Pakistan

IUCN Celebrates World Water Day, Calls for Measures to Address Water Challenges

ISLAMABAD: To celebrate the World Water Day 2018, IUCN joined hands with PCRWR, UNESCO, ICIMOD, ICARDA, ECOSF, CCRD and Riphah International University to commemorate the day, the theme of which for this year was Nature for Water.

Each year, the World Water Day (WWD) brings attention to and highlights a specific aspect of water. This year’s theme “Nature for Water” provides an important opportunity of exploring nature-based solution for various water challenges including floods and droughts.

A Poster Competition among university students was also organized. The event was held in PCRWR premises and was well attended by representatives of various institutions and University students.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest Ms. Vibeke Jensen Director, UNESCO described a brief picture of the global water crisis. She remarked that resolution of the issues faced by the World lies in the preservation of nature which is degraded by enhanced anthropogenic activities. She further elaborated that she was well aware of Government of Pakistan’s efforts on getting the national water policy approved and research and development efforts related with the theme of the year’s WWD theme. Water issues and crisis have multiple impacts, said Lt. Gen Omar Mahmood Hayat Chairman, NDMA. Under the changing climate, water related disasters are becoming very common affecting every aspect of life.

Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative IUCN Pakistan traced the declining per capita water availability figures in Pakistan since independence and stated that the declining water quality was a direct result of damage to the ecosystems health. “IUCN Pakistan believes that the solution lies in green infrastructure. He remarked that ecosystems are transboundary in nature and have a major impact on the occurrence and status of water resources. It is in this sense that IUCN is actively engaged in concerted efforts on protecting degraded ecosystems with reforestation activities,” he added.

Quoting some examples of such efforts, he particularly mentioned the herculean efforts of IUCN in restoring the coastal ecosystem by planting millions of mangroves with the collaboration of Pakistan Navy and involving local communities, who were the major beneficiaries of the activities. The efforts are still on-going with more commitments from the Pakistan Navy who have pledged over one Million mangrove plants for greening the ecosystem.

Dr. Abdul Majid, Country Director, ICARDA remarked that importance of water lies in how we use water resources. In order to save the nature, water must be conserved in all consumer sectors. A healthy eco-system ensures protected and well managed water resources.

Earlier Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman PCRWR, in his welcome speech remarked that Nature itself possesses a balance of resources and any imbalance may cause shortage of these resources; the current water crisis is the most critical example.

A panel discussion was also held circling around preservation of “eco-system and water resources”. Mr. Ahmad Kamal Chairman Federal Flood Commission, Dr. Abdul Wahid Jasra Country Representative, ICIMOD, Dr. Ghulam Rasool Director General PMD, Mr. Hassan Muhammad Khan Chancellor, Riphah International University and representative of ECOSF shared their expert opinion around the theme of world water day 2018. At the end, awards were distributed to the first three positions among the students who participated in the competition.

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