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HI-AWARE Bi-Monthly  E-BULLETIN   [Up to August 2015]


Principal Investigator and Project Leader, HI-AWARE

PHILIPPUS WESTER, Principal Investigator and Project Leader, HI-AWAREIt is with great pleasure that I present to you the third HI-AWARE E-Bulletin, covering the period November 2015–March 2016. The HI-AWARE journey started three years ago, in March 2013, with the drafting of a concept note. The contract was awarded to the HI-AWARE consortium members by IDRC in March 2014, leading to a half year Inception Phase in which workplans were formulated, the HI-AWARE Theory of Change and Impact Pathways were refined and the consortium partnership agreement was drafted in a participatory manner. Implementation started in earnest in October 2014, with the first year of implementation largely focusing on processes, expanding the partnership with six strategic partners and nine universities joining HI-AWARE, and a situational analysis of the 12 study areas HI-AWARE is working in. Research activities in the five HI-AWARE Research Components started to pick up pace and a range of stakeholder engagement events were held to refine our Research into Use strategy. The second year of implementation started in October 2015, with the emphasis shifting to results and speeding up the research work, as borne out by this E-Bulletin.
This E-Bulletin gives a glimpse of the many activities currently on-going in HI-AWARE. We organised our annual flagship event—the Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science (CCAPS) Conference in New Delhi in February 2016, which was attended by some 120 participants. This was followed by the HI-AWARE Academy, which focused on the capacity building of young researchers from the region, and was graced by the presence of the President of IDRC, Jean Lebel. HI-AWARE has awarded fellowships to six PhD, three MPhil and 13 MSc students from Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh to conduct their research in fulfilment of their academic requirements on HI-AWARE themes in the Indus, Teesta, Gandaki and Upper Ganga river basins. Our researchers have been interacting with communities in the four study basins and have been reporting first hand through interesting blogs. HI-AWARE was also covered in the media wherein a number of news items and profiles of its researchers have appeared. Four publications have come up which focused on a range of topics concerning climate change adaptation. I am happy to note that despite the earthquake that shook Nepal in April 2015, we have recovered well and are now very much on track in terms of technical and financial progress, with both reaching around 85% at the end of March 2016. The period from April to September 2015 was a difficult one, with a dip in activities and progress, but this slip was quickly made up for due to the large number of enthusiastic researchers we have on board. With the support from all of you, I am confident we will achieve the intended outcomes of HI-AWARE, which is to enhance the adaptive capacities and climate resilience of the vulnerable in the mountains and plains of the river basins of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region.
I feel privileged to lead this consortium as its Principal Investigator and look forward to your responses and further contributions to this interesting and important initiative. To my knowledge HI-AWARE is the largest climate change adaptation research initiative currently active in South Asia. It is my sincere hope that we will prove worthy of the trust placed in us and that the HI-AWARE work will make a real contribution to improving the livelihoods of those hardest hit by climate change in South Asia.  


The HI­-AWARE E­ Bulletin up to August 2015

The HI-AWARE E-Bulletin, September-October 2015


HI-AWARE Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science Conference Recommends Bridging a Divide between Science and Policy
The HI-AWARE Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science Conference held in New Delhi, India, from 24–25 February 2016, and attended by some 120 participants, discussed the reality of climate change and other changes taking place in the Indus, Brahmaputra and Ganga river basins; the ‘knowledge gaps’ that research should address to, in turn, help policymakers address adaptation; and major challenges and opportunities facing the successful implementation of adaptation options to help poor and vulnerable communities living in said basins, among other issues. Read more.
The HI-AWARE Academy, organised from 27 February–4 March, 2016 in New Delhi and Dehradun, India, sought to strengthen the expertise of its researchers, including students, to conduct transdisciplinary research on climate/social vulnerability, resilience and adaptation in three river basins in the Hindu Kush Himalayas—the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra. Read more.
SM Tanvir, a researcher affiliated with HI-AWARE–BCAS, writes about piloting climate and flood-resilient (CFR) houses in the Teesta flood plains of Bangladesh, including engaging stakeholders in the study-site selection process. Read more.
Coming Together: A Stakeholder Workshop on Developing the Criteria for Classifying and Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Options in the Gandaki River Basin
The ‪HI-AWARE stakeholder workshop on "Developing Criteria for Classifying and Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Options in the Gandaki River Basin” held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 29 March 2016 aimed at: a) getting feedback and input from stakeholders on improved classification of and criteria for assessing adaptation options; and b) identifying major barriers and opportunities facing policymakers and practitioners in undertaking regional and basin-wide approaches to adaptation interventions in key sectors impacted by climate change. Read more.
The HI-AWARE state-level consultations workshop on “Adaptation to Climate Change in the Upper Ganga Basin” held on 4 March 2016 in Dehradun, India, brought to the fore major climate change risks and adaptation challenges facing the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in a more nuanced way and also an appreciation for the multi-scale transdisciplinary research work needed to be done, ensuring that its results would be taken up by policymakers and practitioners to enhance the climate resilience and adaptive capacity of the poor and vulnerable communities of said state. Read more.
Teesta Basin visit reveals spring knowledge gaps
HI AWARE researchers from ICIMOD, The Mountain Institute–India and local organisations recently visited Santook, Mirik, on the outskirts of Kalimpong in the Teesta Basin in India to take stock of springs. Clearly, very little is known about the hydrogeological aspects of springs in the region. Read More.
In the first round, HI-AWARE has awarded fellowships to three MPhil and 13 MSc students from Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh to conduct their research in fulfilment of their academic requirements on HI-AWARE themes in the Indus, Teesta, Gandaki and Upper Ganga river basins. They are as follows:
  • India: Rashmita Sarkar, MPhil,  Sikkim University; Navin Rai, MPhil,  Sikkim University; Trinayana Kaushik, MSc,  TERI University; Abha Nirula, MSc, TERI University; and Nitish Kanetkar, MTech, TERI University
  • Nepal: Ashmita Paudel, MSc, Tribhuwan University (TU); Binod Prasad Parajuli, MSc, TU; Sunam Pradhan, MSc, TU, and Sijal Pokharel, MSc, TU
  • Pakistan: Maria Javed, MSc, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST); Hammayun Zulfiqar Rana, MSc, NUST; Razia Begum, MPhil, Karakoram International University; Kashif Jamal, MSc, NUST; and Zubair Hafeez, MSc, NUST
  • Bangladesh: Md Abdullah Al Mamun, MPhil, Rajshahi University; and Sk Junnun Al Hussain, MSc, Rajshahi University
You can read their profiles here.
Inauguration ceremony for the ‘solar-powered AC pumping system for deep tube wells’ held in Talagang, Pakistan
On 4 December 2015, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR) conducted a workshop on “Water Access and Availability in Mountain Areas of the Upper Ganga Basin” in New Tehri, Tehri Garhwal (Uttarakhand, India). The workshop participants included academicians, civil society/NGO practitioners, activists and government officials, all of whom presented their respective views on the subject. Read More.

FutureWater, one of the research partners of HI-AWARE, organised a webinar on “Asia’s Water Towers and Climate Change” on 10 December 2015 focusing on how climate change is expected to impact the future of the mountain ranges in Asia at spatial scales ranging from single catchments to large river basins. You can watch a video recording of the same on VIMEO Here.  

Inauguration ceremony for the ‘solar-powered AC pumping system for deep tube wells’ held in Talagang, Pakistan
On 6 December 2015, the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council organised an inaugural ceremony to launch a solar powered AC pumping irrigation system that had been successfully tested under the HI-AWARE project. This promising and economical innovation stands to benefit thousands of poor farmers in the Indus river basin, if it can be suitably scaled up. Read More

ICIMOD has so far signed agreements with five strategic partners—Megh Pyne Abhiyan (MPA), The Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR), The Mountain Institute (TMI)–India, Practical Action-South Asia Office, and LEAD Pakistan for collaboration with HI-AWARE. The focal points from these organisations for HI-AWARE have also been identified. Read More.

As part of its commitment under Work Package 3 to strengthen the expertise of young researchers to conduct transdisciplinary research on climate vulnerabilities, resilience and adaptation, HI-AWARE is currently supporting six PhD students from the region, half of whom are women. Read More.


Mini grid synchronisation: the way forward for sustainable Micro Hydro Projects
Anju Pandit, a HI-AWARE researcher, writes about micro hydro power (MHP) development and mini-grid synchronisation in Baglung District in Nepal, which has helped rejuvenate the local economy and uplifted the community. She argues that early success could pave the way for long-term sustainability of MHPs in the district. Read more
Flood affected People of Teesta
Floods wreak havoc in Bangladesh every year, particularly during the monsoon. Districts of central and northern regions see floods in the rainy season and droughts in the dry season. Communities living along the Teesta and Brahmaputra Rivers are particularly vulnerable. This 10.38-minute documentary “Flood-affected people of the Teesta”—produced by the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) for HI-AWARE (—brilliantly captures how floods are affecting the lives and livelihoods of those living in the floodplains of the Teesta river basin in Bangladesh and how they are coping with or adapting to this recurring phenomenon. Watch the video HERE.
Giovanna Gioli and Amina Maharjan, HI-AWARE researchers, write about the precariousness of the lives of the community living inside the flood-prone embankments of the Gandaki River in West Champaran, Bihar. How is the community coping? Read More
Heat Stress and Effective Heat Adaptation Measures
Valérie Eijrond, a Master’s student at Wageningen University, the Netherlands and an intern with Alterra blogs about heat stress and effective heat adaptation measures. Currently, a team from Alterra is conducting indoor and outdoor heat measurement campaigns across select cities in South Asia, which is fast emerging as a global hot spot in terms of warming trends. Households and communities vulnerable to heat stress need all the help they can to adapt to a growing threat of heat waves or temperature extremes, which are projected to increase in intensity, duration and/or frequency in the region in the coming years. Read More
Livelihood Challenges in the Teesta River Basin: Sabina’s Life Now and Then
Anju Pandit, a HI-AWARE researcher, visited Dhaubadi and Phaparbari Village Development Committees in Nawalparasi, and Bhorleni village in Makwanpur in the Gandaki basin in Nepal to study wind-solar hybrid systems, including issues associated with their impacts at household and community levels, operations and maintenance, warranties, finance, sustainability and replicability.Read More.
Md Arfan Uzzaman, a ‪HI-AWARE researcher with BCAS, blogs about how people living on "chars"—river islands formed by the deposition of sediment—in the ‪Teesta rriver basin in Bangladesh are being impacted by climate events such as floods, riverbank erosion, drought and cold waves, and how they are coping with the help of knowledge that has been passed on to them by their ancestors and the knowledge that they have gained through experience. Read More
Livelihood Challenges in the Teesta River Basin: Sabina’s Life Now and Then
Bijay and his family live in Chharki, a village of displaced people in Western Champaran, Bihar, India who have built themselves a community within the embankments of the Gandaki River. He dreams of going to Saudi Arabia to work as a migrant labourer to earn enough to open his own auto mechanic workshop in Bettiah. To him, this dream represents a means by which to free his family from the entrapments of life inside the Gandaki embankment. Amina Maharjan and Giovanna Gioli, HI-AWARE researchers, recount Bijay’s story here.
Aneel Piryani and others write about how farmers are adapting to water shortages in Khaba Baralla in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Read More
No entitlement: Living on borrowed flood lands
With unpredictable ‪rainfall, farmers living in ‪Chharke Village along the ‪Gandaki River in ‪Bihar are vulnerable to the weather and ‪flooding, causing many to migrate and seek jobs elsewhere. Most farmers are ‪sharecroppers working under a very ‪feudal setup. Seasonal ‪migration, and taking out ‪loans from moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates are the norm. Pranita Bhushan Udas’s ‪blog titled "No entitlement: Living on borrowed lands" makes for a very interesting reading. Read More
Aneel Piryani and others blog about how the changing pattern of snowfall is affecting the livelihoods of farmers in Murree Hills in Pakistan. Read more.
Micro-hydropower systems for improving livelihoods
A team from the Climate Change, Alternate Energy and Water Resources Institute (CAEWRI) of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) visited the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) to explore micro-hydropower systems for improving people’s livelihoods. CAEWRI aims to introduce such systems on rivers/canals/channels and streams in hilly terrains for generating electricity and for pumping irrigation water through different approaches. Read More

HI-AWARE in the Media

  • Dr Chanda Gurung Goodrich, Senior Gender Specialist at ICIMOD, and Co-Lead of the HI-AWARE Research Component 2 (“socioeconomic, governance and gender drivers of climate vulnerability”) working group, was profiled by Womanthology–UK on the occasion of International Women's Day, 2016. Her frank views on the challenges facing women of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, and her work toward achieving gender equity and positive gender transformation at her workplace and beyond come shining through in her profiled piece. Read More
  • Four women affiliated with the HI-AWARE Initiative—Zakia Naznin, a researcher with the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced studies (BCAS); Purnamita Dasgupta, Chair and Acting Head of the Environmental Economics Unit at the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, India; Chanda Gurung Goodrich, Senior Gender Specialist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); and Mandira Shrestha, Senior Water Resources Specialist at ICIMOD—were interviewed by Global Water Partnership South Asia (GWP SAS) on the occasion of International Women's Day 2016. Congratulations! Read More.
  • Ahsan Jamil, an ICIMOD media fellow, did a story on the HI-AWARE theme of resilience in the face of climate change in Hunza, Pakistan—one of the HI-AWARE Study Areas in the Indus basin. His story entitled "Community mobilization indispensable to increase water resilience in Hunza" was published in The Pamir Times. Read More.
  • Solar-powered water pumps are helping Pakistani farmers in the Soan river basin in Punjab province adjust to climate change, thanks to the partnership between the Climate Change, Alternate Energy and Water Resources Institute of the National Agricultural Research Centre-Pakistan and the HI-AWARE project supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and Britain’s Department for International Development. Read More.
  • On 27 November 2015, TERI and the Mountain Institute India (TMI-India) organised a workshop on “Water Access and Availability in Mountain Areas of the Teesta Basin,” in Gangtok, Sikkim, India.  Representatives of different agencies gave presentations on ‘The status of water in mountain areas of Teesta basin’, and discussed how to address water access and availability issues in the Teesta basin in the context of climate change.  Read more.
  • Here's an op-ed article titled “When Grids Collide–Micro Hydro Power (MH) Development and Power Diversification” by Anju Pandit and Dr Bhaskar Singh Karky of ICIMOD. Anju Pandit is a HI-AWARE researcher and this piece is based on her visit to the Gandaki Basin in Nepal. Read More
  • HI-AWARE is currently supporting Bhuwan Thapa’s PhD research. Here is a blog he wrote entitled “How farmers are responding to Gorkha earthquake, climatic and socioeconomic changes in Nepal” based on the research he conducted during the summer of 2015. Read More.


Selection of Climate Models for Developing Representative Climate Projections for the Hindu Kush Himalayan RegionArthur Lutz and others have just come out with the HI-AWARE Working Paper 1, titled “Selection of Climate Models for Developing Representative Climate Projections for the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region.” Download the publication HERE.  
Zakir Hussain Dahri and others published a peer-reviewed research article titled “An Appraisal of Precipitation Distribution in the High-Altitude Catchments of the Indus Basin” in the Science of the Total Environment journal. It analyses altitudinal dependency of precipitation in the high-altitude Indus basin by combining most of the available station data with the indirect precipitation estimates at the accumulation zones of major glaciers. It uses Kriging with the External Drift (KED) interpolation scheme with elevation as a predictor to appraise the spatiotemporal distribution of mean monthly, seasonal and annual precipitation for the period 1998–2012. Results show clear non-linear increases in precipitation with altitude. Download the same here.
Golam Rasul, affiliated with ICIMOD-HI-AWARE, published a peer-reviewed research article titled "Managing the food, water, and energy nexus for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia" in the Environmental Development journal. In the paper, the author suggests a framework for strengthening complementarities and synergies among the water, food, and energy sectors as well as for developing institutional mechanisms for cross-sectoral coordination of the actions of diverse actors, with a view toward addressing some of the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia. Download HERE.
Flexibility in Land and Water Use for Coping with Rainfall VariabilityChristian Siderius, a water resources management expert at Alterra-Wageningen UR and a HI-AWARE researcher has completed his PhD Dissertation titled "Flexibility in Land and Water Use for Coping with Rainfall Variability". According to the author, the rationale for undertaking this study was two-fold: a) to further enhance our understanding of flexible strategies for coping with rainfall variability in two important food producing regions, the Ganges basin in South Asia and the Nile basin in East Africa, and b) to explore the future of food production under these variable conditions. Part of the research leading to the dissertation was supported by HI-AWARE. Download HERE.
Arthur F Lutz and others published a peer-reviewed research paper titled "Selecting Representative Climate Models for Climate Change Impact Studies: An Advanced Envelope-Based Selection Approach" in the International Journal of Climatology. Usually, the selection of climate models is either based on the entire range of changes in climatic variables as projected by the total ensemble of available climate models or on the capability of climate models to simulate past climate. The present study combines both these approaches in a three-step sequential procedure for selecting climate models for impact studies in a study area covering the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins. Download HERE.  
Navarun Varma, who is affiliated with TERI-HI-AWARE, presented a paper at the 6th Conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM 2015), entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Growth” in New Delhi, India, on October 28-30, 2015. The abstract of his paper is presented HERE.


The Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) Research Consortium conducts research and pilot interventions, capacity building, and policy engagement on climate resilience and adaptation in the mountains, hills, and flood plains of the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta river basins. The Consortium comprises the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Pakistan Agricultural Research Centre (PARC), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)-India, and Wageningen University and Research (WUR).


HI-AWARE Working Week 2016 is scheduled to be held at the ICIMOD Headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal from 18-22 April 2016. Researchers from the HI-AWARE consortium member organisations and strategic partner organisations will discuss in plenary and in group meetings the various HI-AWARE work packages and research components, not to mention cross cutting issues. The aim is to understand how various components of the HI-AWARE programme, including pilots, are linked to each other, and how they will feed into the expected outcomes of the HI-AWARE Initiative.
HI-AWARE is participating in the 2nd Annual Learning Review of CARIAA in May 2016 in the Netherlands.


Thanks to HI-AWARE Knowledge Management and Communication (KMC) Focal Points—particularly Prasoon Singh, TERI, India; Zakia Naznin, BCAS, Bangladesh; Irfan Ali, PARC, Pakistan; and Hester Biemans, WUR, the Netherlands—for helping put this edition of the HI-AWARE E-bulletin together. Thanks also to Anja Rasmussen, KMC Lead for HI-AWARE, for her advice and guidance. - Ed
HI-AWARE is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) through the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).
Copyright © 2016 International Centre For Integrated Mountain Development, All rights reserved.

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