Early Warning Network

Enables real-time dissemination of life saving information to the most vulnerable riparian communities from Mahakali and Brahmaputra basins.

Transboundary Early Warning Systems

Climate change is rapidly altering the risk landscape in South Asia. With abrupt and erratic weather patterns as the new normal, disasters are becoming unmanageable. Hydro-Meteorological Disasters, in particular, have significantly increased both in frequency and intensity.  Impacts on riparian communities are severe and cascades to multiple problems including floods, erosion, water stress, agrarian crisis, migration, conflicts. Risk Management therefore is an important conduit for inclusive Water Governance and cannot be overlooked. While Risk Informed Transboundary Water Governance is the overarching umbrella of WG-CAN, transboundary early warning systems is the focus area of engagement or one of the binding themes for the basin network members.

This initiative attempts to bring in Citizen Science approaches for Transboundary Early Warning Systems. The network engages at three levels for early action:-

(1)   Last Mile Volunteer Networks to support local Government in Dissemination of Early Warning and Early Action

(2)   CSOs Network at State and National level to advocate for inclusive policies Early Action

(3)   Regional Cooperation (South Asia) for easier bilateral mechanisms and protocols for Transboundary risk governance including early warning.

Citizen Science approaches in Early Warning are adopted in Saralbhanga, Brahmaputra and Sharda River Basins from Transboundary perspectives. Citizen Science Volunteers have been engaged on issues including community based water quality monitoring, transboundary efforts for fisheries conservation, flood monitoring and early action,In order to generate evidence for citizen science, one has to not only have the knowledge of the river basin but also the potentiality to identify them on maps and then assess the various vulnerabilities in the most critical hotspots. From identification of hazards to mapping of vulnerabilities, citizen science is the process of engaging people in the process of scientific enquiry as part of the larger advocacy process. Through a process of institution building, the network engages community volunteers in a consultative process for a comprehensive and holistic assessment of risks and vulnerabilities. The Hazard Risk Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (HRVCA) involved the communities in generating maps and locating the critical points where intervention on various aspects of water governance is required. The HRVCA processes are used in establishing last mile network for community based flood monitoring and early action. Currently A network of 348 volunteers from 79 most vulnerable villages in these river basins are engaged as citizen scientists, water volunteers and early warning volunteers.
At National, bilateral and regional levels, various initiatives are taken for effective end to end early warning systems at transboundary levels. Network members have advocated for inclusion of transboundary mechanisms for risk analysis and early warning in the National Disaster Management Plan. Bilaterally, group of CSOs from India and Bhutan have agreed on seven areas of action under “Kokrajhar Call for Action” signed in June 2019. At Regional level, group of NGOs, Academia and Government representatives from South Asia signed Delhi Declaration on 7th Sept 2018 for improved cooperation at regional level for early warning. The network collectively aims at improved coordination for early warning so that riparian communities can absorb the shocks of disasters better and can manage the shared natural resources efficiently. 


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The initiative is supported by Oxfam India under Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA 2017 -2021) program. TROSA is a regional water governance program supporting poverty reduction initiatives in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) and Salween basins.The program is implemented in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanamar and is supported by the Government of Sweden.
Views expressed in this website are those of the individual contributors and network members and do not represent that of Oxfam, its implementing partners or Government of Sweden.