Agreements signed between Govt of GB and UNDP to protect vulnerable people from GLOFs

GILGIT: Government of Gilgit Baltistan and UNDP signed Agreements to protect millions of vulnerable people from GLOFs in Northern Pakistan.

Under continued efforts to mitigate the impacts of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed the Letter of Agreements (LoAs) for the year 2021 with the Government of Gilgit Baltistan under its flagship project called Scaling up of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF-II) risk reduction in Northern Pakistan in a virtual ceremony today. The Letter of Agreements was signed by Mr. Knut Ostby, Resident Representative, UNDP and Syed Abrar Hussain, Additional Chief Secretary (Planning & Development Department) Gilgit-Baltistan.

These agreements build on the ongoing partnership between the Government of Pakistan and UNDP to set the stage for stronger cooperation to have a common understanding on the GLOF risks in provinces and the importance of resilience building of communities against climate induced disasters.

P&DD GB would act as the lead partner for the project and provide support in coordinating activities with respective line departments in GB. The activities to be carried out under the LoA would achieve significant results in the form of studies undertaken for risk assessments, GIS mapping of hazard locations and completion of forestry surveys. In addition, Provincial Climate Change Adaptation Action Plans would be formulated. Specific set of interventions for each site selected would also be carried out in the form of building small scale infrastructure, promotion of water efficient, risk-informed farming technologies, and documentation of indigenous best practices to demonstrate nature-bases solutions. The LoAs would also focus greatly on community mobilization activities for mass sensitization awareness, disaster risk reduction trainings and outreach through media.

The signatories agreed that the project scale in 16 valleys of GB and gave all partners a great opportunity to expand their development agenda towards more secure and risk averted Pakistan to climate change impacts.

Glacial melt has resulted in the formation of over 3, 044 lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by putting some 7.1 million people at risk from potential GLOFs which was led by Ministry of Climate Change with the support from UNDP and funding support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the project targets the most vulnerable rural communities in the high-altitude regions of the country.

The project would also install scaled-up early warning systems and automated weather stations to mitigate the impact of GLOFs. Amongst the target project beneficiaries, more than half would be women, propelling Pakistan’s efforts to reduce inequalities and ensure gender equality by 2030.