Track II consultations by global experts recommend a series of jointly conducted studies by the relevant institutions of India and Pakistan to produce a knowledge base for decisions to be agreed by the two countries. To achieve confident and cooperative decision-making across jurisdictional borders for effective and equitable management of shared water resources, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (AUSAID) designed the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) with the aim to tackle some of the basic development challenges in South Asia by strengthening trans-boundary cooperation to promote all-encompassing, robust and resilient economic growth. The primary goal of SDIP is to promote water, food and energy security in the basins of three Himalayan rivers, namely Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra.
Along with the trans-boundary issues of sharing and management, water in South Asia faces many challenges such as population growth, resource extraction, deforestation, generation of food and energy, and climate change. Climate change has also, in turn, deteriorated food security situation in the region. Accelerating growth in South Asia has also led to increase in demand for energy further increasing the imbalance in demand and supply of energy. Inter and intra-regional politics also plays an important role in defining water, food, and energy insecurities.
Regional cooperation seems to be the only solution to improve the grim situation of depleting resources in South Asia. The benefits from such cooperation will include: economies of scale, resolving trans-boundary trade issues, regional infrastructure and other cross-border issues, and management of shared natural resources. These benefits will enhance in the region due to its increasing economies, complementarities in agriculture production, geographical proximity, common insecurities of food, water and energy, and similar demographic characteristics. A regional cooperation will be more comprehensive, cost-effective and sustainable to the challenges of food, water and energy securities. A regional institutional framework will constrain countries in conflict to adhere to international law principles by providing transparent and mutually beneficial verdicts. Regional cooperation can be enhanced through the strengthening of institutions, strengthening role of CSOs and international agencies, and building more trust among respective countries.
SDIP holds partner organizations from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan to achieve its goals. The programme will undertake policy research, CSO mapping and outreach, media mapping and outreach, policy advocacy, and conduct policy dialogues. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), partner from Pakistan and specialist in policy advocacy will be analyzing policy implications on SDIP thematic areas: food, water and energy along with providing support and specialized local advice on other dimensions.
The first phase of programme is to expand networks throughout the region by linking itself with relevant strategic partners, conducting policy research on SDIP issues. During phase 2, the consortium will engage in policy advocacy and will disseminate information gathered in the first phase. The last phase will focus on high-level policy dialogues at local, sub-national, national and regional levels to influence change and enhance regional cooperation in South Asia.
Pakistan is a crucial partner in the programme due to its strong presence in one of the three river basins. Indus river originates from the Tibetan Plateau and empties into the Arabian Sea after flowing across northern India, Jammu and Kashmir and the entire length of Pakistan. 47% of the river falls in Pakistan, 39% in India (and Kashmir), 8% in China and 6% in Afghanistan. The Indus River System is the lifeline of Pakistan. The country depends on the Indus, especially for its agriculture, which is even today backbone of the economy.
Pakistan and India after numerous debates, conflicts and agreements signed the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) in 1960. The Treaty has been successful solution to the dispute referred to as “the most important water treaty in the world”. It has survived to stay intact for 50 years even though the two countries are agreeably known as hostile neighbours. Unfortunately, recent events have focused the Treaty. Researchers agree that the Treaty has gaps: there is no provision in the Treaty on how the parties should respond to climate change and its effects. It does not address the issue of water quality or industrial and agricultural pollution, deforestation and environmental flows in the eastern rivers allocated to India. Furthermore, the Treaty does provide information on watershed management, proper management of ground waters or examination of cumulative effects of projects such as the hydroelectric generation.
- To contribute to increased water, food, and energy security in South Asia to facilitate economic growth and improve livelihoods, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and girls.
- Field survey in Mianwali and Rahim Yar Khan districts.
- Key Informant Interviews conducted in Islamabad, Mianwali and Rahim Yar Khan.
- High Level Consultative Meeting held.
- Seed purchasing is done by landlord/big farmer of the area, and small farmers purchase it from them.
- Farmers in field are using low quality fertilizer.
- Survey findings also revealed imbalanced use of fertilizers across the basins, wherein urea and DAP were found as the most widely used form of fertilizers.
- Quite often female farmers face difficulty in getting loans sanctioned because, in most cases, land is in the name of male head of family. Interviews with farmers in Pakistan revealed that if land owner is a female, the bank will demand the pass book of the male representative to be on the safer side so that the loan can be easily recovered from her family.
- Unseasonal rainfall during the harvest season of wheat costs too much.
- Dr Vaqar Ahmed
- Muhammad Adnan
- Anam Anwar Khan
- Muhammad Sohaib
- Asif Javed
- Syed Shujaat Ahmed
- Deewan Fazal Bukhari