The first day of the two-day Fourth Karachi International Water Conference aiming to bring together thought leaders, actors and players of the water sector that are working on Water-Energy-Food Nexus took place here today.Major global, regional and national organizations and their representatives, researchers, professionals, decision-makers, business innovators, practitioners, experts, women’s groups, youth groups and leaders on WEF Nexus exchanged ideas on fostering new thinking, developing innovative solutions and work on the water agenda for the 21st century.
Day 1 opened with Ashraf Kapadia, Chairperson Hisaar Foundation who welcomed the guests and gave a short introduction of Hisaar Foundation – a Foundation for Water, Food and Livelihood Security. Next Simi Kamal, the Founder of Hisaar Foundation spoke on the purpose of the conference, linking it to the global discourse on Water-Energy-Food Nexus and the centrality of water in the nexus. Ghias Khan, head of ENGRO Corporation spoke of access to clean water. He mentioned that as responsible corporates, we must monitor, measure and analyze our water usage to uncover opportunities to enhance our water management. He urged the public and private sectors to work together to bring positive change for the future.
In his Keynote address Dr Roberto Lenton, Daugherty Distinguished Fellow, provided his perspective on the challenges of the 21st century and the water-food-energy nexus, during which he highlighted the Sustainable Development Goals as the framework for articulating the challenges, examining the inter-relationships among water, food and energy security. He discussed the value of considering these three key challenges jointly rather than separately, and provided a few examples of these inter-relationships in specific contexts.
His Excellency President of Pakistan, DrArifAlvi, highlighted that he has selected water as one of his main areas of focus and keenly supports initiatives aimed at providing short and long term solutions to Pakistan’s water problems. He spoke of the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative and other dedicated efforts for water management, agriculture efficiency and use of renewable sources for power generation.The exhibition of the conference was also opened by the President.
Session 2A ‘Valuing Water – Harnessing Energy and Food Production’ focused on understanding and localizing the WEF Nexus. Session 2B ‘Leaving No One behind – Café of the Unheard’provided a platform for the audience to directly engage with the experts present on a range of subjects. Session 3A ‘Water Governance and security – Saving Urban Water from Urban Decay’ explored governance and politics of urban water and identified the way forward for the city of Karachi. Session 3B ‘The Indus and Murray Darling – A shared experience of reform’ identified Australian sustainability initiatives of relevance for Pakistan’s consideration. Session 4A ‘Water Infrastructure and Investments – Who gives a Dam’ explored the place of large and small water infrastructures in the context of WEF Nexus. Session 4B ‘Does the Nexus actually work? Women’s perspective’s sought to ascertain if the WEF Nexus resonates with Pakistani women.
The session ended successfully with the attendees hopeful that the water problems of the country could be addressed in a more positive and innovative way in the near future.