LAHORE: A holistic approach and reliable database on water resources and their usage across Pakistan is the key to achieving water, energy and food security in the fifth most climate-vulnerable country of the world, according to the panelists at a UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue.

Organised by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the online dialogue highlighted the need for transformative approaches to promote equity and inclusion in World Economic Forum (WEF) nexus governance for sustainable water, energy and food systems.

Other outcomes of the discussion, which included contributions from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Hisaar Foundation, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), FAO, Global Water Partnership and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), flagged the need for a substantial increase in research and development funds for the agriculture sector through active dialogues with donors and development partners.

The participants laid emphasis on improving policy coherence among ministries through better coordination and capacity-building and increased awareness among researchers, policymakers, government officials and farmers about the benefits of WEF nexus modelling approaches to optimise the agriculture production.

They stressed on the need for sizable interdisciplinary projects to realise true systems transformation and WEF nexus operationalisation through pilot projects in the Indus Basin of Pakistan that hosts one of the world’s largest contiguous irrigation networks.

The objective of the dialogue was to discuss how a shared vision for water and food security in the South Asian country could be achieved in a changing climate. Research shows that water security is posing serious challenges to the social and economic development of Pakistan, an agrarian country of 220 million people, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

IWMI Director General Dr Mark Smith said: “Pakistan is a region vulnerable to climate change. These conditions are negatively affecting water, agriculture, health, environment and other sectors. So, managing water risks in the food system is going to be one of the highest priorities in the future food system of the country.”

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2021

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