Reducing Climate Change-induced Risks and Vulnerabilities from Glacial Lake Outburst Floods
The most significant climate change impact in Bhutan is the formation of supra-glacial lakes due to the accelerated retreat of glaciers with increasing temperatures. The risk of potential costly economic damages on key development sectors such as agriculture, hydropower, and forestry by Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) is mounting. Climate change is attributed as the primary reason that water levels in glacial lakes approach dangerous thresholds. This poses a new dimension to the existing range of threats to lives, livelihoods, and development. Consequently in its Communications to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) Bhutan, identifies the risks resulting from GLOFs as one of the most pressing challenges for future development of the country. As the first co-financed project by the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF) established under the UNFCCC it will have a high regional impact and international visibility.
The objective of this project is the reduction of climate change-induced Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding (GLOF) risk in the Punakha-Wangdi and Chamkhar Valleys in Bhutan. The project encompasses the national, district, and local levels using a three-pronged approach:
First, it aims to build capacity for disaster risk management at the national, regional, and local levels, with a focus on the skills and knowledge to integrate climate change risks. This will enhance adaptive capacity, enabling the key institutions and their partners to take actions that reduce the risks to communities of future climate change impacts.
The second component of the proposed project mitigates the GLOF risk from a specific lake and strengthens the technical expertise needed to reduce Bhutan's risks from future climate change-induced GLOFs.
The third component includes an early warning system
The knowledge and skills gained through this project will be shared within Bhutan and regionally.