United Nations has been informed by Pakistan that inclusive sustainable development would not be possible without transborder water management and cooperation.
Malik Amin Aslam, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change reminded a UN General Assembly session on the water this week that Islamabad was a signatory to the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between Pakistan and India. “And as a signatory, we believe in transboundary water cooperation as a pillar for sustainable water management,” he added.
For the two days IWT meeting, a Pakistani delegation leaves for New Delhi on Monday. The previous session was held two years ago in Lahore. Pakistan is expected to present its objections to India’s contentious water projects on the Chenab River.
Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram at the UN session pointed out that 40 percent of the world’s population lives within shared river basins, like India and Pakistan.
“Cooperation at all levels is required for a holistic, systemic, and multilateral response to confront and overcome the water challenge. The focus of our efforts should be to fully implement this fundamental right (to water) for all the world’s people.”He said.
The Pakistani envoy warned that without effective transboundary water cooperation, “inclusive sustainable development is severely curtailed, and the potential for threats to peace and security is ever-present.”
The Climate Diplomacy, an organization devoted to protecting the environment, presented a report on water conflict and cooperation between India and Pakistan and warned that water disputes between India and Pakistan were deepening.
It noted that for almost 60 years the IWT survived diplomatic tensions, but recent upstream water infrastructure projects had rekindled conflicts.
The Kashmir conflict, the report added, “threatens to undermine the treaty”. The worsening effects of climate change on the Himalayan glaciers could increase the likelihood of disasters and threaten the long-term water security of communities, it added.
“These factors also have implications for future interstate cooperation and regional developments.”The report warned.