Beginning of the debate on the role of the water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD-International Conference on “The Role of Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) Nexus for a Climate Resilient Pakistan” kicked off here on Monday, aiming to identify gaps in policy, procedures and practices related to the water and building capacity for competing water demands from multiple sectors.

The three-day conference will also focus on improving water governance and strengthening water, food security and nature-based solutions.

The conference is organized by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in collaboration with the Ministries of Planning and Development, Water Resources, etc. as part of Pakistan Water Week 2022.

Minister of Development Planning and Special Initiatives, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal inaugurated the International Conference on Pakistan Water Week 2022.

The conference kicked off with experts focusing on a range of conservation measures, such as integrated water resources management (IWRM), improving water governance, nature-based solutions, strengthening water and food security, technological innovation and greater awareness, for sustainable development in Pakistan.

“I strongly believe that due to the recent extreme weather events in Pakistan, the second Pakistan Water Week Advocacy will help organizers, operational departments and stakeholders to formulate and shape policies aimed at a resilient Pakistan. to climate change,” the minister said. , while inaugurating the conference as a guest of honour.

The first session was attended by Dr. Rachael McDonnell, Deputy CEO, IWMI, IWMI Board Member, Simi Kamal, Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, Country Representative, IWMI Pakistan and water and climate experts . The conference will continue until October 26 and will also include an exhibition. “IWMI has great potential to lead us towards realizing a water secure Pakistan by sharing best science practices for the successful implementation of national water, climate and food security policies,” said said the minister.

The Minister further said that there are clear opportunities to reduce the adverse effects of climate change on poor rural communities and that IWMI could play an important role in this transformational journey. “In the wake of the looming water crisis and the ongoing impacts of climate change, this international conference will lead to the development of practical, inclusive and comprehensive guidance for the development of sustainable land and water solutions in the Indus basin,” the minister noted.

The minister added that for the country’s water and food security, the construction of two mega storage dams, namely Diamer Basha dam and Mohmand dam hydropower project, has been initiated. These, along with other small dams, would add 10 MAFs of storage by 2030.

Likewise, he said that recently, Naulong multipurpose dam and Chashma right bank canals were approved by ECNEC, which would cultivate 333,000 acres of dry land, bringing socio-economic improvement. in the project areas.

For the energy security of the country, the government is striving to exploit the identified environmentally friendly hydroelectric potential of more than 42,000 MW of generation capacity available in the upper Indus basin, known as the cascade. of the Indus, in a fall of more than 7,000 feet in a stretch of 500 km long, indicated the minister, while underlining the initiatives taken by the government.

He said it was not possible for a planet to be water-scarce with 70% of its surface under water. However, he said the challenge was only to make seawater usable using modern desalination technology.

Dr. Rachael McDonnell, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, IWMI, said IWMI is transforming lives around the world. In Pakistan, our projects are having a significant impact, as we focus on water governance in Punjab; reduce constraints to productive and sustainable water use for agricultural production and integrated water resources management in Balochistan.

Due to the recent floods in Pakistan, we are supporting the National Disaster Management Authority NDMA, Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) with the development of a flood map to provide a quick assessment of the flood extent in Rajanpur district and crop assessment.

Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, Country Representative, Pakistan and Regional Representative, Central Asia, IWMI called for improved water security following the recent floods in Pakistan.

According to him, “Pakistan has received almost 400% more rainfall this year, which caught us off guard. Over 1600 lives were lost and the economy suffered damage worth billions of dollars. It is imperative that we take a Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) Nexus approach to see things holistically. he added.

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