Flooding creates urgency for transboundary cooperation

Posted: 2008-12-01

The Kosi River, a Ganges tributary, regularly breaks its banks. However, the floods of 2008 brought unprecedented devastation to more than three million people, causing immense suffering in Nepal and India. Apart from environmental causes and human negligence, the flooding was exacerbated by a lack of coordination between India and Nepal. In response, GWPIndia, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) and GWP South Asia (GWP-SAS) organised a multi-stakeholder forum in November 2008 to promote greater cooperation in flood mitigation. Participants included experts from each country in the region as well as representatives from the SDMC, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), local NGOs, government officials, and researchers. The meeting created a sense of urgency and a willingness to continue the dialogue initiated by ICIMOD and the World Meteorological Organization in promoting regional cooperation for flood risk reduction. GWP-SAS completed a study on Regional Cooperation for Flood Disaster Management in the Ganges and Brahmaputra River Basins, the synthesis of which was shared at a regional meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in January 2009. The study identifies the need for a basin-wide flood management strategy. It also emphasises the need to establish a flood information-sharing network between riparian countries and an appropriate institutional mechanism to improve forecasting reliability, and recommends capacity building of key institutions involved in early warning systems.

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