Mutual trust and science based dialogue are the need of the hour to resolve upper lower riparian issues in Pakistan.

18 January 2011 | International news release

Islamabad – January 18, 2011 IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature inaugurated a two-day Workshop on Upper Lower Riparian Issues and Options at Islamabad
We need mutual trust and science based multi-stakeholder dialogues to understand and resolve upper lower riparian issues and explore viable options. This was the consensus emerging from opening session of a two day consultative workshop on upper lower riparian issues and options, started today at a local hotel in Islamabad.

Considering water as lifeline for Pakistan’s sustainable development and steering it clear of political agendas and bias, IUCN Pakistan undertook a study on the issues and options for the upper and lower riparian of the Indus River. Based on this and several other studies, four policy briefs have been prepared, i.e., (i) 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. The workshop is to consult the relevant stakeholders on these policy briefs.

Presenting the policy briefs, Dr. Shahid Ahmad, member Pakistan Agricultural Research Council made a detailed presentation on the draft policy briefs for discussion and feedback. Dr. Ahmad said “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 in the dry spells.
 
“Neutral fact and science-based studies can be very useful in solving the regional water issues,” said, Mr. Ganesh Pangare, Coordinator, Regional Water and Wetlands Programme, IUCN Asia, sharing regional perspective on upper lower riparian issues and options.

Mr. Ganesh Pangare quoted various instances of the regional cooperation on the Nile, Mekong and Senegal rivers. He was of the view that since we have successful examples of regional cooperation, so we may not need to reinvent the wheel in Pakistan’s case as well. He also emphasised on the private sector involvement in the dialogues.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Shah Murad Aliani, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan said, “IUCN being a neutral convenor for the dialogues on the 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 these policy briefs more viable and closer to reality”.

Water is a very complex issue and thus needs to have dynamic ways for solving this problem, said Jan Willem Cools, First Secretary (Environment & Water) and Deputy Head of Development Section of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on this occasion. He emphasised on paradigm shift, solutions and champions for the cause in order to resolve water issues in Pakistan.

This workshop was organised by IUCN Pakistan under its Balochistan Partnerships for Sustainable Development Programme, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A large number of experts from the water sector are participating in this two-day workshop to discuss and finalise the policy briefs, which would eventually be presented to the policymakers of the country. This initiative is first of its kind, apolitical dialogue on water and upper lower riparian issues.

For Further Details Contact:

Hamid Sarfraz
Programme Coordinator

IUCN Pakistan
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Islamabad Program Office,
House No. 21 Street No. 88, G-6/3
Islamabad
Phone: +92 51 2271027 - 34      
Fax:     +92 51 2271 017
Hamid.sarfraz@iucn.org

About IUCN:
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,100 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. In Pakistan, operational since 1985, IUCN constitutes the largest country programme with 29 member organizations. It has helped the Pakistani government and the society to carry forward agenda for conservation of natural resources, ecological stewardship and sustainable development. www.iucn.org