Regional climate data centre a timely need: Conference

A speaker also highlighted the need for an equitable share of water from transboundary rivers in line with international convention.


October 14, 2022

DHAKA – A regional climate data centre in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region to share non-sensitive data for a better collaboration to fight the impacts of climate change is imperative, said speakers at a conference yesterday.

They made the remarks on the concluding day of the two-day Hindu Kush Himalaya Climate Regional Conference, titled “Climate Data: Opportunities for Resilient Development”, held at a Dhaka hotel.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), and the Planning Commission organised the conference.

Gyanendra Karki of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said the data currently in the hand of the countries in the region are enough to start any initiative.

“Every nation having its own strategy can have a complementary adaptation plan that will help bridge the gap in collaboration. It is easy to discuss the problem. However, no practical solution will come up until there is a political commitment underlining the need to form a regional centre for cooperation among the countries in the HKH region,” he said.

Mandira Singh Shrestha from The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), said capacity building was a key part of understanding data.

“Data is scattered across the region, prompting the need to develop a platform regionally. Whatever we have in hand, we have to put it in a way that connects local people and helps them in their fight to be resilient against the climate impact,” she said.

She said ICIMOD could lead any such centre to be built for coordination and collaboration across the Hindu Kush Himalaya region.

Anuj Sharma, co-founder of Earth Analytics, said, “The formation of a geospatial academy to generate climate data could help us to mutually understand the impacts of climate change.”

“The region also needs a climate change database to guide and mitigate national mitigation efforts. We have to have a realistic goal along with transboundary collaboration,” he added.

Malik Fida A Khan, executive director of Centre for Environment and Geographical Information Services (CEGIS), highlighted the need for a specific policy for data sharing.

“An integrated system for sharing climate data sharing could be a step forward in the process of regional cooperation. We can start with non-sensitive data sharing,” he said.

Hasna Jamiuddin Moudud, councillor of South and East Asia at International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said Bangladesh must prioritise getting flood forecasting from India in advance for the preparation to reduce the damage during a flood.

She also highlighted the need for an equitable share of water from transboundary rivers in line with international convention.

Farhina Ahmed, secretary of the environment ministry, in her chief guest speech, said data sharing and regional collaboration were of immense importance for all the countries across the Hindu Kush Himalaya region.

She also expressed her hopes that the conference will be able to create the much-needed data generation journey in the region.

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