Data, funds and dialogue key to water, energy, and food security in a changing climate for Pakistan

A holistic approach and reliable database on water resources and their use across Pakistan is the key to achieving food, water, and energy security in the fifth most climate-vulnerable country in the world.

(Lahore/Colombo, April 21, 2021) – A holistic approach and reliable database on water resources and their use across Pakistan is the key to achieving food, water, and energy security in the fifth most climate-vulnerable country in the world, participants of the UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue (Pakistan) have reported.

Rice farming in Pakistan. Photo: Faseeh Shams / IWMI
Rice farming in Pakistan. Photo: Faseeh Shams / IWMI

The Dialogue, organised by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and partners, highlighted the need for transformative approaches to promote equity and inclusion in water energy food (WEF) nexus governance for sustainable water, energy and food systems.

Other outcomes from the discussion, which included contributions from the IFPRI, Hisaar Foundation, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), FAO, Global Water Partnership, 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.

Dialogue participants emphasized improving policy coherence among key ministries through better inter-sectoral coordination and capacity building and raising awareness among researchers, policymakers, government officials, and farmers about the benefits of WEF nexus modelling approaches to optimise agriculture production in the Indus Basin.

Furthermore, they laid stress on the need for sizable interdisciplinary projects to realise true systems transformation and WEF nexus operationalization through pilot projects in the Indus Basin of Pakistan that hosts one of the world’s largest contiguous irrigation networks.

Conclusions from this event and three other Independent Water Dialogues will contribute to the Global Dialogue titled ‘Water: the game changer for food systems’ on April 27 and ultimately to the UN Food Systems Summit in September.

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

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

Closing the event, Smith said there was a growing urgency for action on the role of water in the food system. He said that acting with urgency required clarity and a shared understanding across stakeholders of what is at stake, what practices, technologies and policies should be prioritized, what financing is needed where – will be a vital part of the story of food system transformation in Pakistan

Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI’s Country Representative for Pakistan; “Around 80 participants from 12 countries had shared rich and diverse views on key bottlenecks in implementing the operationalization of WEF nexus in the context of Indus Basin. There is an urgent need for promoting inter-sectoral cooperation through evidence based information to ensure water-food-energy security and environmental sustainability for food system transformation in Pakistan”.

The event provided an opportunity for in-depth dialogues to take place between diverse actors from across food systems, development partners, government, think tanks, universities, and international organisations.

The Pakistan dialogue highlighted eight key thematic areas around which participants engaged in group discussions: sustainable and renewable energy for food production; Climate change impacts on water and food security; Policy coherence, implementation and institutional coordination in water, food, energy, and climate change that operationalize the WEF nexus; Enhancing performance of water systems across multiple sectors (agriculture, domestic, industry and environment) demands; Advancing technical WEF models, tools and frameworks for decision making at multiple scales; Enhancing resilience and productivity of irrigated agriculture through the WEF Nexus; Community strategies to operationalise equitable WEF nexus approaches; and Socio-Economic synergies and benefits of WEF Nexus.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Toby Johnson, Head Global Communications and Knowledge Management, IWMI
e-mail: tel +94 (0)779425984


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