President Dr Arif Alvi Monday said that the digitalization of the economy was essential to empower women and bring other deprived segments into the mainstream. The President, addressing the plenary session of the 24th Sustainable Development Conference here, said the disbursement of the cash assistance to women under the Ehsaas Program directly to their bank accounts would make them more financially empowered.
He said the banks had also introduced schemes for women to make them establish their own businesses which would ultimately make them play a constructive role in society.
The President said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown the world multiple ways to do the things online and the nations making the decisions accordingly would excel.
He lauded the society’s support as well as the government’s prudent policy of smart lockdowns and data-driven decisions to support the poor and the economy which saved the people as well as the economy. He also spoke highly of the government’s mass vaccination drive which, he said, had helped create awareness amongst the masses about the importance of preventive care instead of curative one which was also costlier. He said Pakistan was the fourth largest country for the prevalence of diabetes which was also a preventable disease. President Alvi said the COVID pandemic also provided an opportunity to promote online learning which the nation could not adopt earlier despite availability of tools. The President said think tanks like the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the organizer of the conference, should identify new trends and exploit them in highlighting the strengths of the Pakistani nation, he specifically mentioned the hosting of millions of Afghan refugees by the country which the developed countries could not do and rather let them drown in the oceans. He also referred to Pope Francis’ recent statement during his visit to a refugee camp at Greek Island of Lesbos, in which he termed the neglect of refugees “shipwreck of civilization.” “Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum),” he said, Pope had said according to media reports. President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said Pakistan’s increasing vulnerability to climate change required urgent action on the management of water resources and for an improved system of its conservation at national and local levels.
Addressing an international conference in connection with Pakistan Water Week, the President said it was the responsibility of both the government and citizens to save water through resilient and sustainable solutions. The conference themed ‘Needs for sustainable water management in a climate crisis for the Indus Basin’ was organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology through the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and CGIAR’s Water, Land and Ecosystems Program.
The event brought together academics, government officials, and policy experts to discuss the serious threat of water scarcity in Pakistan by 2035 and to lay emphasis on the linkage between water and food security.
President Alvi said climate change was the key factor affecting the reliability of water resources across the globe and raising concerns about the future of water availability in countries including Pakistan. He emphasized the practices to reduce water consumption including drip irrigation instead of flood farming, water recycling, and reallocating water for more valuable uses.
course: Similarly, he said, Indus Water Basin and the country’s large aquifer needed attention for the formation of a regulatory framework for groundwater use. He said the melting of glaciers due to global warming could lead to incidences of severe droughts and extensive floods in Pakistan. He said some areas of Pakistan particularly Balochistan had already started facing increased water scarcity with a critical need for climate adaptation in the water sector. Dr Alvi said the government had made solid progress in achieving key principles defined under the National Water Policy and called for an integrated approach among provinces for its complete implementation. The President extended complete support of his office to the policies aimed at ensuring improved water governance and sustainable groundwater management. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz said water conservation and management was an issue of major concern for the government in view of the depletion of groundwater resources. He said managing the vast resources of the Himalayan glaciers and the country’s fourth-largest aquifer was a big challenge to restore the ecosystem for the benefit of the people. To improve water governance, he said, data sharing was important and stated that PCRWR and Capital Development Authority had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on artificial groundwater recharge, making Islamabad the first with such an arrangement.
Simi Kamal, member of the IWMI Board of Governors said IWMI was providing assistance to the government of Pakistan through data analytics for making choices about agricultural water management, develop water solutions and policy development. Director General IWMI Mark Smith said Pakistan was facing critical water challenges and expressed confidence that the event would catalyze dialogue on the urgency for water security in view of diminishing water resources. He suggested effective and coherent water governance from federal to community levels, guidance from data and digital information and experimenting diversity in water systems through nature-based solutions.