment is expected to be completed within three months from the start date of the assignment.