The proposed research targets changes in climate, water supply and demand, and suitable adaptation measures for green development of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) in the river basins crossed by the SREB transect. Given the strong role of large scale hydrology in the proposed research activities, the spatial domain of the activities encompasses the river basins of the Third Pole which are traversed by the SREB. The included SREB transects are the branch connecting Beijing to Central Asia via Xi’an and Urumqi, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor connecting Southwest China to northern Pakistan. This means that the river basins of the Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Indus, and Yellow river are included, as well as the Tarim and Gobi interior basins.
The SREB is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, being a development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. Essentially, the SREB includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade. A major part of the SREB traverses Asia’s high-altitude areas, also referred to as the Third Pole or the Asian Water Tower. In the light of the planned development for the SREB traversing the Third Pole and its immediate surroundings, the “Pan-Third Pole Environment study for a Green Silk Road (Pan-TPE)” program will be implemented.
The project will assess the state and fate of water resources in the region under following research themes:
1. Observed and projected Pan-TPE climate change
2. Impacts on the present and future Water Tower of Asia
3. The Green Silk Road and changes in water demand
4. Adaptation for green development