26 April 2011
The Monash Sustainability Institute has again strengthened the University's reputation as an institution with a global focus, hosting an event looking at climate change and its effect on the Ganges River Basin.
The two-day workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, brought together policy makers and researchers from Australia, India, and Bangladesh. It was supported by the Australia Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, and the University of Dhaka, and linked research and policy relating to management of the Basin.
The Basin covers around one million square kilometres of Tibet, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It supports a population of half a billion people, making it the most populous river basin in the world.
“The Ganga Basin is a resource of immense environmental, economic, and cultural significance to the people of India and of Bangladesh," said Project Leader, Dr Paul McShane, of the Monash Sustainability Institute.
"Sustainable use of its waters is threatened by climate change which can reduce water availability, particularly to poor rural communities. Water availability is also affected by population increase, particularly in dense urban centres, and by developments including dams."
About 50 delegates attended the workshop, which addressed inter-agency collaboration and co-ordination, managing rural communities in response to urbanisation, groundwater and rural health issues, as well as food and water security in response to climate change.
"We are delighted to have attracted such outstanding scholars and policy makers to our workshop,” said Dr McShane. “The bringing together of stakeholders, including representatives of non-government organisations, is a great opportunity to identify and evaluate realistic policies for sustainable management of the Ganges Basin.
“Our common goal is to unify and consolidate policy approaches resulting in a collaborative and co-ordinated response from governments across state boundaries. Our countries share the challenge of balancing water use from declining supplies and competing demands."