State Govt at World Mountain Forum as special invitee to address GLOF

Gangtok, 24 Oct:

Government of Kyrgyz Republic in collaboration with University of Central Asia is organizing World Mountain Forum 2018 “Mountains in a Changing World: Strengthening Partnerships and Pathways towards a Thriving Mountain Future” in Kyrgyzstan from 23-26 Oct. The forum is also being attended by Government of Sikkim as special invitee, a press release informs.

The State Government has been invited to share experiences and learnings on the pilot project on “Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities due to Glacial Lake Outburst Flood [GLOF] at South Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim”.

This initiative is being supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation-United Nations Development Programme [SDC-UNDP] Project on Strengthening State Strategies on Climate Actions.

The State Government was represented by Special Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department,Rinzing ChewangBhutia, Additional Director, Science & Technology & Climate Change Department, Dhirendra Gopal Shrestha, and Technical Expert, Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDP, Keshav Koirala.

Mr Chewang also informed the gathering about Sikkim’s organic mission and recent recognition accorded to Chief Minister Pawan Chamling by the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] at Rome in Italy.

He then gave a presentation on the GLOF Risks in Sikkim and the mitigation work carried out by the State Government in collaboration with SDC-UNDP 3SCA Project. He also highlighted the installation of siphoning system to draw out water from the lake.

Additional Director, STCC Department, Mr Shrestha, spoke at length about the vulnerability of South Lhonak Lake to GLOF.

He explained the work done by Remote Sensing Centre under Sikkim State Council for Climate Change in researching and monitoring the glacial lakes of Sikkim. He also emphasized on the State Government’s resolve to operationalize the State Action Plan for Climate Change adding the Pilot Project on GLOF in Sikkim was an excellent example.

The release informs that Mr Shrestha was a member of the Working Group of experts formed by Department of Science & Technology, Government of India to study the South Lhonak Glacial Lake and recommend suitable mitigation measure thereof. The Working Group gave its report in Aug 2014 wherein siphoning was recommended as one of the best suited mitigation measures.

Technical Expert, DRR, Mr Koirala, in his presentation, highlighted the overall goal and expected outcomes of the 3SCA Project in Sikkim. He explained the rationale behind taking up the Pilot Project on siphoning while laying emphasis on SAPCC and Working Group recommendations.

His presentation also focused on the challenging processes involved in successfully siphoning the glacial water from South Lhonak Lake. He also spoke about the second output of the project which was building community resilience of the vulnerable communities by organizing programmes to educate, disseminate and build capacities. He also thanked the State Government in recognizing UNDP’s role as partners to reduce the risks of disasters in the State of Sikkim.

Other speakers included representatives from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, University of Freiburg and University of Zurich.

This is the 4thWorld Mountain Forums following three previous World Mountain Forums, each in different mountain regions of the world - Switzerland [2011], Peru [2014], Uganda [2016].