On an invitation from Sustainable development Policy Institute (SDPI), young scholars of Department of Environmental Sciences, Quaid-I-Azam University have attended the SDPI report launch and consultation on Indus river basin. The report was launched on Thursday, 28th Feb 2013.
The report by the Indus Working Group represents the outcome of a Pakistan-India Track-II project for which SDPI partnered with the Stimson Center, Washington DC. Under this, a working group has been formed comprising 25 experts of various disciplines and retired diplomats for discussing cooperation between the relevant organisations and institutions of India and Pakistan on the Indus River Basin. It seeks to build mutual understanding between Indian and Pakistani decisions-makers of the common water risks they confront in the Indus Basin.
The group met twice â€“ in Kathmandu in June 2011 and Bangkok in December 2012. Based on the views expressed by members of the group, Stimson Center has produced a report containing a number of recommendations for consideration by the policy makers and other stakeholders of the two countries. The formal launches of this report titled â€œ
CONNECTING THE DROPS: An Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-Border Water Research, Data Sharing, and Policy Coordinationâ€ are planned in New Delhi and Islamabad with a view to disseminating its contents among the relevant stakeholders
- i) Ambassador (Retd) Shafqat Kakakhel, Former UN Assistant Secretary General and Member Board of Governors, SDPI
- ii) Syed Iqbal Hussain Indian Glaciologist
- iii) Simi Kamal Chairperson and Chief Executive OfficerHisaar Foundation, Pakistan
- iv) Mr David Michel, Research Associate and Director Environmental Security Program, Stimson Center, Washington DC, USA
- v) DrÂ Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
- vi) Mr Khalid Mohtadullah Country Director, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- vii) Mr Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, Senior Research Associate, Climate Change Study Centre, SDPI
Mr Shakeel Ahmad Ramay has made an introductory speech on the importance of this report launch about the Indus basin. He was mainly talking about regional developments about the issues water between India and Pakistan.
Ambassador (Retd) Shafqat Kakakhel said it is time to put forward the actions by leaving behind the words. He was also focusing on the point that we are not here for point scoring but we really want to do something. He was also discussing that itâ€™s not only the Government who can participate and solve such sort of problems, we as private organization can also play significant role as important stakeholders.
Mr David Michel highlighted the role of Stimson Center in participation of previous two meetings and their outcomes and he also describe different recommendations on report of Indus basin especially focusing on irrigation practices, economic and regional development. He further elaborated that enaction of all these recommendations will lead to environmental security and regional peace and prosperity.
Mr Khalid Mohtadullah talked about the flaws in report and he added important points in recommendations such as rain water harvesting and watershed management. He was also openly criticizing Indus water treaty.
Simi Kamal emphasized on and educating people on sustainable water usage and said unless the water prices in the country are not increased there would be continuous wastage of water in agriculture, industry and in domestic use. â€œPakistan has the lowest productivity as per capita water and land usage and this must be changed. We have to educate people to take responsibility in efficient water use and management,â€ she added. She also asked civil society, young researchers, and academicians to initiate research initiatives on water issues and facilitate government in taking correct policy decisions.
Syed Iqbal Hussain, an expert from India presented deliberation on glacial dimensions of Indus water basin. Â He was of the view that 80 percent of water in Indus river comes for snow and glacial melt and keeping in view the rapid melting of glaciers especially in Tibetan plateau from where Indus originates, it is possible that there may be substantial decrease in water flow in Indus in coming future. He also showed his concerns over coal fired power plants in India, producing 70 percent of electricity, and are source of black carbon that is responsible for fast melting of glaciers in the region.