Experts discuss climate resilient water governance models

Importance of incorporating voice of local communities into policy formulations stressed.

ISLAMABAD: A diverse group of experts at a consultation on community led climate resilient water governance models in Pakistan.

Hosted by the International Rescue Committee and National Disaster Risk Management Fund, the consultation aimed to gather expert insights on enhancing resilient water governance systems and policy reforms to tackle the challenges posed by extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change.

Representatives of Sindh Agriculture university, Tandojam, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Planning Commission, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, ZIZak, USAID’s Higher Education System Strengthening Activity, Natural Resources Division (NRD), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and attended the consultation.

Shabnam Baloch, Country Director International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Bilal Anwar, CEO of National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) facilitate the conversation and emphasized the importance of incorporating the voice of local communities into project designs and policy formulations.

They stressed the need for active engagement, ensuring water rights awareness, and harnessing local wisdom and indigenous knowledge for project designs. Additionally, clear guidelines for engaging semi-urban/urban segments in water governance systems were discussed, along with the challenges of scalability and gaps in planning of community-driven initiatives.

Foster Financially Viable Solutions and addressing hill torrent and urban flooding was one of the key discourse drivers, participants stressed the needs for watershed management, focusing on water safety, research and development, and evidence-based decisions for planning and improvement.

The experts highlighted the scarcity of skills and technical persons to promote market-oriented water management and the need for proper data for informed decision-making. They emphasized the importance of documenting lessons from past experiences to inform future strategies and policies, as well as promoting private sector support for value addition in agriculture sectors in hill torrent areas.

Furthermore, they stressed the importance of community participation at all levels of policy formulation and implementation and advocated for the revival of old traditional practices and indigenous knowledge. They called for a shift towards holistic climate-resilient policies embedding the flood management.

The event ended on a unanimous agreement that policies and program need to be centered on fostering financially viable and market-oriented water management solutions at the grassroots level, emphasizing value addition, competitive practices, service delivery standards, and balancing supply with demand.

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