Floods serve as a reminder to focus on policy to tackle climate-induced natural hazards

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Zubair Qureshi

In the wake of the recent floods and resulting damages across Pakistan, the World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan has urged the government to act immediately to strengthen response towards climate-induced natural hazards which pose a grave threat to critical habitats, natural capital, people and their livelihood.

In this regard, under the ambit of the Australia-Pakistan Water Security Initiative WWF-Pakistan organized a city-wide partnership forum on Urban Water Management to address the challenges of surface and ground water management and improve water governance. The forum aimed at promoting open and constructive dialogue on priority water risks by mobilizing resources, fostering new partnerships, adopting locally-driven solutions, and making measurable improvements towards sustainable water use and water stewardship in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The forum, comprising of a network of public, private, and civil society actors, developed a common understanding of water risks in the twin cities, highlighted key priority water risks and pinned down instrumental strategies to mitigate these risks.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, stated that for a country like Pakistan, the climate crisis is a water crisis. The recent floods have strongly enforced that proper water management should be our priority. The need for adoption of Nature Based Solutions has become crucial to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

John Snobar, Acting First Secretary Development, Australian High Commission, Pakistan lauded efforts all project partners and government departments including CDA, WASA Rawalpindi and Ministry of Water Resources for supporting APWASI and its activities. He also mentioned that this year’s monsoon rains have cost more than 1,000 lives and 33 million people have been affected in the current floods in Pakistan.

Sardar Khan Zimri, Deputy Director General Water Management, CDA expressed his support for the project activities and appreciated the efforts of WWF-Pakistan for improving access to clean drinking water in Farash Town. He also shared that CDA is focusing on integrating sustainable water management in its development programs.

A panel discussion on Urban Water Management in the twin cities was organized, which included Dr Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, PCRWR; Tanya Khan, Team Lead

Technical Assistance on Urban Flood Management, APWASI; Aisha Sarwari, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca Cola Pakistan; and Muhammad Tanveer, Managing Director, WASA Rawalpindi as panelists.

Other representatives from the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CDA, WASA, research and academia and other NGOs convened to pledge their support towards developing and adopting locally-driven, low-cost solutions to improve access and availability of water and ensure sustainable water use and stewardship. Community representatives from the APWASI demonstration sites also shared their water woes and experiences about the successful transformation of their communities.

 

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