Continuing on its mission of disseminating the “Recommendations for Pakistan’s National Water Policy Framework” for the consideration of the government in each of the provinces, Hisaar Foundation – a foundation, for water, food and livelihood security- and secretariat host, Cap-Net Pakistan held a launch event in Islamabad, the federal capital of Pakistan on Friday 27th January 2017 at Islamabad Serena Hotel.
The policy framework was presented by Simi Kamal, Convener, Think Tank on Rational Use of Water and former member, GWP TEC. The panel was moderated by the effervescent Dr. Daanish Mustafa from King’s College, London and the panelists included notable personalities such as, Dr. Salman Shah, former Finance Minister who spoke of the importance of the water economy and inaction of the government in developing a water policy and Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund who reiterated the urgency of the water crisis and highlighted the importance of investing in the people and not just infrastructure. A business sector representative, Mr. Jamal Ansari, CEO Akbar Associates Group stated that water is a most undervalued resource and emphasized the lack of focus on groundwater management and quality. Ms. Seema Taher Khan CEO News One and TV One presented the way forward and outlined the plan of action and implementation for governments, media, communication agencies and civic bodies at all levels. Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting addressed the audience and declared her commitment to the cause of water. She not only invited Hisaar Foundation to the Standing Committee on SDG’s to present the policy framework to the government but also promised to run public services messages on water developed by Hisaar Foundation on the national television channel. Mr. Istvan Kovacs, Commercial Counsellor from the Embassy of Hungary also addressed the audience and highlighted the importance of water cooperation of Pakistan with countries like Australia and Hungary.
The participants included heads of water agencies, government representatives such as Chairman of Indus River System Authority (IRSA), representatives of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) heads of NGOs, donor representatives, representatives of the business community and industry, media and members from the community of diplomats.
The launch was a culmination of two years of consultations, including discussion sessions with various water stakeholders across the spectrum, as well as two international water conferences that focused on water cooperation and water security. The recommendations are part of the first report of Hisaar Foundation’s Think Tank on Rational Use of Water.
The recommendations focus on five main areas for further action. These include improving water access for the poor and landless, financing the urban and rural water value chain, safeguarding the Indus Basin and its infrastructure, improving water institutions and their management and governance, and finally building a base for science, technology, and social aspects of water.