Australian high commissioner offers expertise to Pakistan in water sector

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KARACHI: Australian High Commission’s Acting Deputy High Commissioner Dave Preston has urged Pakistan’s vibrant private sector to explore collaboration with the Australian companies that have expertise in the water sector.

He expressed these views at a seminar, oraganised by the Australian government and The Asia Foundation in collaboration with the HISSAR Foundation, titled “Nexus Matters – Institutionalising the Water-Energy-Food Narrative in Sindh Province”.

The event was attended by civil society partners, policymakers, academia, and media representatives to stress on the nexus thinking as a way forward for socioeconomic and sustainable development in Pakistan.

Preston said that as many as 1000 Australian companies are operating in Pakistan, with expertise and technologies that can help Pakistan tackle challenges such as improving water supply for cities, water harvesting and recycling, and ensuring efficient agricultural water management and distribution.

Water Environment Forum Pakistan Chairman Nisar Memon in his keynote address emphasised for better understanding and coordination among the institutions.

For institutionalising the water-energy-food (WEF) narrative in Sindh province, the panel discussion identified the priority areas for engaging relevant stakeholders around the nexus narrative in Sindh.

Sindh government’s Planning and Development Department Chief Economist and Project Coordinator Dr Fateh Marri spoke about Sindh’s readiness on meeting the nexus sectors and how the provincial government departments can effectively collaborate to find solutions and the need for applied research to achieve these.

Environmental journalist Afia Salam stressed on the role of media in promoting WEF and that media has to ensure that a well-researched narrative is promoted.

Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Mahmood Nawaz expressed that the small-scale farmers have to be empowered with an understanding of the WEF nexus and the farmer organisations have to be revolutionised in order to achieve that.

Engro Foundation Director Fawad Soomro highlighted the potential of the private sector in finding solutions through unique and innovative products and through increasing market access and investment in the critical sectors of water, energy, and food.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Country Representative Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said that for the adoption of the WEF approach in Pakistan, the global best practices have to be adapted to the local context which requires investment in WEF research and development capacity of our universities.

 

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