The Finnish Meteorological Institute is increasing cooperation in the Himalayan region
David Molden, Director General, and Eklabaya Sharma, Director, Programme Operations, of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) visited the Finnish Meteorological Institute on 29 August. The visit was prompted by more extensive cooperation between the Meteorological Institute and ICIMOD.
Photo: Emmi Lehikoinen
On 29 August 2012, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and ICIMOD signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will intensify cooperation aimed at enhancing hydrometeorological knowledge and preparation for natural disasters in the Himalayan region. The Memorandum of Understanding creates a formal framework for cooperation between the two organisations.
An important organisation in the Himalayan region, ICIMOD is an active promoter of regional development and education in the sectors of both hydrology and meteorology. Its member countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
Increased hydrometeorological knowledge helps prepare for natural disasters
The Central Asian and Himalayan regions are highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Weather conditions cause damage repeatedly. In mountainous areas, heavy rains lead to unpredictable and very challenging landslides, avalanches and floods.
The goal of the cooperation between the Finnish Meteorological Institute and ICIMOD is to enhance hydrometeorological knowledge within ICIMOD and its member countries and to improve preparedness for weather-induced natural disasters. Climate change is likely to increase extreme weather events in the future. Efficient weather and climate services make it easier to manage the adverse effects of climate change and extreme weather events on the economy and human life.
Cooperation with ICIMOD is part of the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s international strategy and is an example of the ongoing organisational activities. The cooperation increases the Meteorological Institute’s knowledge of weather conditions and risks in the mountain ecosystems of the Himalayan region.
Cooperation between Finland and Nepal already established
Cooperation between the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology of Nepal has been brisk since the launch of the Finnish-Nepalese FNEP project in 2010. The FNEP project develops meteorological know-how in order to improve the capability of the Government of Nepal to respond to the increased risks of weather-related natural disasters induced by climate change. The FNEP project will continue until the end of 2012, and negotiations on FNEP 2 are currently under way. A similar project is also being planned between Finland and Bhutan.
Floods and preparing for them are among the most important sectors within ICIMOD and thereby also in the cooperation between the Finnish Meteorological Institute and ICIMOD. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted two million euros in support for the project, “Establishment of a Regional Flood Information System in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region” (HKH-HYCOS), coordinated by ICIMOD. The Finnish Meteorological Institute has been a member of the project steering group for one year, and the intention is to increase cooperation in the quality control of hydrometeorological data.
Globalisation and climate change are increasingly important for maintaining the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people. ICIMOD’s goal is to help mountain people to adapt to changes. The main objective is to develop an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem and to improve mountain people’s standard of living in the Himalayan region.
Project Manager Irma Ylikangas, firstname.lastname@example.org
ICIMOD website: http://www.icimod.org