Kathmandu, Nepal – July, 2018

The Government of Nepal has prioritized addressing the impacts of climate change and seismic hazards on transport infrastructure. The country is facing numerous challenges to manage geohazard risks to its road infrastructure, including challenging terrain, the unstable geology of the Himalayas, and the annual monsoon rainfall. To support the government to identify, assess and prioritize risk mitigation measures, the World Bank initiated the Geohazard Risk Management and Resilient Road Asset Management in Nepal project. The project will help improve the country’s road network resilience to seismic hazards and climate change.

In July, a team of specialists from ICEM and GEOCE went on a scoping and baseline assessment mission to Nepal under the Improving the Resilience of Nepal’s Strategic Roads Network project, implemented as component II of the larger World Bank initiative. This component looks to expand the current flood, landslide and seismic risk assessments in Nepal and contribute to government’s ongoing works in increasing the resilience of roads and bridges.

During the visit, the team met with senior level representatives from the Department of Roads (DOR), the Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads (DOLIDAR) and the World Bank. The roundtable meeting was used as an opportunity to introduce the project, its methodology, and the main principles of the DOR’s approach to building resilient infrastructure. These principles must be taken into account when revising the project methodology, and kept in mind as the project progresses in order to ensure results are aligned with the DOR’s approach.

The meeting involved a plenary discussion of key technical issues of the project as identified by government counterparts, the World Bank and the project team. These issues ranged from the need to invest in proactive interventions and road maintenance and utilize a corridor spatial planning approach, to the importance of collecting road closure data and using drone technology in road design and risk assessment. The discussion also helped to build effective working relationships with key stakeholders. Furthermore, a technical core group of staff from DOR and DOLIDAR was established, to ensure the sustainability of an interactive and user-friendly Decision Support System (DSS) for mitigation planning, that will be developed as part of the project.

In addition, the project team held separate meetings with DOR, DOLIDAR, and Aviyaan Consulting who implemented Component I – Hazard Mapping and Risk Assessment of the World Bank initiative, to facilitate the baseline data collection process.

Team meeting to refine project methodology and scheduling of activities

Following the mission, the team will carry out climate and disaster risk assessments of road infrastructure assets for floods, landslides and seismic hazards and develop the DSS. The project is scheduled for completion in 2019.