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Freshwater under threat: South Asia
Vulnerability assessment of freshwater resources to environmental change
This study is undertaken by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, to address the issue of vulnerability of freshwater resources in Asia. The objectives of the study are closely related to the commitment of the international community to implement integrated water resources management. Thus, the focus in this study is to assess the vulnerability of freshwater at river basin scale. The specific objectives of the assessment are: .. To develop knowledge and understanding necessary for forwardlooking cooperation among riparian states with regard to competing water demands; .. To examine water issues and functions in selected river basins; .. To evaluate impacts of environmental change in terms of water resource stresses and management challenges; and .. To complement the efforts and activities of Governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and development agencies engaged in improving the status of water systems, by providing facts, figures and analyses related to water resources vulnerability. This assessment focuses on four river basins; namely, Ganges- Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM), Indus and Helmand in South Asia; and Mekong in South East Asia. These four basins mainly comprise developing countries in which the available water resources strongly influence the economic and social development of countries. This report provides a freshwater resource vulnerability assessment of South Asia, based on the analyses of three key river basins: GBM, Indus and Helmand.