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Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan to highlight Pakistan’s water crisis at global water forum in Korea

Islamabad, April 12, 2015 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan has said that [for all stakeholders] the thinking in a water-energy-food nexus perspective is now inevitable and central to achieving green economy and sustainable socio-economic development goals in the country.

“Because, the nexus approach (also called the WEF nexus approach), particularly to water and energy planning, can lead to smarter, more climate-resilient development solutions,” the minister argued in a statement released here on Sunday before he left Sunday night for the Republic of Korea, where he would attend the week-long 7thWorld Water Forum (WWF).

Being held in Doegu city in South Korea under the theme ‘Water for Our Future’, this year from April 12 to April 17, the WWF is a global event organised every three years by the World Water Council (WWC) in collaboration with the authorities of the host country, with aim of coping with growing global water challenges collectively.

Academics, research institutions, enterprises, professional networks, governments and policy-makers, NGOs, media, as well as representatives from various fields such as agriculture, food or energy from over 170 countries attend the event.

The Pakistani delegation, headed by the Senator Mushahid Ullah khan will join the world water community at the 7thWWF in welcoming the anticipated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water and sanitation and other water-related targets in the SDGs for the next 15 year period, following the Millennium Development Goals, to be adopted in September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Besides, I will draw global water community’s attention towards the water crisis in Pakistan, which is aggravating rapidly due to climate change. I will also urge upon the global community for transfer technology, exchange of technical know-how and launch of capacity-building and joint research and development programmes for boosting efficiency in application of water in all socio-economic sectors, mainly agriculture, industry and domestic,” he said.

By international standards, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) declared Pakistan a water-scarce country in 1992 for per capita water availability at 1,700 cubic meters. By 2003, the country’s per capita availability of water declined to the extent that it was ranked as a water-scarce country by the World Bank, surpassing Ethiopia and on par with African countries such as Libya and Algeria, Mushahid Ullah Khan said in his statement.

According to the ADB, Pakistan’s storage capacity, the amount of water it has on reserve in case of an emergency, is limited to a 30-day supply — far below the recommended 1,000 days for countries with similar climates. Without meaningful action, a water crisis could push the country into further chaos.

“Though the country’s present per capita water availability is below 1,000 cubic meter, based on current projections, the per capita water availability will plunge further below 850 cubic meter by the year 2020, which can pose grave risk to government efforts meant for achieving water, food and energy security,” Khan warned.

Senator Mushahid UIllah Khan highlighted that rainwater harvesting and conservation of water in any form were two viable methods at hand being recognised by the global community as the workable and easy-to-employ solutions to rapidly depleting freshwater resources.

Stressing upon need for water conservation for achieving water, food and energy security in a water-stressed country like Pakistan, he called for birding the knowledge gap to manage land and water resources efficiently for food and energy security in a sustainable and equitable way in synergy with natural ecosystems.

“Water is at the heart of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability,” the federal climate change minister said.

From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water has been shown to contribute to improvements in social well being, affecting the livelihoods of billions. Progress towards the achievement of most sustainable development goals requires significant improvement of water management across the globe, he argues. In other words, there are several synergies and trade-offs between water and energy use and food production.

For instance, using water to irrigate crops might promote food production but it can also lower river flows and hydropower potential. Growing bio energy crops under irrigated agriculture can increase overall water withdrawals and jeopardize food security, the minister Mushahid Ullah Khan said.

He added that converting surface irrigation into high efficiency pressurized irrigation may save water but may also result in higher energy use. Recognizing these synergies and balancing these trade-offs is central to jointly ensuring water, energy and food security. If water, energy and food security are to be simultaneously achieved, decision-makers, including those responsible for only a single sector, need to consider broader influences and cross-sectoral impacts, he said.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Saleem
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, ISLAMABAD
Ph: 051-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.mocc.gov.pk/

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