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BRIEF October 26, 2017

South Asia Program on Hydromet, Climate Services and Resilience

Impact of Disasters and Climate Risks in South Asia

South Asia is highly prone to weather and water-related disasters such as flooding, drought, thunderstorms and cyclones.

In the past two decades, more than 50% of South Asians, or nearly 750 million people, have been affected by at least one natural disaster.

The social and economic costs of such hazards is staggering and left almost 230,000 people dead and $45 billion in damages between 1970 and 2008.

In India, direct losses incurred from natural disasters in 2003 equaled  2% of the country’s GDP and about 12% of its revenue. Pakistan has suffered $16 billion in losses since 2005. In Bhutan, damages caused by the 2009 Aila cyclone edged $17 million.

Program Objective

The program objective is to strengthen institutions, facilitate knowledge exchange and enhance cooperation on Hydrological and Meteorological (hydromet) risks and climate services across South Asia.

Specifically, the program supports participating countries and institutions to better respond to weather and water-related hazards and climate risks domestically and regionally. The program also aims to improve monitoring, weather and flood forecasting, community-based early warning systems, and the delivery of hydromet services to communities.

This approach shifts from managing water-related disasters to management of risks and help strengthen the supply and demand aspects of hydromet service delivery.

Why a Regional Program?

Weather patterns such as tropical cyclones, monsoons and severe thunderstorms are trans-boundary and best monitored, understood and predicted from a regional and global perspective.

Regional collaboration builds up on already existing information and forecasts rather than investing in new capacity. This approach fosters learning and innovation in the development and delivery of weather, water and climate information based services. 

Two action areas

1.       National level Preparedness, Resilience and Services

The main objective is to strengthen the capacity of national/sub-basin institutions to manage hydro-meteorological hazards --floods, droughts—and the delivery of weather-based information.

Some activities include:

2.       Regional Cooperation to Strengthen Resilience

The main objective is to strengthen disaster preparedness and climate resilience through cross-border and regional dialogue, sharing lessons learned and best practices and scaling up ongoing sub-regional collaborations.

Activities include:

  • Regional Capacity Strengthening of Hydromet Institutions in collaboration with India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • Sub-Regional Consultations
  • Report on Transboundary Flood Early Warning Systems
  • Improve hydromet services in Africa region. The availability of global and regional weather and climate monitoring forecasting systems means that, with relatively modest investment, African countries can substantially improve their such services.

Partners: Key government partners include Departments of Meteorology, Water Resources, Agriculture, Disaster Risk Management, and knowledge sectors agencies; regional and global organizations including World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development  (ICIMOD) and academic institutions.