Loading ...


28 Mar 2022  | SIDE EVENT AT COP26

Cryosphere hazards and society in Bhutan and Pakistan AND HUC’s TWG on Cryosphere and Society

published date
28 Mar 2022


Organized by: Himalayan University Consortium (HUC-ICIMOD) and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

Supported by: University of Bristol


About the workshop and meeting

The workshop will review the work of stakeholders in the field of cryosphere science in Bhutan and Pakistan, particularly members of HUC. During this workshop, the HUC Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Cryosphere and Society will present their work, including an introduction to modelling and field methods and the potential for upscaling. The TWG will also share ongoing work in Bhutan and the Upper Indus basin on climate change impacts on livelihoods, ecosystems, hydrosphere, and cryosphere.

The first half of the workshop will focus on the ongoing project led by the University of Bristol. Our partners will then present their work, which will provide an overview of the ongoing challenges related to cryosphere hazards and society in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

The first meeting of the core group of HUC’s TWG on Cryosphere and Society took place in March 2021. This follow-up meeting will update members of the progress and consolidate the Group’s governance structure and draft a concrete workplan for 2022. 

The two events pay close attention to the diversity of stakeholders and unites academics and practitioners from across the region. 


Expected outputs

In addition to a consolidated governance structure for HUC’s TWG on Cryosphere and Society, this workshop will contribute to the following three outputs: 

  • A mapped potential partner landscape in cryosphere hazards and society for the UIB. This will be useful for ICIMOD and partners to navigate the field. HUC has already fostered several exchanges between partners in Pakistan, which has prepared the ground for future collaborations and strengthened our role as a knowledge broker.
  • A brief outline of the knowledge gaps and needs in the field of cryosphere, hazards, and society in the HKH and a draft roadmap for future research and action.
  • A tailored infrastructure risk assessment tool and its application in the region, which will be presented and discussed during the workshop.


Expected participants 

In-person participants include social scientists from HUC and ICIMOD strategic knowledge partners in Pakistan: Karakoram International University (KIU); University of Punjab; LUMS, Lahore; Information Technology University, Lahore; University of Peshawar; University of Baltistan; COMSATS University Islamabad/Abbottabad; and Aga Khan Agency for Habitat's (AKAH). 

Virtual participants include members of HUC’s TWG on Cryosphere and Society in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, and HUC Associate Members in Europe, North America, and Central Asia. Selected representatives from fellow TWGs and cross-cutting workgroups will be attending as observers. 



The Upper Indus Basin is one of the most vulnerable basins when it comes to water and ice as a resource. It has been impacted by an exceptionally high number of hydrosphere-related disasters, including glacial lake outburst floods, debris flows, landslides, fluvial and pluvial floods, as well as rapid erosion and sedimentation. While a number of studies on hazards  have looked into the physical processes associated with these disasters, investigations including impact assessments on both livelihoods and ecosystems, especially with the inclusion of local experiences and knowledge, are largely lacking. Under a completely different climate regime, Bhutan faces similar challenges in remoter headwaters. Multiple studies have documented devastating events and their impacts in the region; however, transdisciplinary approaches to address these are lacking.



Arrival and orientation – Sunday, 27 March 2022 



17:00 – 17:30


18:00 – 20:00


Introduction and orientation

Reception dinner










Welcome remarks

Opening remarks

Introduction to the program

Abubakr Muhammad, LUMS

Tahira Yasmin, PIASA

Amina Maharjan, ICIMOD


Presentation of the Cryosphere and Society TWG Project

Guy Howard, University of Bristol


Introduction to the social science methods (quantitative and qualitative) in exploring and understanding of cryosphere hazards

Rehmat Karim, KIU

Adian Flint, University of Bristol


Introduction to data collection from the physical side and presentation of preliminary findings

Garee Khan, KIU

Jeremy Phillips, University of Bristol


Presentation of the study in Bhutan

Deki Choden, Royal University of Bhutan

Chogyel Wangmo, Royal University of Bhutan


Presentation on previous cryo-hazard work in UIB – new developments, processes, and methods

Jakob Friedrich Steiner, ICIMOD


Discussion of synergies



HKH – Arctic connection: Experiences from linking research to indigenous knowledge

Jennifer Lukovich, University of Manitoba






Glacier-fed irrigation system vulnerabilities in UIB

Bashir Ahmad, PARC


Environmental and ecological implications of cryosphere changes and rapid development on species/habitats in HKH region in Pakistan

Zulfiqar Ali, Punjab University


The Cryosphere – Water Nexus in the Pamir

Roy Sidle, Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia


Talk by AKAH





Salar Ali, University of Baltistan


Snow research in the Upper Indus Basin

Jawairia Ashfaq Ahmad, LUMS


Review of tools to assess infrastructure risk to cryospheric hazards

Guy Howard, University of Bristol, and
Amina Maharjan, ICIMOD


Lunch break



Review of the LAHAR flow model

Jeremy Phillips, University of Bristol


Discussion around knowledge gaps and making science relevant for policy and practice

Amina Maharjan, ICIMOD


HUC’s TWGs and TWG on Cryosphere and Society

Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi), HUC-ICIMOD


Closing remarks

Vote of thanks

Philippus Wester, ICIMOD

Bhawana Syangden, ICIMOD