ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has one of the world’s largest canal systems and more than 80 per cent of its agriculture output depends on water provided by rivers, said Federal Minister for Education and Trainings Sheikh Waqqas Akram in his inaugural speech at a workshop-cum-training programme on “Irrigation System and Water Management”,which has been organised by the National Centre for Rural Development (NCRD) in collaboration with African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) from November 14-23, 2012.

The minister said that our irrigation system mainly consists of three multi-purpose large dams namely Warsak, Mangla and Tarbela, five barrages and elaborate canal network. However Pakistan is facing water shortage due to growing and expanding agriculture sector. New and innovative methods are being adopted to maximise effective use of existing water resources.

The minister also highlighted the performance of the Ministry of Education and Trainings (MET), saying that 11 training institutions have been made part of this Ministry and these institutions are engaged in imparting training to stakeholders from across Pakistan in various fields. The ministry has now started a coordinated effort in order to empowering millions of young boys and girls all over the country with a view to equip them with necessary technical know-how that should help them earn livelihoods. 

The minister hoped that the participants of the NCRD-AARDO collaborative workshop will formulate useful recommendations in the light of best practices adopted by AARDO’s member countries to meet water challenges in order to improve irrigation and water related problems in our region.

Welcoming the delegates of the African-Asian Countries the Director General, NCRD, Brig (r) Amanullah highlighted the performance and training contribution of the Centre and briefed about the role of AARDO in combating poverty in the country through training programmes.

Director General thanked the foreign delegates from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria and Sudan. He also thanked the heads of foreign missions based in Islamabad who participated in the inaugural session.

The Secretary General, AARDO, Eng Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin informed about the working of AARDO, saying that AARDO is an international inter-government non-political organization established in 1962 for promoting regional cooperation in various aspects of rural development in Asia and Africa with its headquarters in New Delhi.

The charter of the organization is to promote understanding amongst the member countries in Africa and Asia and formulating strategies and projects for promoting the rural development process. AARDO works in collaboration with international and regional organisations including UN and its specialized agencies to achieve its objectives. AARDO has a total membership of 29 countries and one associate member. It works with member countries through contact ministries and link institutions. In Pakistan, Ministry of Education and Trainings is the contact ministry and NCRD is the link institution. NCRD has been collaborating with AARDO since 1994.

NCRD is an attached department of Ministry of Education and Trainings. It was established in 1979 and has trained over 20,000 persons from across Pakistan so far. It also organises collaborative international training programmes with three international organizations.

At the end of inaugural session, an agreement was signed between Government of Pakistan and AARDO for the establishment of AARDO’s regional office in NCRD Islamabad. Sheikh Waqqas Akram.

AARDO works through regional offices established in member countries. It has 3 regional offices in Africa and 2 in Asia, the sixth one will now be established in NCRD.