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27th January 2024 (10 Topics)

Enhancing Climate Resilience in Hindu Kush Himalaya through Spatial Planning


The pressing issue of floods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region and emphasizes the need for climate-resilient strategies, particularly through spatial planning and nature-based solutions.

1.  Widespread Flooding in HKH:

   - Recent Catastrophes (2023): Cataclysmic floods hit the Indian Himalayas and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, resulting in significant human casualties and extensive damages.

   - Common Catalysts: Unplanned construction along riverbanks, alteration of traditional farming practices, and inadequate drainage systems contribute to the heightened risk of floods.

   - Climate-Resilient Activities: Embracing nature-based solutions ensures climate-resilient practices, preparing communities in the HKH region for potential floods.

2.  Spatial Land-Use Planning for Climate Adaptation:

   - Urbanization Impact: Rapid urbanization has led to unchecked construction in flood-prone areas, diminishing natural floodplains and exacerbating disaster risks.

   - Spatial Planning Importance: Enforcing strict town planning using spatial land-use planning approaches is crucial for mitigating floods, landslides, and climate change impacts.

   - Community Engagement: Participatory technology-based spatial planning engages communities in decision-making, designates risk-prone zones as restricted areas, and guides strategic infrastructure placement.

3.  Role of IT and Nature based solutions:

   - GIS and Earth Observation (EO) and Real time Data: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Earth Observation (EO) data play a pivotal role in spatial planning by evaluating land use changes, mapping flood hazards, exposure,           and vulnerability. GIS provides real-time flood inundation data, aiding disaster response, relief efforts, and timely action to reduce casualties.

   - Community-Based Flood Early Warning Systems: Initiatives like the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development's (ICIMOD) low-cost community-based flood early warning system empower local communities to respond          to floods effectively.

   - Tree Planting, Retention Ponds and Barrier Effect: Planting native trees along riverbanks and creating retention ponds serve as effective nature-based solutions. Trees act as natural barriers, slowing floodwaters, absorbing excess                rainwater, and contributing to the recharge of natural springs.

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