Pakistani parliamentarians urge int’l cooperation, aid to developing countries at hearing on water crisis

Pakistani parliamentarians urge int'l cooperation, aid to developing countries at hearing on water crisis

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 14 (APP):Pakistani parliamentarians, speaking at the annual Parliamentary Hearing at the UN, have called for enhanced international cooperation to deal with the growing water crisis as global climate change was increasingly impacting water availability, leading to water scarcity in some regions and flooding in others.

Entitled ‘Water for People and Planet: Stop the waste, change the game, invest in the future,’ the Hearing, a joint initiative between the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), opened on Monday.

UN officials said that the Hearing will provide a parliamentary contribution to the UN Water Conference, which is being held from March 22-24, 2023, in New York.

The Deputy Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Zahid Akram Durrani, is leading the Pakistani parliamentary delegation, which includes, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Naseema Ehsan, Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Senator Muhammad Abdul Qadir and Senator Faisal Saleem Rahman.

More than 250 members of parliament, Speakers, advisers and related officials from 60 countries are participating in the event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

Deputy Speaker Durrani, the Pakistani delegate, told the Hearing that water scarcity caused by climate change stemmed from underinvestment in water and sanitation and insufficient cooperation on transboundary waters.

The urgency of these challenges differed across regions, Durrani said, pointing out that while globally water stress levels remained safe at 18.6 per cent in 2019, South Asia registered high levels of water stress at over 75 per cent.

With Pakistan among the top ten water scarce countries in the world, he said, the need for enhanced cooperation on water has assumed greater urgency in recent years, with climate change increasingly impacting water availability, leading to water scarcity in some regions and flooding in others.

“Undoubtedly, water will increasingly become a key factor in managing risks related to famine, disease epidemics, migration, inequalities within and between countries, political instability and natural disasters, the Pakistani delegate said.

“To overcome these challenges, we believe that there are three essential requirements: finance, technology transfer and enhanced international cooperation,” Durrani added.

Durrani also met the UN General Assembly President, Csaba Korosi, on the sidelines of the Hearing.

In the second session on ‘Access to Safe Water as a Human Right,’ Senator Sana Jamali, called for helping the developing nations by providing financial resources and technology transfers in accessing affordable and safe drinking water as well as improving sanitation and hygienic situations for all.

β€œIn order to fulfill the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, we would highlight three essential requirements: finance, technology transfer and enhanced international cooperation, especially to developing countries,” Senator Jamali said.

In the third session on ‘Climate Change and Water Scarcity: Building Resilience to avoid the worst’, Senator Abdulk Qadir said that water and climate change were inextricably linked.

In this regard, he stressed the need for scaling up investments to adequately adapt water supply and sanitation services, energy production, flood protection, water storage and irrigation schemes ahead of climate impacts.

Senator Qadir also called for:

— Prioritizing nature-based adaptation – including land restoration, reforestation, wetland rejuvenation and mangrove cultivation – in order to help improve water management in a changing system;

— Utilizing innovative technologies such as flood- and drought-early warning systems in order to prepare communities, water and agriculture service providers, and governments to anticipate, adapt and respond to extreme events;

— Mobilizing innovative financing for water resource management to help attract investment, create jobs, and support governments in fulfilling their water and climate goals;

— Adopting climate-smart agriculture, and,

— Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater in order to meet the needs of a growing population.

All these measures, Senator Qadir said, required the countries to adapt to and build resilience to climate change and rising water scarcity.

In the case of developing countries, he said, there was a dire need for finance, technology transfer and enhanced international cooperation in order to adopt those measures.

As such Senator Qadir called for the fulfillment of long-standing commitments, such as the mobilization of $100 billion in annual climate finance by developed countries.

“Moreover,” he said, “developed countries must double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries from 2019 levels by 2025.”

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