National workshop on irrigation water management organised
ISLAMABAD: A national workshop on “Irrigation Water Management” was organised by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives with the support of the Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia (CARE) project, which is funded by the World Bank and is being implemented by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).
Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, and Jehanzeb Khan, deputy chairman, Planning Commission of Pakistan, were the guests of honour for the workshop.
During the opening remarks, Dr Hamid Jalil, member food security and climate change, Planning Commission of Pakistan, highlighted the importance of irrigation water management.
He also highlighted the importance of holding such workshops through which an action plan can be developed for water policy implementation.
Dr Akmal Siddiq presented a summary on the National Water Policy, which was approved in 2018 but still lacks effective implementation.
During his presentation, he provided a summary of the progress, impediments, and recommendations on the way forward.
Dr. Akhtar Ali highlighted the irrigation water management in Pakistan and how Pakistan’s irrigation system and practices are beset with many serious issues.
He also briefed about water conservation, efficiency, and equity and presented case studies of projects to demonstrate inappropriate infrastructure and project designs.
Dr Bakshal Khan Lashari briefed the meeting on water institutions in Pakistan and how these institutions lack development and capacity.
He outlined the issues, summarising the past and ongoing reforms and recommendations on the way forward.
In his keynote remarks, Jehanzeb Khan talked about the importance of holding consultative sessions like the national workshop. He expressed the hope that through such workshops, an action plan can be developed by all the stakeholders to implement the water policy.
Talking about the National Water Policy, Khan said that the policy developed was comprehensive, which if implemented could bring about a real change in the water sector of Pakistan.
However, he lamented the fact that despite being approved in 2018, the policy had still not been implemented effectively.
The deputy chairman of the Planning Commission also spoke about how in Pakistan, a lot of work had been done on the water conveyance side; however, serious efforts were lacking on the water management side.
In the concluding session, it was recommended that a water commission should be established, restructured, and strengthen the Ministry of Water Resources, and establish an apex organisation for trans-boundary waters.
There is a need to support and strengthen civil society organisations dealing with the water sector. Further, it was also recommended that the water financing mechanism should be improved and there is a lack of gender/women role in developing the National Water Policy; therefore, water professional and gender experts should be made part of the policy planning.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam appreciated the efforts of the team, and stressed on the importance of afforestation as per the vision of the prime minister.
Further, he discussed the distribution of water, existing water policies and focused on economic growth.
He also appreciated the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives for organising the workshop and ensuring that the recommendations of the workshop will be implemented in the future.
All the participants appreciated the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for providing a platform through which all the stakeholders in the water sector could develop an action plan.
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