Preparedness and planning for the mountain hazard and risk chain in Nepal

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Geographical Sciences


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Planned Impact

Our research stems directly from knowledge gaps articulated by our partners in Nepal, including residents, local and central government, the UN, and humanitarian and development practitioners. The research is intended to benefit five specific groups:

1) Our primary goal is to positively impact residents living with systemic risk. We seek to better understand the socio-political and economic processes that affect everyday lives and through which systemic risk is produced and in which multi-hazards are experienced, using a co-produced and interdisciplinary approach. Our work will impact those tasked with managing risk to focus on the everyday needs of residents and ensure that efforts to reduce risk are placed within the appropriate physical and socio-political contexts. Where resources or capacity are lacking, we will work to enable local government to support residents to collectively manage their own risk by building on their own knowledge and providing new knowledge to support planning, forecasting, and messaging. We will also provide innovative means of messaging, using locally produced radio dramatisations, to exploit our new interdisciplinary science to improve decision-making, working with local people and local government to make this as effective as possible.

2) The UN Resident Coordinator's Office (RCO) and Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) are tasked with planning preparedness and response to major disasters, but this planning has had a limited scientific basis and concentrates on narrowly-defined impacts of earthquakes and flooding. There remains no consideration of dynamic multi-hazard scenarios and the risks they generate. Our project will benefit the RCO and HCT by grounding their plans in interdisciplinary science and by building greater awareness of the socio-political and physical context in which their planning sits, allowing cross-sectoral decisions that consider the impacts associated with multi-hazard events and evaluate the multi-temporal variation in risk caused by changing population exposure and vulnerability. The development of novel protocols to prepare for and respond to multi-hazard disasters will enable the RCO and HCT to make better, more effective use of local knowledge and interdisciplinary science.

3) Our previous work in Nepal has identified capacity gaps in government agencies at national, provincial and, most importantly, municipal levels. These gaps reflect a lack of understanding of the dynamic nature of the hazard chain and a lack of viable options for managing the consequent risk. Our project will benefit government risk management by significantly increasing capacity through developing and embedding a system for monitoring multi-hazard risk, and by situating this understanding within a broader socio-political context. We will engage with municipal government through existing networks and capacity-building programmes. This proposal is highly timely, coinciding with Nepal's transition to a new federal structure, allowing the research team to feed directly into new governance structures as they form.

4) Through the Community-Based Disaster Risk Management Platform, our work will have direct impact on the NGOs that implement disaster risk reduction projects. We will co-produce guidance on the use of local and scientific knowledge for reducing risk from the mountain hazard chain, as well as ethical and practical guidance for researchers on working with practitioners in Nepal.

5) The ethos of our project is based around developing the next generation of hazard and risk specialists in Nepal. We will support 15 early-career researchers, with 9 employed in Nepal. We will convene workshops specifically around skills and professional development for these researchers, and will also invite early-career professionals from our government, NGO, and UN project partners to provide the foundations for the future leaders of this sphere of work in Nepal.


10 25 50
publication icon
Phongsiri M (2022) Mind the Gap! Revisiting the migration optimism/pessimism debate in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Description We are starting to reveal a gap between adaptation-in-policy and adaptation-in-practice in response to multi-hazards in the hills of Nepal. More fieldwork is underway, but the complexities of the temporal and spatial dimensions of hazard risk and response, and adaptations to those risks, are becoming evident.
Exploitation Route We are working closely with stakeholders in Nepal, governmental and community. This will be further developed as the research evolves.
Sectors Education,Environment

Description We are working closely with stakeholders in Nepal to understand multi-hazards and community responses to those hazards. Work is on-going.
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services