UITED NATIONS, Mar 24 (APP):Pakistan Thursday stressed the need for transboundary water cooperation, citing the 1960 Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan — a lower riparian state — as an example of such successful cooperation that provides an effective mechanism to deal with issues related to shared water resources.
“Within the South Asia region, population growth and increasing water demand, coupled with climate change impacts and ecosystem degradation, has made water cooperation even more imperative,” Hasan Nisar Jamy, Pakistan’s chief delegate, told the UN Water Conference, pointing that Pakistan shares surface and groundwater resources with two neighbouring countries.
“The Indus Waters Treaty, which governs sharing of the Indus basin’s waters, is one example of such successful cooperation, which provides an effective mechanism for cooperation and management on water issues,” Jamy, who is Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, said in the general debate.
Drawing attention to precedents and principles on the rights and obligations of both upper and lower riparians arising from bilateral and multilateral instruments, Pakistan’s chief delegate said, “These norms must be fully respected by the concerned Parties”.
“Unilateral actions can spiral into threats to regional stability and peace, and must be avoided, Jamy warned on the penultimate day of the three-day conference, the first in almost five decades taking place in New York to deal with water-related challenges.
The Indus, the lifeblood of Pakistan, contains the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world, he said, adding that it accounts for food security for over 225 million people.
Pakistan is among the top 10 water scarce countries in the world, and has also been among the top ten climate vulnerable countries.
As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, Jamy said Pakistan faces multiple challenges, as seen in the devastating floods in 2022 that caused huge damage to infrastructure. Additionally, across the globe, climate change is placing additional pressure both on the quality and the quantity of the world’s water resources.
In this regard, he stressed that Pakistan’s main water resource is highly sensitive to climate change due to its dependency on glacier and snow melt.
On the issue of Water Governance, the Pakistan chief delegate said that a policy is currently being implemented with a focus on the construction of new reservoirs, improving water use efficiency, ensuring water conservation and improving management as also construction of two mega dams besides numerous small and medium dams.
“We have also started to formulate and promulgate Ground Water Regulations and establish supportive authorities at the provincial and sub-national levels,” Jamy said.