Peshawar - Upper Indus Basin Network-Pakistan Chapter (UIBNPC), a think tank of experts formed by International  Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD),

has laid stress on protection and conservation

of Indus Basis from the impacts of climate change and

global warming.

The call was made during first general meeting

of Pakistan Chapter of UIBN held to review progress

of Technical Working Groups and their future

plans of action, says a press release issued here on

Sunday.

“The trans-boundary Indus River basin, shared

by Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan is ranked

among the world’s most significant basins in term of

human dependency on its water resources and agriculture

livelihood, therefore special focus need to be

given to this natural resource from protecting it from

impacts of climate change and over exploitation due

to population bulge,” observed a gathering of over

100 experts during the meeting.

Muhammad Riaz, Director General of Pakistan Meteorological

Department and coordinator of UIBNPC,

welcomed the participants during his inaugural

speech. He elaborated how climate change is adversely

affecting the entire ecosystem.

Ghulam Rasul of ICIMOD informed that Upper Indus

Basin was cry sphere of Pakistan that could not

be isolated, and an integrated approach was required

to assess and combat the changing climate.

In his key note remarks, Khalid Mohtadullah, Chair

of UIBN said: “Indus Basin is home to nearly 215 million

people and has seven main rivers originating

from glaciers and snow filed in the Western Himalaya,

Karakoram and the Hindu Kush.”

“The river is source of 96 per cent of irrigation water

for over 16 million hectares of agriculture land,

providing water to around 36 million acres of land in

Pakistan. It also has potential to provide 60,000 MW

of hydropower to the energy insecure country,” he

went on to say.

Keeping in view of economic benefits from Upper

Indus Basin, it will be suitable to say that our country’s

economy is `water economy’, he remarked.

He suggested for collaboration among beneficiary

countries for launching a concerted effort to understand

and share the ongoing changes in the UIB

and provide viable adaptation or mitigation solutions.

Federal Flood Commission Chairman Ahmad Kamal

said his department was engage with World Bank

over evaluating losses to Indus Basin due to stresses

on resources from changing demographics and climatic

conditions. He further requested the forum to

provide recommendations to all relevant ministries

which would help in devising implementation frame

works for different national policies.

Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Office Shozab

Abbas Director General linked water scarcity with

mismanagement of water resources in Pakistan.

He hoped that UIBN-PC could steer the scientific research

and solutions to changing climate.

Experts in UIBN-PC after holding threadbare discussion

also shared suggestions, including awareness

of communities, sharing of information on media especially

social media, awareness of policy makers

about threats to Indus Basin, increasing research

work of scholars on hydrology, glaciers and agriculture

etc.

Muhammad Mudassar Maqsood of ICIMOD summarised

the proceedings and emphasised that the

future action plans of UIBN-PC must be integrated

national policies so that each member organisation

might help the government in implementation of national

policies in true sense.

The second day of meeting focused on theory of

change of UIBN-PC which actually taught the participants

on “how to achieve the objectives of UIBN-PC”.

The session was presided over by Atta Ullah Shah of

Karakorum International University. While Farid Ahmad

of ICIMOD presented the theory of change which

latter on was incorporated by the technical working

groups in their future action plans.