Enhancing Climate Resilience in Hindu Kush Himalaya

Enhancing Climate Resilience in Hindu Kush Himalaya

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

What is Spatial planning?
• Spatial planning is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the spatial arrangement and development of living, working, and environmental conditions at various spatial levels. It refers to the methods and approaches used by the public and private sector to influence the distribution of people and activities in spaces of various scales.

What are the issues seen in HKH region?

Widespread floods
• Cataclysmic floods hit the Indian Himalayas and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, resulting in significant human casualties and extensive damages.
• Primary Reasons: 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.

Role of Spatial land-use planning
• Rapid urbanization has led to unchecked construction in flood-prone areas, diminishing natural floodplains and exacerbating disaster risks.
• Enforcing strict town planning using spatial land-use planning approaches is crucial for mitigating floods, landslides, and climate change impacts.
• Participatory technology-based spatial planning engages communities in decision-making, designates riskprone zones as restricted areas, and guides strategic infrastructure placement.

What is the role of IT and Nature based solutions?
• 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.
• 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.
• 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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