Scaling-up Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) risk reduction in Northern Pakistan

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From August 24, 2017 to April 12, 2023

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 1.5 Build resilience of poor to climate, shocks
  2. 13.1 Strengthen resilience, adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards
  3. 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Project ID: 5660

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Technical team

  • Climate Change Adaptation Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Climate information and early warning systems (CI & EWS)
  • Fostering Food Security and resilient agricultural systems


  • Human altered areas


  • Rural areas

Transformed sector(s)


UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Convening / Partnerships / Knowledge Sharing
  • Data collection and analysis


  • Capacity building
  • Law regulation
  • Monitor inventory


  • Institutional capacity building
  • Technical capacity building
  • Community capacity building
  • Laws/ Policy/ Plan formulation
  • Development planning
  • Knowledge/Data management

Social inclusion


Gender equality


Gender result effectiveness scale



  • People pathway
  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 1.5 Build resilience of poor to climate, shocks
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience, adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Conventions and protocols


Private sector(s)


Hot topic


About this project


The melting of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan glaciers in Northern Pakistan due to rising temperatures has created 3,044 glacial lakes in the federally-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). It is estimated that 33 of these glacial lakes are hazardous and likely to result in glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) . Such outbursts have occurred in the past and when they do, millions of cubic metres of water and debris is released in a few hours, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure, and severe damage to livelihoods in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Currently 7,101,000 people remain at risk in GB and KP. In July 2015, over 280,000 people in GB and KP were affected by a combination of heavy rains and GLOFs.At present, the country faces a critical gap in technical and technological capacity to monitor the status of glaciers through hydrological monitoring and forecasting. Current early warning systems (EWS) do not have the capacity to support the management of risks posed by rising water levels in the lakes or the ability to issue early warnings to communities. The design and implementation of medium- and long-term disaster management policies as well as risk reduction and preparedness plans is also not fully geared to deal with the specifics of GLOF threats. The Government of Pakistan has recognized the threat from GLOFs in its National Climate Change Policy and in its National Determined Contribution to monitor changes in glacier volumes and related GLOFs Currently, 58.7 million people in Pakistan are living in poverty, with 46 per cent of the rural population and 18 per cent of urban households below the poverty line. To be able to strengthen capacities of vulnerable communities to address the GLOF issue urgently in the scale that is needed, the Government of Pakistan needs financial support from international donors. Flood hazards are already greater than what national public finance can manage. As a result, it has secured GCF resources to upscale ongoing initiatives on early warning systems and small, locally-sourced infrastructure to protect communities from GLOF risks. The interventions proposed for scale-up by this project will be based on activities implemented in two districts that have demonstrated success. In these districts engineering structures like gabion walls have been constructed and automatic weather stations, rain gauges and discharge equipment were installed. Rural communities receiving this support were able to avoid human and material losses from GLOF events. The proposed GCF project will expand coverage of interventions to twelve districts in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces. It will strengthen the technical capacity of sub-national decision makers to integrate climate change and disaster risk management into medium- and long-term development planning processes.


The project presents a holistic model of climate-resilient development to enable Northern Pakistan to manage the risks from GLOFs and other impacts of climate change, incorporating regulatory support, community preparedness, GLOF response capacitation, and long-term planning for sustainable and climate-resilient use of natural livelihood assets.

USD $36,960,000

Grant amount

USD $4,500,000

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Green Climate Fund Common ($36,960,000)

Implementing partner(s)

  • The Ministry of Climate Change

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation