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The Koshi River Basin: Insights into biophysical, socioeconomic, and governance challenges and opportunities

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Koshi resource book focusing on ecosystems, water management, and governance launched

SHARMILA DHUNGANA

We recently launched a resource book – The Koshi River Basin: Insights into biophysical, socioeconomic, and governance challenges and opportunities – bringing together editors, lead authors, researchers, government officials, and other key stakeholders in the Koshi River Basin working on issues of water resource management, ecosystem, and disasters. The book is open access and can be downloaded here.

About the resource book

Considering the basin’s vulnerability to multiple hazards and climate change impacts, the book uses a socio-ecological systems approach in a river basin context to analyse the complexities – of the water resource system, related ecosystems, uses and users, and governance mechanisms – and suggests possible approaches for water management at different scales. It presents information related to climate change, water resource use, and governance, and suggests some innovative solutions and approaches for decision makers across the transboundary basin. The five chapters cover the state of knowledge, key knowledge gaps on integrated river basin management , and recommendations on the way forward so that readers can build on this knowledge to inform future research on the basin. The book is helpful for policy makers, administrators, development workers, and researchers working on addressing water resource management issues in the Koshi River Basin.

At the launch, one of the lead authors highlighted the relevance of the book: ‘Due to inadequate collective knowledge, stakeholders are making “independent decisions about interdependent issues” in the basin, and this resource book aims to fill the gap of such fragmented knowledge and builds on the existing knowledge on climate issues in the Koshi basin.’

The social-ecological framework

In addition to being a very comprehensive analysis of different environmental and ecological issues in the basin, the book uses the social-ecological framework in organizing the chapters. The authors explained that this framework works well for organizing the findings both on biophysical and socioeconomic systems and provides a conceptual space to address issues of sustainable infrastructure development and to discuss appropriate policies and institutions for river basin governance systems.

Rivers that unite

As our Director General Pema Gyamtsho aptly puts it, ‘Rivers connect, but rivers also divide; let’s build on the connectivity.’ It is crucial to focus on not just the transboundary challenges but also the mutual gains that the Koshi basin can provide. The resource book aims to foster knowledge exchange and dialogue among various stakeholders for finding solutions to problems regarding water and hazard management and help leverage the mutual gains for the sustainable future of the Koshi River Basin.