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Third Indus Basin Knowledge Forum - Managing Systems Under Stress: Science for Solutions in the Indus Basin


The Third Indus Basin Knowledge Forum will be held in Vienna, Austria from 31st May, 2018 to 2nd June, 2018. This event will build on the outcomes of the 2nd Indus Basin Knowledge Forum that took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka in July 2017. The meeting is co-convened by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the World Bank, therefore building on the earlier work of the Indus Forum, the Upper Indus Basin Network and other basin level initiatives, such as the Global Environment Facility funded Integrated Solutions for Water, energy and Land project (ISWEL). It will bring together nearly a 100 stakeholders from research, academia, government, foundations and the donor community to actively engage in discussions around scenario development for decision-making in the Indus basin as well as sharing research outcomes with policy makers, as well as with funders to explore potential collaboration to facilitate science and fact-based decision making to advance the sustainable management of the Indus basin.

The objectives of the Third Indus Basin Knowledge Forum are:

  • Follow up on the 2nd Indus Basin Knowledge Forum
  • Bring together researchers and research funders of water-related work in the Indus basin to facilitate interaction and potential collaboration
  • Review the outcomes of the Scenario Workshop for Indus basin developed with basin stakeholders as part of the IIASA’s Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy and Lane (ISWEL) project
The agenda and concept of the Third Indus Basin Knowledge Forum can be found here.

Kabul River Basin Decision Support Tool


The Kabul River Basin decision support tool includes two key change analysis considering the fragilities faced in the basin. Online web interface: http://waterdata.iwmi.org/applications/icib_dss/

Landslide Susceptibility Mapping

Landslide susceptibility is the probability of the spatial occurrence of a landslide or mass wasting event in a particular area. Landslide susceptibility maps are vital for disaster management and for planning development activities mainly in the mountainous areas. GIS-based expert driven weighted overlay and fuzzy logic techniques are adopted to generate susceptibility maps for this preliminary landslide hazard. Landslide susceptibility maps were generated by coupling two main indicators groups: 1) environmental risk factors, including slope angle, slope aspect, elevation, lithology maps; and 2) the causative factors, including seismicity and rainfall. The input map layers were reclassified using a ranking scale of 1 to 9, where 1 is the least susceptible and 9 the most susceptible to landsliding. Each layer multiplied by different weights, depending upon their anticipated contribution to triggering landslides. This tool provides Land Susceptibility Index Maps. The initial weightage are based on literature and the users have options to change the weight values of the 10 parameters used.

Flood Hazard Mapping

Flood Hazard Mapping uses information of seven hydrogeological, morphological and socio-economic parameters namely flow accumulation, distance from drainage network, elevation, landuse, rainfall and geology. The initials of these criteria gave the name to the developed methodology: "FIGUSED". The relative importance of each parameter for the occurrence and severity of flood has been conducted to weight values. This tool provides Flood Hazard Index maps. The initial weightages are based on literature and the users have options to change the weight values of the seven parameters used.

For further details, please contact: Ram Bastakoti (r.bastakoti@cgiar.org) .

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Kabul River Basin Geodatabase


Indus River Basin represents complex decision-making environment. The complexity calls for the need of right decision support environments to enhance the quality of development outcomes. As part of SAWGP/DFID supported initiative "Informing change in Indus Basin" IWMI has developed GIS Mapping Tool that examines ways in which better development outcomes can be planned combining different data sets through GIS-based approaches, the tool has been piloted considering Kabul River Basin as one of the complex decision making environments. The Mapping Tool has two components: geodatabase and decision support tool, available online through IBKP.

Kabul River Basin Geodatabase has been designed based on a thematic structure that integrates geographic information from various sources. This thematic structure helps to understand the roles of different organizations working within the basin and the key objective of producing their spatial data. The metadata provides the record of credibility of information and their contribution towards research and development. Thus, the geodatabase comprises a comprehensive package that specifies the content, and representation of each thematic layer, including its source of information, originator, scale and credibility. The geodatabase structure consists of different types of geographic information system (GIS) data, including attribute data, geographic features, Raster Images, surface modeling three-dimensional (3D) data, utility and transportation network systems, Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates and survey measurements. The geodatabase helps users to explore and analysis the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of the basin.
Online web interface: http://waterdata.iwmi.org/applications/kabul/

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The Indus Basin Gender Profile Mapper


Gender inequity is prevalent in water management and agriculture but there is very little accurate data available on gendered aspects of these sectors. With regard to the Indus River Basin, spatially referenced information on gender particularly for large geographic areas is currently not available. However, in order to improve gender equity in access and decision-making, researchers, policy makers and development investors need better information and understanding of gender relations in water and agricultural systems.

The Indus Basin Gender Profile Mapper aims to address this and provide a new perspective on gender inequalities by demonstrating gendered disparities across the Basin from a spatial perspective. The maps on this website display open source, sex-disaggregated data on various indicators related to population, sex ratio, literacy mortality, malnutrition and sanitation for the Indus river basin, as well as a combined index. As would be expected, the type of data available differs vastly from area to area in the basin. We have therefore included two data layers in this tool, presenting the data at the province/state level, and wherever a finer level of data is available, also presenting it at the district level. This continues to be a work in progress and we hope to expand the current set of indicators by including other indicators relevant to water management and agriculture in the future.

These maps can be useful tools for researchers who use evidence-based data to better inform and target their research, policy makers and regional authorities who are making water and agricultural management decisions, donors who wish to better able to target their development initiatives and investments to respond to regional demands and NGOs and civil society groups who can use the maps for planning and programming as they work towards gender equality and poverty reduction in the basin.

Click here to view the Indus Basin Gender Profile Mapper.

Gender Profile Mappers for the Ganges, Mekong, Nile and Volta can be found at http://waterdata.iwmi.org/applications/4BGP/gender_map.php.

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The Indus Basin Knowledge Forum: Exploring New Knowledge Frontiers for Development and Resilience, 4-6 July, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka.


The Indus Basin is a key resource shared by Afghanistan, China, India, and Pakistan. Some 300 million people live within the basin and rely on its resource base - and many more beyond benefit from the harnessing of basin resources. At the same time, however, the Indus is a system under increasing stress. Rapid population growth and economic development place major demands on basin resources and, coupled with uncertain climate futures, leave a challenging mix affecting all current and future users of this unique river system.

A baseline of knowledge and understanding on challenges, future impacts and possible responses for basin development provides an important public good, if made accessible to all. The purpose of this 'Indus Basin Knowledge Forum' is to assess the current state of knowledge, to support approaches that push forward 'knowledge frontiers' and to explore ways of consolidating, strengthening and cooperating more effectively around scientific knowledge co-production and sharing across the basin. At present, the landscape is one of fragmented knowledge and scattered understanding. Whilst perfect consolidation is a challenge, many steps can be taken to improve the existing situation, ensuring the harnessing and more effective use of scientific knowledge in development planning that supports all users of Indus Basin resources.

This meeting is co-convened by IWMI, ICIMOD and the World Bank. Building on the Upper Indus Basin Network and the Indus Forum, it is a continuation of processes started under the South Asia Water Initiative's Indus Forum. In February, 2016 the Indus Forum held a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal with the objective of building better understanding of ongoing research and interventions related to climate change and adaptation, the cryosphere and waters of the Indus Basin. This year, the focus of the meeting is on 'The Indus Basin: New Knowledge Frontiers for Development and Resilience'. The meeting will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 4-6th July, 2017.

The purpose of the meeting is: To assess the nature of knowledge on Indus Basin development challenges, to explore new knowledge frontiers and to build greater coordination through further co-development and sharing of knowledge.

Building on the purpose of the wider Indus Forum, this meeting will seek to identify strategic opportunities for collaborative actions that provide results on the ground. At the same time the meeting will aim to enhance work with national governments in the area of water resource management and transboundary coordination on scientific knowledge across the basin.

The meeting will bring together over 100 key stakeholders from government, civil society, academia and the private sector, including Indus Forum members, from the four basin countries to:

  • Share current initiatives and establish levels of knowledge sharing and identify key gaps;
  • Build and nurture future inter-country and inter-institutional knowledge sharing to enhance the science-policy interface;
  • Agree a set of actions that will continue improving and consolidating the wider knowledge environment in the basin in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including enhancing climate resilience.
  • Research on climate change and its impacts on glaciers and hydrologic processes in the Indus basin

    feature-picture-1Existing studies indicate that climate change could bring about dramatic changes in the discharge of the Indus River due to the projected global increase in the temperature. Reviewing the scientific literature on the existing knowledge is the first step to assess knowledge gaps and guide future research. The Indus Forum Knowledge Mapping of the research on climate change and its impacts on glaciers and hydrologic processes in the Indus basin identifies specific research and data gaps. It maps and reviews the existing data and information (articles, reports, monographs etc.) that are available on climate change, glaciological and hydrologic research for various tributaries of the basin and/or individual glaciers in the Indus basin countries for wider circulation in the region and beyond. The information is documented in the form of a report and a portable GIS database that will be made accessible to the research and policymaking community, as well as the wider public, through web portals hosted by key institutions (IWMI, ICIMOD, etc.) across and beyond the region. The GIS database shows glaciers that have been studied in the region providing the attribute information about the type and duration of studies, research groups and a host of other available details on glacier characteristics in the Indus basin.

    Regional Conference on Risks and Solutions: Adaptation Frameworks for Water Resources Planning, Development and Management in South Asia

    feature-picture-1Over 65 water resource and climate change experts, scientists and policy makers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka convened in Colombo, on July 12 - 13, 2016, to discuss the adaptation frameworks and strategies necessary to respond to the risks of climate change. The conference was jointly organized by the International Water management Institute (IWMI) and the World Bank-led South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI). The conference is part of a two-phased South Asia Water Initiative aims to build knowledge, tools and capacity across South Asia to assist governments in adapting to emerging climate change challenges in the water sector. The objective of this two-day regional conference is to bring together key decision makers from seven South Asian countries to review the three diagnostic papers prepared under Phase 1 on the current knowledge, policy and institutional/financing environment on climate change adaptation and water resources management in the South Asia region, and to seek guidance and support for the establishment of a second phase, focused on the development of adaptation frameworks in respective countries. The importance of integrated river basin planning for South Asia’s rivers including the Indus, and the need to foster greater transboundary cooperation for better river basin management were some of the topics that generated a lot of lively discussion. An informal vote on recommendations going forward saw 1) the setting up of a regional educational initiative on climate adaptation and water management, 2) a climate adaptation and groundwater initiative and 3) a date sharing initiative obtaining the highest number of votes. Read more at:

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    Conference on Climate and Environment Change Impacts on the Indus Basin Waters

    feature-picture-1An International Conference on "Climate and Environment Change Impacts on the Indus Basin Waters" was held from 16 to 19 February 2016 at ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal, organized jointly by World Bank, IWMI and ICIMOD. The main objective of this event was to develop better understanding of ongoing research and interventions related to climate change and adaptation, the cryosphere and waters of the Indus basin. The conference attempted to develop a framework to synergise the research and implementation efforts of various institutions and individuals. As part of this event, a pre-conference workshop was also held by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to discuss the Informing Change in the Indus Basin (ICIB) project, which will be implemented in the next two years. The ICIB project, financed by DFID under the South Asia Water Governance Program, has three main components based on knowledge share, decision-making mechanisms and dialog. Furthermore, this project aims to contribute to strengthen and foster positive change in the basin. Read more at:

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