"We need mutual trust and science based multi-stakeholder dialogues to understand and resolve upper- lower riparian issues and explore viable options" was the consensus emerging from a recent workshop in Islamabad.
Considering water as lifeline for Pakistan’s sustainable development, IUCN Pakistan undertook a study on issues and options for the upper and lower riparian zones of the Indus River. Based on this study, four new policy briefs were prepared, namely (i) The Indus Water Treaty and Managing Shared Water Resources for the Benefit of Basin States, (ii) Beyond Indus Water Treaty: Groundwater and Environmental Management, (iii) Towards Kabul Water Treaty: Managing Shared Water Resources, and (iv) Pakistan Water Apportionment Accord for Resolving Inter-provincial Water Conflicts.
Presenting the policy briefs, Dr. Shahid Ahmad, member of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council made a detailed presentation on the draft policy briefs for discussion and feedback. Dr. Ahmad said that “small dams are important for the protection of the livelihoods”. He voiced his concerns on the practice of expanding irrigation system without considering efficient usage of water. He also added that one of the ways to make use of water effectively is to save it in the wet years so that it can be used during the dry spells.
“Neutral fact and science-based studies can be very useful in solving the regional water issues,” said Ganesh Pangare, Asia Regional Water and Wetlands Coordinator, sharing a regional perspective on upper lower riparian issues and options.
He quoted examples of regional cooperation on the Nile, Mekong and Senegal rivers, so there may not be a need to reinvent the wheel in Pakistan. He also emphasised the role of private sector involvement in dialogues.
In his opening remarks, Shah Murad Aliani, IUCN Pakistan Country Representative, said “IUCN being a neutral convenor for dialogues on sustainable development issues has brought together experts to discuss what we have come up with so far and propose necessary amendments, improvements and additions to make the policy briefs more viable and closer to reality”.
"Water is a very complex issue and thus needs to have dynamic ways for solving problems", said Jan Willem Cools, Deputy Head of Development of the Netherlands Embassy. He emphasised a paradigm shift, solutions and champions for the cause, in order to resolve water issues in Pakistan.
The workshop was organised by IUCN Pakistan under its Balochistan Partnerships for Sustainable Development Programme, funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands.
For Further Details Contact:
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Islamabad Program Office,
House No. 21 Street No. 88, G-6/3
Phone: +92 51 2271027 - 34
Fax: +92 51 2271 017