Scaling Up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Risk Reduction in Northern Pakistan
In Northern Pakistan, the melting of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan glaciers due to rising temperatures have created 3,044 glacial lakes in the federally-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan and province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
It is estimated that 33 of these glacial lakes are hazardous and likely to result in glacial lake outburst floods. Such flooding can release millions of cubic metres of water and debris in just a few hours, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure, and severe damage to livelihoods in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Over 7 million people in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are threatened.
Early warning systems, engineering structures and disaster management policies will reduce risk, protecting local communities and providing early warning of devastating flood events.
The project Scaling-up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) risk reduction in Northern Pakistan (2017 - 2024) is building 250 engineering structures including damns, ponds, spill ways, tree plantation and drainage to reduce risk. At the same time, the development of disaster management policies and the introduction of weather monitoring stations, flood gauges, hydrological modelling and early warning systems will increase the ability to respond rapidly to flood scenarios.
The melting of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan glaciers in Northern Pakistan due to rising temperatures has created 3,044 glacial lakes in the federally-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). It is estimated that 33 of these glacial lakes are hazardous and likely to result in glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Such outbursts have occurred in the past and when they do, millions of cubic metres of water and debris is released in a few hours, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure, and severe damage to livelihoods in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Currently 7,101,000 people remain at risk in GB and KP. Most recently, in July 2015, over 280,000 people in GB and KP were affected, a combination of heavy rains and GLOFs.
At present, the country faces a critical gap in technical and technological capacity to monitor the status of glaciers through hydrological monitoring and forecasting. Current early warning systems (EWS) do not have the capacity to support the management of risks posed by rising water levels in the lakes, including failure to issue early warnings to communities. The design and implementation of medium- and long-term disaster management policies and risk reduction and preparedness plans are also not fully geared to deal with the specifics of GLOF threats.
The Government of Pakistan has recognized the threat from GLOFs in its National Climate Change Policy and in its National Determined Contribution to monitor changes in glacier volumes and related GLOFs. The Government of Pakistan is seeking GCF resources to upscale ongoing initiatives on early warning systems and small, locally-sourced infrastructure to protect communities from GLOF risks. The interventions proposed for scale up by this project will be based on activities implemented in two districts on a trial basis that have proven to be impactful. In particular, engineering structures (i.e. gabion walls) have been constructed; automatic weather stations, rain gauge and discharge equipment were installed to support rural communities to avoid human and material losses from GLOF events. The proposed GCF project will expand coverage to twelve districts in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces. The proposed project will strengthen the technical capacity of sub-national decision makers to integrate climate change and disaster risk management into medium- and long-term development planning processes.
- Country Office
- Local Governments
- National Governments
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
29 million people
- Green Climate Fund
- Ministry of Environment, Government of Pakistan
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
'Ministry of Climate Change and UNDP in Pakistan hold a project consultation meeting for the Scaling up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Risk Reduction in Northern Pakistan (GLOF-II) Project', UNDP Pakistan, October 1 2020
'Government of Pakistan launches US$37 million UNDP-supported project to protect some 30 million people from dangerous glacial lake outburst floods and other climate change impacts', ReliefWeb, July 5 2018
'Efforts Being Paced Up In Pakistan To Boost Flood Resilience Of Mountain Communities', Urdu Point, May 17 2018
Key results and output
Output 1: Strengthened sub-national institutional capacities to plan and implement climate change -resilient development pathways
This output responds to the need for systematic integration of GLOF risk management into the processes, policies and plans of institutions that have a stake in avoiding human and material losses from GLOF events in vulnerable areas in the Departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). GCF resources will be used to strengthen the capabilities of local level institutions (Disaster Risk Management, Agriculture, Livestock and Water sector in the Departments of GB and KP and federal level institutions (Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, Ministry of Environment and National Disaster Management Authority) to incorporate climate change adaptation considerations into development plans in GB and KP. The incorporation of climate change adaptation measures into the planning instruments will also be based on progress made at the national level under NCCP and by other regions in including climate change measures in sectoral, territorial, and environmental planning instruments. More specifically, the project will make use of the lessons learned from the recently completed UNDP/Adaptation Fund supported project: “Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities from Glacier Lake Outburst Floods in Northern Pakistan”. In addition, GCF resources will be used to promote the inclusion of information generated from early warning systems and hydrological modeling (Output 2) to generate flood scenarios that then can better inform local development plans and, by extension, budgeting.
Output 2: Community-based EWS and long-term measures are up-scaled to increase communities’ adaptive capacity
A key result that GCF resources will finance focuses on the scaling up of interventions that have been tested with other financing to increase adaptive capacity of communities in target valleys. GCF resources will expand the climate information surveillance and discharge measuring network in the region. GCF resources will be used to procure and install 50 automatic weather stations (AWS) and 408 river discharge gauges/sensors. These monitoring instruments will provide the requisite data to conduct hydrological modeling to generate flood risk scenarios that will feed into a flood early warning system to enable the dissemination of flashflood warning signals on a 24-hour basis generated by PMD through cellphones. AWS and river discharge sensors will provide information to capacitate village hazard watch groups that will be part of a local-level early warning system. Small-scale hard adaptation structures will be constructed (gabion walls, spillways, check dams) to protect human lives and household’s assets in combination with bioengineering interventions to stabilize slopes slides, reducing the risk of debris slides. In Pakistan EIAs are not required for smaller infrastructure projects. The protective capability of these structures will be amplified by additional resources channeled to the communities ex ante and following a GLOF event through the scale up of already established, revolving community-based disaster risk management fund. In addition, ecosystem-based adaptation interventions will be promoted in order to increase resilience against GLOFs events while supporting livelihoods.
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Monitoring & evaluation
Project-level monitoring and evaluation will be undertaken in compliance with the UNDP POPP and the UNDP Evaluation Policy. UNDP will perform monitoring and reporting throughout the Reporting Period in accordance with the AMA. UNDP has country presence and capacity to perform such functions. In the event of any additional post-implementation obligations over and above the AMA, UNDP will discuss and agree these with the GCF Secretariat in the final year of the implementation period.
The primary responsibility for day-to-day project monitoring and implementation rests with the Project Manager. The Project Manager will develop annual work plans to ensure the efficient implementation of the project. The Project Manager will inform the Project Board and the UNDP Country Office of any delays or difficulties during implementation, including the implementation of the M&E plan, so that the appropriate support and corrective measures can be adopted. The Project Manager will also ensure that all project staff maintain a high level of transparency, responsibility and accountability in monitoring and reporting project results.
The UNDP Country Office will support the Project Manager as needed, including through annual supervision missions. The UNDP Country Office is responsible for complying with UNDP project-level M&E requirements as outlined in the UNDP POPP. Additional M&E and implementation quality assurance and troubleshooting support will be provided by the UNDP Regional Technical Advisor as needed. The project target groups and stakeholders including the NDA Focal Point will be involved as much as possible in project-level M&E.
A project inception workshop will be held after the UNDP project document has been signed by all relevant parties to: a) re-orient project stakeholders to the project strategy and discuss any changes in the overall context that influence project implementation; b) discuss the roles and responsibilities of the project team, including reporting and communication lines and conflict resolution mechanisms; c) review the results framework and discuss reporting, monitoring and evaluation roles and responsibilities and finalize the M&E plan; d) review financial reporting procedures and mandatory requirements, and agree on the arrangements for the annual audit; e) plan and schedule Project Board meetings and finalize the first year annual work plan. The Project Manager will prepare the inception report no later than one month after the inception workshop. The final inception report will be cleared by the UNDP Country Office and the UNDP Regional Technical Adviser, and will be approved by the Project Board.
The Project Manager, the UNDP Country Office, and the UNDP Regional Technical Advisor will provide objective input to the annual Project Implementation Report (PIR) for each year of project implementation. The Project Manager will ensure that the indicators included in the project results framework are monitored annually well in advance of the PIR submission deadline and will objectively report progress in the Development Objective tab of the PIR. The annual PIR will be shared with the project board and other stakeholders. The UNDP Country Office will coordinate the input of the NDA Focal Point and other stakeholders to the PIR. The quality rating of the previous year’s PIR will be used to inform the preparation of the next PIR. The final project PIR along with the terminal evaluation report and corresponding management response will serve as the final project report package.
An independent mid-term review process will be undertaken and the findings and responses outlined in the management response will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project’s duration. The terms of reference, the review process and the final MTR report will follow the standard templates and guidance available on the UNDP Evaluation Resource Center. The final MTR report will be cleared by the UNDP Country Office and the UNDP Regional Technical Adviser, and will be approved by the Project Board. The final MTR report will be available in English.
An independent terminal evaluation (TE) will take place no later than three months prior to operational closure of the project. The terms of reference, the review process and the final TE report will follow the standard templates and guidance available on the UNDP Evaluation Resource Center. The final TE report will be cleared by the UNDP Country Office and the UNDP Regional Technical Adviser, and will be approved by the Project Board. The TE report will be available in English.
The UNDP Country Office will include the planned project terminal evaluation in the UNDP Country Office evaluation plan, and will upload the final terminal evaluation report in English and the management response to the public UNDP Evaluation Resource Centre (ERC) (http://erc.undp.org). Once uploaded to the ERC, the UNDP Independent Evaluation Office will undertake a quality assessment and validate the findings and ratings in the TE report, and rate the quality of the TE report.
The UNDP Country Office will retain all M&E records for this project for up to seven years after project financial closure in order to support ex-post evaluations.
A detailed M&E budget, monitoring plan and evaluation plan will be included in the UNDP project document. UNDP will perform monitoring and reporting throughout the reporting period in accordance with the AMA and Funded Activity Agreement (FAA). UNDP has country presence and capacity to perform such functions. In the event of any additional post-implementation obligations over and above the AMA, UNDP will discuss and agree these with the GCF Secretariat in the final year of the project and will prepare a post-implementation monitoring plan and budget for approval by the GCF Board as necessary.
- UNDPReis Lopez RelloRegional Technical Advisor in Climate Change Adaptation