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Thursday, 2nd June 2011

Himalayan Solutions: Co-operation and Security in River Basins

Source: Strategic Foresight Group

From the Introduction:

The objective of this report is to explore how river basins in the Himalayan region, and particularly shared water resources, can foster cooperation and security between Bangladesh, China, India and Nepal. The conventional view is that depleting water resources, growing problem of pollution, uncertain risks posed by climate change together may lead to competition for resources, migration, social instability, internal conflicts and diplomatic tensions between countries. This view is realistic and was discussed in detail in a previous report of Strategic Foresight Group. It has contributed to spreading the awareness of security risks associated with water crisis in the Himalayan region. The next step is to move from awareness of causes of insecurity and conflicts to the exploration of confidence building and conflict prevention measures. It requires a paradigm shift in our mental frameworks from a mindset of conflict to a mindset of cooperation and security. Such a mental change is a challenging task, but the countries sharing Himalayan River Basins do not have too many other options to sustain their societies, economies and ecology.

The Himalayan River Basins in China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh are home to about 1.3 billion people - i.e. almost 20 per cent of the world’s population and almost 50 per cent of the total population of these countries. In the next 20 years, the four countries in the Himalayan sub-region will face the depletion of almost 275 billion cubic meters (BCM) of annual renewable water. At the same time, demand will increase due to growth of population and economic development. The cumulative effect of water scarcity, glacial melting, disruptive precipitation patterns, flooding, desertification, pollution, and soil erosion will be a massive reduction in the production of rice, wheat, maize and fish. Both India and China will face a drop in the yield of wheat and rice anywhere between 30-50 per cent by 2050. At the same time, demand for food grains will go up by at least 20 per cent. As a net result, China and India alone will need to import more than 200-300 million tonnes of wheat and rice.

+ Direct link to Report (PDF; 3.4 MB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

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