ISLAMABAD: Environmental experts have stressed the need for multipronged strategies and an integrated approach for the optimal use of water resources besides developing baseline information about all sectors including water, food and agriculture.
“Since most of the water resources of the country originate in the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas, that’s why the region is called mother well of the Indus basin irrigation system and the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy,” Ministry of Science and Technology Secretary Fazal Abbas Maken said.
He was speaking at a consultation workshop on Hindukush and Himalaya regions’ need assessment here on Tuesday, organised by the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a Nepal-based organisation.
“The region is subject to a number of complex and multipronged issues, therefore, multipronged strategies are required to address these issues,” the official said.
Icimod Strategic Cooperation Director Basanta Shrestha said the programme would consider building the capacity of the centre and its regional focal member countries to improve their application and use of geospatial products and decision support tools.
The centre’s Regional Programme Manager Birendra Bajracharya highlighted goals, objectives and outcomes of the programme.
“While addressing climate change issues in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya regions, we must include Karakoram region as well which is more prone to climate change that accelerates melting and glaciers retreat,” Pakistan Meteorological Department Director-General Dr Ghulam Rasul said.
PCRWR Chairman Dr Muhammad Ashraf said the workshop would help understand the behaviour of glaciers, their linkage with climate change effects, impacts on mountain communities and finding tangible solutions to avert the situation, he said.
Dr Fazal Bari highlighted some of the issues facing ecosystem services in the country.
“Lack of coordination between related institutions like Sparco, forest departments, climate change ministry, inherent resistance to sharing data, lack of appropriate models for field implementation, results and conclusions of research work not incorporated in development interventions and long-term planning and security concerns for using GPS maps and other tools are also among other impediments,” he said.
The programme, a USAID-NASA joint venture, supports developing countries to improve environmental management and resilience to climate change through integration of earth observation information and geospatial technologies into development decision-making.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2016.
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