Islamabad, February 26: “Obsolete and outdated approaches towards water management are still in practice inPakistan. Sub sectors of water such as flood management, ground water resources management andcatchment management are working in silos without incorporating modern technologies and communityparticipation”. These remarks were given by Dr. Shahbaz Khan, Chief Water and Sustainable DevelopmentSection – UNESCO, during the International Conference on “Floods 2010: A Dialogue to TransformDevastation to Opportunity”, held in Islamabad at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST).
Leading resource persons from academic institutions, relief organizations, and national andinternational water management institutions presented technical papers exploring different aspects such asGIS technologies for flood and disaster management, mapping challenges in Disaster Management and land use control measures.
Dr. Shahbaz Khan presented his paper on “Enhancing Social Resiliencethrough participatory integrated flood and drought management in Pakistan”. The paper covered global practices on institutional coordination leading “Integrated Water Resource Management” by using modern technologies and community empowerment and such experiences can help Pakistan in managing itsrecurring floods and droughts. Dr. Khan emphasized that the tremendous potential of Indus aquifers storagein low lying desert areas during floods and water recovery during floods needs to be realized to turn flooddisasters into water security during very dry years.
The international conference is part of a comprehensive strategy UNESCO has formulated in partnership with Pakistan to help the country develop and manage its responses to flood and drought, and to rationally account potential impacts of land-use, population, climate change and other factors on water resources. The plan covers four key areas: flood hazard forecasting and management; mapping and assessment of geo-hazards such as glacier melts and landslides; mapping, development and protection of ground water resources for safe use in emergency situations; and education including technical training and awareness raising for communities and decision makers.
UNESCO assists Member States with water issues through its International Hydrological Programme,devoted to water research, water resources management, education and capacity building.