Why attend NSIH 2021

Hydrological, meteorological or climatological disasters account for 45% of the fatalities and 79% of the economic losses caused by natural hazards. Risks arising from hazards like landslides, glacial lake outbursts, large river floods and flash floods navigate across multiple disciplines and go beyond the expertise of a single research group or research institute. Interdisciplinary and international collaborative efforts enhance scientific discovery and transnational research, which is limited despite the clear benefits.

Co-PREPARE is a newly established UGC and DAAD-funded project at the department of Hydrology, IIT Roorkee and Institute for Environmental Sciences and Geography, University of Potsdam, Germany focusing on natural hazards in the Indian Himalayan region. Co-PREPARE facilitates cooperation between Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) and University of Potsdam (UP) to build capacity in joint hazard research by sharing expertise and creating new knowledge together.

The planned “Natural-hazard symposium for Indian Himalayas 2021" from October 25 to October 28, 2021 aims to create awareness of multiple perspectives and research across domains in the Indian Himalayan region regarding natural hazards. The Indian Himalayan Region represents a significant role in the world's mountain ecosystems. It is young and tectonically active, prone to multi-hazard like floods, landslides, earthquakes among others and suffers great loss of life and property every year. Natural hazard frequency has risen in recent decades in the IHR, resulting in massive socio-economic losses.

At the symposium, we will discuss the current research findings in the Natural-hazard domain in the Indian Himalayan region. We will also try to understand the historic perspective from the experts and how they see the future scenarios. The symposium will be a platform where we will get to hear voices from all the domains involved in natural hazards i.e. practitioners, scientists and the younger generation entering this field.

Sessions are designed to highlight that there is a need for wider collaboration to create relevant policies. The intention is to create a dialogue among various practitioners and researchers active in the Himalayan region. These discussions will provide guidelines for future research of natural-hazard domains in the Indian Himalayas. NSIH 2021 also focuses on developing new skills for early career researchers through hands-on training which will bring a fresh perspective in the research domain hence advancing science-communication.



Keynote Talks

The keynote talks will be given by experts on the emerging hydro-climatological extremes, risk, vulnerability and adaptation in the Indian Himalayan Region.

Panel Discussions

Panel discussions will focus on the future of research in Indian Himalayas and try to highlight the multidisciplinary aspect of the natural-hazard domain

Day 1: Current and Future direction of Research in Himalaya: Learning from IPCC AR6

The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) and latest IPCC Assessment Report (AR6) highlight the recent environmental changes and their impacts in high mountain areas. Increase in surface temperature and changes in precipitation amounts and intensities lead to profound changes in the cryosphere of High Mountain Asia. These changes have severe repercussions on mountain social-ecological systems and include changes in river runoff, geomorphological changes, as well as alterations to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Natural hazards such as flooding, landslides, and avalanches are projected to increase in magnitude and frequency and cascading hazards and combined hazards may become more likely.

Research in high-mountain areas has equipped us with high confidence about several aspects of environmental change in High Mountain Asia. Yet, there are still key gaps in our knowledge that impede efforts to quantitatively measure and predict trends.

The aim of this panel discussion is to spark conversation between a group of experts on needs and future directions of research in the Himalayan region, so that the audience can learn from their discourse and interaction. The panellists share facts, personal experiences, express and discuss opinions on diverse aspects of research on natural hazards and risks in the Himalayas. The discussion shall engage the audience and particularly Early-Career researchers.

Day 4: Breaking Silos: Future of water research for Himalayas

Globally, the field of socio- hydrology is advancing in the direction and acknowledging the need to situate inquiries within social sciences discipline. There is a recognition of the aspect that the questions of physical sciences need to be asked within the socio-political context of the region. It requires a willingness to engage critically with the problem itself to be able to ask the right set of questions, thinking of creative ways to engage with knowledge pluralities along with the need to provide engineering solutions. Researchers also need to reflect on social movements to address ‘what is not included in the modelling of the system?’ There is also a need for good science communication tools to be able to engage back. It is also useful to understand how the communities receive the science and what they think of it. Or how useful this style of pursuing science is for them. The use of Earth observation and numerical models are ways to study broad patterns which can be further investigated using ethnographic methods (also to triangulate the datasets especially in contested basins) is important. An alternative role model can serve to illustrate problems and how things work, not how they will work. In explanatory mode (instead of predictive), acknowledging uncertainties can be tied to specific purposes defined through qualitative/participatory processes putting the process before the numbers.

These arguments are the motivation behind organising a panel discussion involving the young research-practitioner community within Indian Youth Water Network to take some of these aspects and discuss a way forward for research and engagement around resilience and adaptation in the Himalayas.

Indian Youth Water Network

Water issues, especially in the Indian context, are complex in nature and require all stakeholders to engage in understanding them and developing solutions. This process needs to be transparent, inclusive and participatory in nature. The policy discourse shaping the waterscape of the country has included several disciplines, predominantly hydrology, economics and law. However, it has taken a non-participatory and non-cohesive approach, with ‘experts’ largely working in silos. Meanwhile, uncertainties around water availability, and its demand from key growth sectors continue to increase. Currently, water management and governance is suffering from a lack of coordination with research efforts and incomplete correlation of results. This needs to change. There is an urgent need to approach water issues from multiple standpoints. This can vastly increase our chances, as a country, of better understanding and solving the problems in water management and governance.

We believe that a concerted effort to bring together diverse research ideas and imaginations is crucial for creating lasting solutions. Young researchers and practitioners like us are well-placed to explore the potential of a fresh paradigm. Good governance is not only for consumption solely but one to be co-created.

Hands-on Training

Co-PREPARE believes in fostering the scientists of the future and as such, we are pleased to extend Co-PREPARE Conference Grant (CAG) for early career researchers to participate in Hands-On Session. Eligible candidates will be selected for CAG to participate in Hands on sessions.

Presentation early career researchers

The early career researchers will give presentations on compound extremes, bedload transportation and out bust of moraine- dammed lakes in the Indian Himalayan Region.

Listen to the Speakers and Panelists

Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi

Director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee

Prof. Oliver Günther

President of the University of Potsdam, Germany

Dr. Katja Lasch

German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New Delhi

Prof. Dr. H.C Mult. Jurgen Kurths

Senior Scientist,
Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Prof. Dr. Axel Bronstert

Director of the Institute for Environmental Sciences and Geography,
University of Potsdam, Germany

Dr. R. Krishnan

Scientist G & Executive Director,
Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR), Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology

Dr. Eddy Moors

Rector, IHE Delft, Netherlands ,Professor of Water and Climate, VU University

Ms. Ulka Kelkar

Director – Climate, WRI India

Prof. Sumit Sen

Head Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management (CoEDMM)

Dr. Wolfgang Schwanghart

University of Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Bodo Bookhagen

University of Potsdam

Dr. Santosh Nepal

Himalayan Hydrology, Climate Change impact:, Hydrological Modeling, ICIMOD

Dr. Simon Allen

Science and policy, engaged with IPCC, Universities of Geneva and Zurich

Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni

Executive Director and Secretary, Advance Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM)

Dr. Kristen Cook

GFZ Potsdam

Prof. D. S. Arya

Department of Hydrology, IIT Roorkee

Prof. Ashutosh Sharma

Assistant Professor, Department of Hydrology, IIT Roorkee

Dr. Tarun Bisht

Postdoc, Living Deltas, Newcastle University

Neha Khandekar

Doctoral researcher, Co-founder- IYWN

Kavita Upadhyay

Independent Journalist/researcher

Siddhartha Agarwal

Researcher, Activist, Filmmaker, Veditum India Foundation, India Rivers Forum

Dr. Manish Kumar

Consultant, IWMI

Rinan Shah

Doctoral Researcher, Atree, Domestic Water Scarcity, Mountain Towns, Himalayas

Dr. Rahul Ranjan

PostDoc, Oslo Met

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