Thursday, November 3, 2016

Call for Indo-Swiss Collaborative Research on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in the Himalayas

Under the Framework Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Government of India and the Government of Switzerland, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is seeking joint proposals from universities and research institutions in India and Switzerland to conduct collaborative research in the field of glaciology and related areas in the Indian Himalayan Region.

The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) suffers from a knowledge gap as a result of scarce data, limited research and monitoring networks and poor documentation. IHR can benefit and contribute to global knowledge and understanding for a comprehensive scientific consensus on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in the world’s mountain regions. The goal of this Indo-Swiss collaborative research is to enhance institutional and human capacities on climate science for adaptation to climate change in IHR and addressing major knowledge gaps in the region.

"The Himalayan ecosystem is extremely rich and diverse yet fragile. It is highly vulnerable and susceptible to the impacts and consequences of climate change on account of both natural causes and anthropogenic emissions at global and local scales. Developing scientific understanding of such changes and their impacts on Himalayan ecosystem is one of the major challenges for the Indian scientific community. The Indo-Swiss collaborative research is envisaged to focus on building human and institutional S&T capacities in the Indian Himalayan region through institutional collaboration and scientists to scientists linkages between the two countries." Akhilesh Gupta, Adviser/Scientist-G and Head SPLICE and Climate Change Programme, Department of Science and Technology.

DST is implementing the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) as part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) is a project under the Global Programme Climate Change (GPCC) of SDC. IHCAP has been developed to support and facilitate implementation of NMSHE as a technical and knowledge partner.

“The overall goal of IHCAP is that the resilience of vulnerable mountain communities in the Himalayas is strengthened and knowledge and capacities of research institutions, communities and decision-makers are connected and enhanced. IHCAP in Phase 2 is proposed as an initiative to increase knowledge about climate change impacts and response in IHR through scientific research, capacity building and knowledge exchange and dissemination.” Janine Kuriger, Director of Cooperation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The ongoing changes in the climate are directly impacting glaciers and snow cover in the Himalayas, and in turn, the hydrology of the region. Glaciers provide some of the clearest evidence of climate change and constitute key variables for early-detection strategies in global climate-related observations.

The Indo-Swiss collaborative research encourages assessments in areas of glaciology, hydrology and meteorology, their interlinkages, current and future impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies. Special emphasis is on design of approaches to enhance the resilience of ecosystem and communities’ livelihoods to changing climate through appropriate adaptation measures.

For greater uptake of results, the collaborative research is expected to involve a wide range of relevant stakeholders including government, civil society organizations and communities during the course of research.

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