As glacial lakes flood the effect can be devastating

13 Oct 2015 by Rajeev Issar, Policy Specialist, Disaster & Climate Risk Governance, UNDP

glacier lakeTsho Rolpa Glacial Lake in Gaurishankar VDC, Dolakha district, Nepal. Photo: Deepak KC/UNDP Nepal
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 climate conference in December. Golf, yes. But GLOF? What is that? The increasingly apparent impacts of climate change have introduced this new term—an abbreviation for “glacial lake outburst flood”—to the world’s vocabulary. When glaciers melt, they sometimes form lakes on mountaintops. The water in these glacial lakes accumulates behind loose “dams” made of ice, sand, pebbles and ice residue. But these dams are inherently unstable and avalanches, falling boulders, earthquakes, or even simply the accumulation of too much water can unleash sudden, potentially disastrous floods in nearby communities. GLOFs come up often for those of us who work on disaster and climate risk management in South Asia. They are becoming increasingly common, and can have devastating impacts on lives, livelihoods, and mountain ecosystems, as well as on critical assets and infrastructure such as roads or hospitals. Satellite imagery has shown that, due to the melting of Himalayan glaciers at the rate of 30-60 meters per decade, existing glacial lakes have been expanding while new glacial lakes are being formed at a disconcertingly fast rate. A study of the recorded incidents … Read more

MDGs Perspectives from the Pacific Region

13 Oct 2015 by Patrick Tuimaleali’ifano, Poverty Analyst, UNDP Fiji Multi-country Office

women in FijiWomen in Korociri, Fiji participate in the Food Security and Livelihoods Development project. Fiji achieved four of the seven MDG goals, and many of the targets towards the remaining three goals. Photo: Tomoko Kashiwazaki /UNDP.
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. In the Pacific, progress towards achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) has been uneven. Only two Pacific countries have achieved all the MDGs targets, three countries least half, and the rest of the countries achieving less than half. The majority of Pacific countries have managed to reduce the numbers of child mortality under five years and increase the number of children accessing primary level education. However, many Pacific Countries are off track or stagnant in halving the population living under the poverty line, improving the economic and political empowerment of women, combating non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and ensuring environmental sustainability.     Climate change and NCDs are two challenges with the potential to deter progress across all goals.  Countries are already feeling the adverse impacts of climate change, which affects food security and the ability for Pacific communities to manage their natural resources. Some of the highest incidences of diabetes and obesity in the world are found in the pacific region and the major cause of premature death in nearly all Pacific Island countries is now NCDs. The poor are more vulnerable to … Read more

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