3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
SDPI Seminar Hall, 38, Main Embassy road, G-6/3, Islamabad
Water is a crucial necessity to sustain life on the Earth. It is an essential requirement which is used in agriculture, industry, and domestic chores. According to the UN estimates, about 1.5 billion people in the world are working in water-related sectors. The world is dependent mainly on rivers and groundwater resources to fulfil its requirements yet millions of people, who are engaged in water-related professions are often not recognized or protected by the fundamental labour laws.
Every year, the World Water Day is celebrated on the 22nd of March to focus attention on the importance of water and water resources, particularly the freshwater. The day aims to raise awareness and advocate for the sustainable management and use of water sources in addition to highlighting the required improvements in WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) facilities in the developing countries. The first World Water Day was held in 1993, and since onwards every year it focuses on a different theme. The UN and its member states devote this day for implementing the world body’s recommendations on water and promoting activities within the countries. Similarly, a number of nongovernmental organizations working on sustainable development issues commemorate the World Water Day to draw the world attention towards this critical and serious issue.
The theme for the World Water Day 2016 is “Water and Jobs” and it mainly focuses is on how the enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods, and can play a role in the transformation of societies and economies. This theme is highly relevant for Pakistan; with an estimated population of 192 million, the agriculture sector plays a major role in the country’s economy, contributing to around 24% of the GDP and employing over 40% of the labour force. Additionally, unlike most of the developing countries where 70 to 80 per cent of freshwater resources are used in farming, Pakistan uses over 95% of the freshwater resources. Water use is not only limited to agricultural or domestic use, but it is also widely used in industry. According to estimates, 96% of the total amount of water drawn in Pakistan in 2000 was used in agriculture, 2% in industry and 2% for domestic use. A large number of people are also involved in non-agricultural water-based jobs, including fishing, forestry, factories, etc. A large number of households, particularly in the least developed and rural areas, retrieve water for domestic use through water carriers: workers, who carry water from sources like canals and rivers and carry them for many miles on foot for household use.
Under the broad goal of PRISE, SDPI has initiated a research study on “Migration Futures: Climate Change and Climate Resilient Economic Development”. The study is designed to explore the varying levels of climate vulnerability that determine the migrant’s decision to move.
It aims to develop an understanding of climate-induced migration patterns and associated vulnerabilities and risks on livelihoods/food security, conflicts over natural resources and urbanization in the SALs through the analysis of socio-economic parameters. The broad goal of this project is to devise evidence-based adaptation options and inspire policies related to climate-induced migration factors that will build resilience of communities and safeguard natural resources to climate change.
Cotton sector is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy as it provides inputs to the textile sector, employs a huge proportion of human capital and is a major source of export earnings for the country. Being a thirsty crop, cotton crop is highly dependent on water. While cotton is largely produced on irrigated land in Pakistan, water management is the crucial element with respect to cotton production. Non-availability of water has caused significant damages to this crop in the past. It is, therefore, the need of the hour to focus on water conservation and management to ensure sustainable livelihoods and hence rapid economic growth.
International development agencies and governments need to promote decisions for the sustainable management of water resources, instead of treating water primarily as an economic commodity. Labour in South Asia needs to be given awareness for their rights on the use of water as well as for the management of water resources. In this perspective, the World Water Day can be utilized as an excellent occasion for promoting this gigantic cause in the light of rising threats of global water scarcity and climate change.
- Engr. Shamsul Mulk, Former Chairman WAPDA
- Dr. Abid Q. Suleri, Executive Director SDPI
- Dr. Imran S. Khalid, Research Fellow, SDPI
- Dr. Fahad Saeed, Research Fellow, SDPI
- Mr. Kashif Majeed Salik, Senior Research Associate, SDPI
- Ms Simi Kamal, Chief of Party, Aurat Foundation
- Engr. Naseer A. Gillani, Chief Water, Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform
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