Australia, Pakistan sign water, energy pacts

ISLAMABAD - Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Margaret Adamson, and Secretary for Water Resources, Shamail Khawaja, Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Pakistan for collaboration on water, food and energy security.

The MOU was signed in the margins of the Indus Knowledge Forum, a one-day workshop organised by the Australian and Pakistani Governments where experts from both countries, civil society and international partners joined senior officials to discuss responses to the triple challenges of water scarcity, food insecurity and energy shortages.

"Australia is committed to helping Pakistan achieve water, food and energy security ," Ms Adamson said. "We have been partnering with Pakistan in water and agriculture since the 1980s. We welcome the recent momentum around these issues, which are inextricably linked to gender equality and the economy. We stand ready to continue to support Pakistan's sustainable and inclusive development."

Also participating in the Forum were Chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority, General Muzammil Hussain and Secretary of National Food Security, Dr Hashim Popalzai.

Discussions covered Pakistan's National Water Policy, the need for integrated thinking across the nexus between water, food and energy sectors, factoring in gender dimensions and the role civil society plays in sustainable management of the Indus Basin resources. Over coming months, working groups of the forum will develop a range of proposals to present to the Government of Pakistan.

The forum is part of a long-term Australian commitment, under the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), to build capacity for integrated management of water, food and energy resources in the Indus Basin.

The SDIP draws on Australian expertise and technologies and is being implemented in Pakistan through six Australian and international partners: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), International Centre for Excellence in Water Resource Management (ICEWaRM), World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC), The Asia Foundation (TAF) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The Australian Government is providing Pakistan with $15million (2016-20) in support under the SDIP.

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