Established in November 2017, the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) Thematic Working Group on Water (Water Group) is a regional initiative aimed at systematic amalgamation of widespread knowledge on water resources management in Himalayan region.
The Water Group was established under a common platform to foster learning through an interdisciplinary approach. Apart from contributing to academic value addition, it works to strengthen regional cooperation around water resources by establishing networks of water management professionals.
Arun Kansal, professor at the TERI School of Advanced Studies (India) during the workshop. Kansal leads the Water Group.
As a follow-up to the first Water Group meeting in New Delhi in February 2018, the second meeting aimed to develop a strategy document on actionable points and generate consensus among group members on key details of the operational framework—governance, communication, promotion, resource mobilization, and joint actions, among others—through intensive group work. The experts also gathered ideas for the group’s financial sustainability and its short-term activities.
Group work in progress
The participants also attended the inaugural session of the International Mountain Futures Conference in Kunming and visited Daimchi Lake where LU Ying, professor at Yunnan University, presented on lake water pollution issues and solutions. HE Daming, Professor, Hydrology and Physical Geography Director at Asian International Rivers Center Yunnan University, welcomed the participants and provided detailed information about Yunnan University.
Findings of the comprehensive assessment through HIMAP (Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme)—which is being coordinated by ICIMOD—were also shared during the event. The presentation also indicated areas where the HUC Water Group could contribute to HIMAP.
Philippus Webster presenting the findings of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP).
Deliberations of the meeting and a strategy paper will be shared during the HUC General Assembly in 2018. Key officials at water resource ministries and departments in the HKH region will also receive a record of the deliberations and the strategy paper so that the Water Group might receive feedback and engage with key officials on a long-term basis.
Wang Wenling, professor at Yunnan University shared information about Yunnan University’s new campus with the participants. Wenling played a key role in organizing the Water Group meeting.
Representatives of six HUC full members—Afghanistan (Kandahar University), Bangladesh (University of Chittagong), China (Yunnan University), India (TERI School of Advanced Studies), Myanmar (Yezin Agricultural University), Nepal (Kathmandu University), HUC associate members from Pakistan (Pakistan Agricultural Research Council) and the UK (University of Reading)—and an observer member from the USA (University of North Carolina) participated in the meeting. Two resource persons from HUC-ICIMOD, working with ICIMOD’s Water theme, also participated.
The second Water Group meeting was co-organized by Yunnan University and HUC-ICIMOD, and co-funded by Yunnan University and the World Bank.