Karachi, July 06, 2017 (PPI-OT): Provincial Minister for Education Jam Mehtab Hussain Dehar along with USAID mission Director Jerry Bisson and Deputy Mission Director Denise Herbal inaugurated a newly established building of “U.S-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Study” at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro. On this occasion Provincial Minister for Education addressing to the inauguration ceremony said that I feel greatly honoured and consider it as a great opportunity to have joined you in this noble cause and to inaugurate the new building of the “U.S.-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water”.
This is not merely a building. But this is actually a vision turned into reality and start of a new era of accelerated development and more importantly a value-added dimension of the Centre for achieving its overall objectives, for transforming the Water Centre into world class Centre of Excellence and for its sustainability by producing technically qualified water leaders and thus contributing to the economy of the country by way of resolving water-related challenges.
He extended thanks and appreciation to the American People and US Agency for International Development (USAID) for full financial support, including funding for this Centre, and also thanks to the University of Utah for providing technical and capacity building support for the Centre. He also congratulated to the Vice Chancellor and the Project Director of this Centre for having such state-of-the-art building.
He further said that as we are fully aware of the water-related challenges of the country which are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. To mention a few of these challenges, it includes water shortage, low system efficiency, conventional irrigation methods leading to inefficient use of water resources, low water productivity, mining of ground water including brackish water, limited availability of clean drinking water, and so on. This is beside the challenges related to limited storage capacity and decreasing availability of water from the current water storage structures.
He said that effective development and management of the country’s water resources are therefore vital to Pakistan’s overall economic development, food security and health of its population. We need to take necessary steps on war footing which requires policy makers, researchers, advocacy groups, development professionals and civil society groups to join hands to draw appropriate plans and policies to sensitize and engage all stakeholders on critical water issues, challenges and opportunities in order to address the above challenges and achieve sustainable water development and management.
He added that it is highly satisfying to note that the Centre is focusing on water-related issues in a big way and as a part of the Sustainable Development Goals, more particularly water-related SDGs which is crucial for advancing sustainable water development, given the enormity of water crisis Pakistan is facing. But it is encouraging to note that the three flagship projects viz.
Pakistan Water Development Report (PWDR), MUET Clean Water Project (MUET CWP) and Indus River Basin Model: Decision Support System, now underway at the Centre, provides necessary base and analytical framework for planning and resolution of water-related issues and it also serves as a laboratory for testing and development of water-related technologies.
He further said that some of the steps Government of Sindh have taken in the water sector:
The Planning and Development Department has established an SDG Unit to coordinate planning, implementation, and monitoring of the activities related to SDGs at the provincial level and also with similar units established at the national level.
The Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP) is also part of the Planning and Development Department and engaged in improving water use efficiency, overcoming water scarcity and implementation of IWRM plans.
We are also focusing our efforts to ensure supply of safe drinking water and sanitation services. The MUET Clean Water Project is also part of this initiative and many other projects.
We all know that the water is one of the pressing issues for Pakistan and I hope this Centre will come up with the sustainable solutions for the water-related problems of Pakistan. As for the Government of Sindh.
He hoped that the Water Centre at the Mehran University will continue to play an important advocacy role in addition to building social and human capital, and providing evidence-based policy analysis and advice. On this occasion (US AID) Mission Director Jerry Bisson and Deputy Mission Director Denise Herbal, Vice Chancellor of MUET, Dr. Muhammad Aslam Uqaili and former Vice Chancellor MUET Prof. S.M. Qureshi were also addressed to the gathering.
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