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Norway funds for river study

- Focus on two sub-basins

Guwahati, Dec. 17: Two sub-basins of the Brahmaputra will be the focus of the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme — an international collaborative project that aims to generate knowledge about the impact of climate change on natural resources, ecosystem services and the communities depending on them.

The upper Brahmaputra basin in China will be studied by a number of agencies while the eastern Brahmaputra basin — which spans six districts of Assam and five districts of Arunachal Pradesh — will be studied by Aaranyak — a frontline environment organisation of the Northeast. The ministry of foreign affairs, Norway, is funding the programme.

The eastern Brahmaputra basin is prone to floods, riverbank erosion and land degradation owing to siltation. The programme will try and make communities more resilient against such hazards.

The programme is a five-year plan (2011-2015) that focuses on four sub-basins of three major Himalayan rivers — two sub-basins of the Brahmaputra and one each in the Indus and the Ganges.

The programme is a collaboration among three organisations — CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo, Norway, International Centre for Integrated mountain Development (ICIMOD) and United Nations Environmental Programme.

Programme head of Aaranyak’s water, climate and hazard programme, Partha J. Das, said the organisation was implementing three projects of the programme in the eastern Brahmaputra basin in collaboration with ICIMOD.

According to him, the combination of anthropogenic (environmental pollution originating from human activity) changes and climate change will make things worse for the eastern Brahmaputra basin and cause complex and difficult to predict impact.

“The importance of enhancing people’s adaptive capacity and making communities resilient has never been given importance in state policies,” Das said.

The programme is organised around seven inter-linked components — climate change scenarios, water availability and demand scenarios, ecosystem services, food security, vulnerability and adaptation, women in adaptation and communications and outreach.

A two-day workshop is being held at Tinsukia on December 19-20 to identify key drivers of ecosystem change and state of ecosystem in the eastern Brahmaputra river basin, Das said.

The goal of the workshop is sharing knowledge about the state of ecosystems in the eastern Brahmaputra basin, identify key drivers of ecosystem change in the region and understanding linkages between ecosystems and livelihood.