Reducing Climate Change-Induced Risks andVulnerabilities From Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in the Punakha-Wangdi and Chamkhar Valleys

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The most significant impact of climate change in Bhutan is the formation of supra-glacial lakes due to the accelerated retreat of glaciers with increasing temperatures. The risk of potential disasters inflicted by Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods (GLOFs), pose new threats to lives, livelihoods and development. The risks are mounting as water levels in several glacier lakes approach critical geostatic thresholds. The objective of this project is to reduce climate change-induced GLOF risk in the Punakha-Wangdi and Chamkhar Valleys in Bhutan. Recognizing the need for systematizing the country’s disaster risk management system to account for climate change induced GLOF hazards, the Government of Bhutan seeks to integrate long-term climate change-induced risks into the existing disaster risk management framework. The project will integrate climate risk projections into existing disaster risk management practices and implement corresponding capacity development measures. It will demonstrate practical measures to reduce climate change-induced GLOF risks from the potentially dangerous Thorthormi glacier lake, and facilitate replication of the respective lessons learned in other high-risk GLOF areas, both within and outside Bhutan. Complementary to this risk reduction effort, the project will ensure that early warning mechanisms for the Punakha-Wangdi Valley are expanded to incorporate coverage of this growing threat. Lessons learned from this initiative will enable expansion of early warning systems in other disaster-prone areas downstream of potentially hazardous glacier lakes. Key lessons learned from the project include recognizing the importance of involving stakeholders from different government departments to create appropriate adaptation measures and ensuring that there is ongoing cooperation and consistent support between the stakeholders and the government.
Resource Type: 
Vulnerability Analyses
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ALM Case Study - Bhutan - GLOF.doc544.5 KB