‘Pakistan Water Week’ held to address water, climate change issues

ISLAMABAD  -  The Pakistan Water Week 2023 was successful­ly concluded in Islamabad with putting more emphasis on the importance of water for life and development and seeking sustained initia­tives for water conservation.

The Ministry of Water Resources, UNICEF, GIZ Pakistan, and IWMI collaborated to make it happen. IWMI played a crucial role, highlight­ing the importance of managing water and re­search in addressing issues like water scarci­ty, fragility, conflicts, and migration. Alongside FCM Initiatives and PCRWR, the event celebrat­ed achievements and stressed the vital role wa­ter plays in shaping a nation’s future. This year’s international conference, themed “Transforma­tive Pathways for Water and Food Systems in a Climate-Resilient Pakistan,” addressed the press­ing issues of water scarcity and disasters that have become the new norm, particularly in Pa­kistan. The Pakistan Water Week 2023 stands as a testament to the collective commitment to addressing the critical challenges posed by wa­ter and food security in the face of a changing cli­mate. The outcomes of the conference are an­ticipated to guide and shape future endeavors in sustainable water management for Pakistan. Recognizing the interconnectedness of water se­curity with food security, human health, energy needs, and economic development in the Indus Basin, the conference brought together academ­ics, government officials, NGOs, policy experts, and stakeholders to deliberate on the challeng­es posed by the current climate crisis. Dr. Mark Smith, the Director General of the Internation­al Water Management Institute (IWMI), during a recent symposium said, “Ensuring water secu­rity is undeniably a pressing priority, and this imperative holds not only within the borders of Pakistan but also on a broader global scale that transcends geopolitical boundaries and reso­nates across diverse ecosystems.”

Over the three days, the conference focused on fostering systematic cross-sectoral thinking across water and food systems to promote cli­mate-resilient development in Pakistan. Oppor­tunities to mitigate adverse impacts on mar­ginalized communities in the Indus Basin were explored, with Pakistan Water Week poised to in­fluence the focus and agenda of water and food system planning and management in the future.

The discussions revolved around three the­matic areas: climate-resilient pathways encom­passing adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development; inclusive water governance ex­ploring pathways and perspectives; and tech­nologies and innovation responding to the chal­lenges of water and food security.

Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, Director of Water, Food, and Ecosystems at the IWMI, said, “The purpose of Pakistan Water Week is to pinpoint gaps in current approaches, policies, and practices con­cerning water and food security. Our objective is to encourage solution-oriented discussions, transitioning from the exclusive identification of problems to the generation of new data, con­crete ideas, and evidence-based approaches. These efforts are aimed at addressing challeng­es related to water and food and advancing cli­mate-resilient solutions.”

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