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WWF-Pakistan and CPPG conducts two-day workshop on transboundary water governance

Posted on 8 Feburary 2017

Lahore, : WWF-Pakistan, in collaboration with Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG), Forman Christian (FC) College, conducted a two-day provincial workshop on transboundary water governance at a local hotel in Lahore. The workshop focused on raising awareness and increasing the capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and various other groups on the issues. The discussions were global in scope, with a particular focus on the Ravi River. Taking the Ravi River stretch from Madhopur, India to Lahore, Pakistan, as a case study example of a transboundary river, key challenges and their impact on the agriculture sector, urban and marginalized communities regarding water quantity and quality were brought under discussion during the workshop dialogue sessions.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, in the opening session highlighted the importance of a domestic, bi- and multilateral mechanism to support the many international water cooperation agreements in place. “The climatic challenges we are facing on the global level demands an increase level of cooperation between countries over shared water resources. Such cooperation over transboundary waters will result in benefits reaching well beyond the water sector and will open up new opportunities for riparian states to sustainable development and improved livelihoods; water, food and energy security; flood and drought prevention; and a healthy ecosystem.”

Similarly, Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Chairperson CPPG, FC College, indicated that there is a yawning difference between the policy narratives of the government and the ground realities in Pakistan. “Through dialogue, deliberation and research we aim to enhance a culture of research that feeds into policy arena. Such initiatives, we expect can help us move from a belief-based to knowledge-based society. This is the spirit and expectation with which we are collaborating with WWF-Pakistan to support research initiatives that bridge the gap between applied research and policy process.” He stressed that the research carried out should align with the realities of the region. Abdul Khaliq Khan, adviser to Chairperson WAPDA talked about the importance of river rehabilitation. He was of the opinion that the restoration of River Ravi should have started ten years ago by adapting various modern day techniques in the city of Lahore, like rainwater harvesting.

In addition to this, the participants also gave their feedback on how effective governance by water departments can help overcome issues and challenges. The event was attended by a diverse group of civil society representatives, local government department officials, and representatives from research and academia for a need-based discussion on water management.

In many aspects water is among the most shared resources on Earth. Close to 50 per cent of the Earth’s land surface area is comprised of shared river and lake basins. Some 276 river basins cross the political boundaries of two or more countries, and about 40 per cent of the world’s population lives in river and lake basins that cross international borders. Globally, about two billion people depend on groundwater, which includes well over 300 transboundary aquifer systems.

Water governance demands collaboration and coordination. While important, the discourse is a deviance to water governance issues and overshadows much needed emphasis on water management at the local level. Significantly, evidence shows that the morphology of River Ravi is fast changing, and the river has shifted (given its gradient slope) towards India in the past years. Both macro development trajectories and micro existential issues need to be seen through the optics of water governance, the optics of cultural heritage of the Ravi and a redefined understanding of water diplomacy.


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Media Relations at WWF-Pakistan

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