An Institutional Analysis of Glacial Floods and Disaster Risk Management in the Nepal Himalaya

Authors: Ian Thompson*,
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Asia, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Institutions, Resiliency, perception
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) represent natural hazards endemic to glaciated mountain ranges such as the Andes, Alps, and Himalaya. These hazards pose a threat to human life, livelihoods, and physical infrastructure that can happen at short notice. The isolated nature of these communities and dependence on the unique mountain ecosystem increase vulnerability and raise the need for building adaptive capacity in hazard management. While the relationship between climate change and GLOF events are now well established, societal factors such as risk perception and institutional capacity are less comprehensive. The majority of adaptation and mitigation strategies originate from institutions outside of the communities at risk in the Himalayan region. While this increases access to resources, conflict arises from historical issues such as the lack of transparency, exclusionary planning processes, and agenda setting that hinder implementation. If Himalaya institutions continue neglecting community perception, vulnerability to GLOF events will continue to pervade the region. This study analyzes how disaster risk institutions are incorporating community perception and using tools such as participatory planning that create a more community-based approach to hazard planning. Through analyzing household survey data and institutional mapping, a more comprehensive picture can be built of current institutional priorities and how these are transitioning over time. This will aid in building resilience of disaster risk management in Nepal in a way that enhances institutional partnerships between communities and external agencies.

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