The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Recent Activities from LEAD Pakistan

Guest blog from colleagues at LEAD Pakistan
LEAD Pakistan has convened a number of events in the past few months, including meetings for multi-year projects as well as further installments of their LEADING Perspectives series.

LEADING Perspectives is an on-going series of talks that takes on the challenge of generating an informed, pluralistic and multi-sectoral analysis to accelerate the thought process on pressing water and environmental issues pertinent to our region. The following events have taken place since November 2018. Visit the LEADING Perspectives website to stay informed about upcoming talks in the series.

Event: 2nd Pak-Afghan Stakeholders Consultation
January 7 – 8, 2019

Under USAID’s Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program, LEAD Pakistan has undertaken a comprehensive research initiative titled “Understanding our Joint Water-Climate Change Challenge and Exploring Policy Options for Cooperation on the Kabul River Basin”. This three-year project (2016 – 2019) aims to promote cooperation, collaboration, and an integrated approach to basin-wide development. In light of the same, LEAD Pakistan organized a stakeholder consultation on integrated basin wide approach for Kabul River Basin in Dubai with experts from both Afghanistan and Pakistan. This stakeholder consultation is the second of the series and aims to take the dialogue further from the first meeting held in Almaty in April 2018.

The consultation brought together a host of experts from Afghanistan and Pakistan, hailing from different background such as academia, the private sector, the government, policy makers and officials from other embassies etc. During this policy dialogue, participants discussed key deficiencies and challenges pertinent to the optimal utilization of Kabul River Basin. The policy dialogue resulted in meaningful and constructive discussion, exploring possible applicable solutions for adaptation of climate change impacts at local and regional level. It was an excellent opportunity for 60 experts and researchers to come together to share their findings and proposing adaptive mechanisms to guide policy making in the management, governance, and development of the Kabul River Basin.

Event: National Consultation on "Pakistan at Global Warming of 1.5 to 2 Degrees C - Capturing Opportunities and Managing Challenges"
November 30, 2018

LEAD Pakistan hosted a National Consultation on Pakistan at Global Warming of 1.5 to 2 degrees C – Capturing Opportunities and Managing Challenges to prompt key national stakeholders to take notice of the rapidly shrinking window of opportunity to limit global warming. The event was attended by high-ranking public officials, diplomats, experts, academics and other key stakeholders - of which some presented scientific case studies, and highlighted climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that Pakistan could adopt.

With the release of the IPCC Special Report it has become undeniable that: climate change is a well-settled reality; it has already been here for decades; it is here to stay for the foreseeable future; and the window of opportunity to address it is fast closing – the world has a mere 12 years or so before becoming uninhabitable. The event focused on the recommendations by the national experts on the impact of climate to Pakistan water, food and energy security. Foreign ambassadors and experts shared best practices being adopted around the world to mitigate this threat.

It is important for Pakistan to adopt global best practices, and explore avenues for international collaboration to help manage its climate threats. The urgency of addressing head on this issue is increasing, as the decision making window shrinks with each day that we fail to act. As strategic policies accelerate economic growth rate, it is imperative for Pakistan to take well planned steps, drawing on the knowledge and practices of the countries already making significant headway on this agenda.

Talk 31: Managing Rainwater Harvesting in the Urban Context
January 10, 2019

LEAD Pakistan hosted an interactive session on the topic of “Managing Rainwater Harvesting in the Urban Context” with Shahid Sohail, ex-member engineering of Capital Development Authority (CDA), as guest speaker. Water is an issue that has gained exponential prominence in the recent years as water supplies, including urban, become increasingly stressed.

Islamabad is fortunate in its hydrological characteristic such that it receives up to 1.2 meters of rainfall per year. Theoretically, this amounts to roughly 2.98 million gallons per day per sector of the city. Assuming even 60% of this rainwater is harvested, spread over a population of 50 thousand, the potential available amount of water estimates around 35.6 gallon per capita per day. Rainwater is a huge resource for Islamabad, about which so far very little has been done. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has implemented several pilot projects to test different methods of rainwater harvesting. It is important to include rainwater harvesting for groundwater recharge in the heart of planning to create a water secure and sustainable city, and it is necessary for Islamabad to incorporate it into its re-planning.

Talk 30: The Indus Basin Vision at National and International Level
December 6, 2018

LEAD Pakistan hosted an interactive session with Professor David Grey, who shared good examples of international basins and their mitigated threats and seized opportunities. There are numerous examples around the world cooperative management of Transboundary Rivers. The 1961 Canada/USA Columbia River Treaty outlines strategies for sharing gross benefits equally between the two countries. The Itaipu Hydropower is an international HEP project on the transboundary river of Parana in which both Brazil and Paraguay hold equal shares.

In this current era Pakistan is facing numerous threats to its water security. In addition to its internal challenges, the threat of India shutting off Pakistan’s water sources could devastate the country much worse than armed conflict could. In spite of the IWT, the two countries have faced off on several disputes gaining international prominence, such as the cases of Baligarh and Kishenganga. In order to address the Indus river basin issue, it is necessary to explore various nexus related to water and identify challenges within them. Stakeholder engagement is key in this process to understand the various dimensions of the challenges, such as economic, societal, and environmental. A 21st century revolution is needed where state-of-the-art water institutions and skills are developed, infrastructural assets renovated, and a quantum shift in efficiency with equity and poverty reduction is focused. Most important, a political change is needed where trust building, benefit sharing and international cooperation is propagated.

Talk 29: Pakistan’s Water Apportionment Accord 1991: 25 Years and beyond
November 29, 2018

LEAD Pakistan hosted an interactive session as part of its LEADING Perspectives series on Managing Shared Basin. The guest speaker, Dr. Arif Anwar, is an irrigation/water resources expert with significant years of experience working in that sector of Pakistan.

After 1947, irrigation water was allocated among the provinces through informal, ad hoc arrangements. A number of commissions and committees eventually led to the apportionment of waters of the Indus River System between the Provinces of Pakistan in 1991. The Accord is a seminal document, unchanged over the last quarter of a century. Since it lacks a clearly stated objective it is difficult to ascertain whether the Accord has achieved what it set out to. It also falls short on addressing a number of important issues such as environmental flows and water quality. The water balance of the Indus basin also lacks accuracy. Going forward, it would be prudent not to consider re-writing the Accord, but rather work with in its existing framework to improve water accounting, and supplement the Accord with agreed and published operational rules to ensure equitable apportionment of water resources between the provinces.
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