Archive for the ‘ Water ’ Category

Aid that matters and Aid that has no meaning…

Possible set of emotions and psychological struggle that are caused by an abortion are; regret, anger, insomnia, guilty feelings, shame, isolation, impaired self-confidence, suicidal thoughts, depression, eating disorders, anxiety. When a foreign policy fails, and a drone strategy only infuriates the masses, the natural symptoms of a country suffering from the complexities of a supposed war gone wrong would only go through what a woman may face post-abortion. Then, would ‘Billions in Aid, with No Accountability’ matter when almost over a hundred-and-fifty children have been killed due to drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt since June 14, 2004? And when a country that spends billions on another country still battles between ‘Aid that matters and Aid that has no meaning’.

How Many Dead Children for Profit?

When the Pakistani population fail to see the effects of the aid given – the drone strategy will naturally create hatred and desire for revenge. In Pakistan’s case, the impact is strategically displayed very successfully through Anti-US rallies. But how does any of that justify the killing of a 7 year-old Syed Wali Shah.

So as these strikes have increased to more than two-hundred since the Obama Administration, occurring at a frequency of one every four days – the thought of loss, anger and suffering caused on the ground is a constant reminder of a lost future for FATA’s innocence. Five children and five women were killed in a village of Spinwam in North Waziristan this April. Now, imagine the intensity of monstrous emotions being created as a result of these strikes. Despite enormous funding to the Pakistani elites for protecting US interests, the question then boils down to; does the US truly understands its ally? Vice versa would be, does Pakistan really thinks its an ally beyond the US war in Afghanistan? May 02, 2011 left many questions unanswered and brought a lot of clarity on the state of relationship between the two countries.

Prof. Anatol Lieven, a Senior Research Fellow with the New America Foundation and a Professor at the Department of War Studies in King’s College London explains in his interview to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism that the drone strategy of taking down the Taliban Commanders has had no noticeable effect than US believes it has.

So as the United States ruled out any unilateral action against militant safe havens in Pakistan, a high-level delegation including the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus and General Martin E Dempsey, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet Pakistan’s political leadership, Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha in Islamabad discuss a way forward to end the war in Afghanistan.

All this *RHETORIC*, yet the tribal journalists continue to suffer and remain disconnected with the rest of the country.

Mishal Pakistan and Tribal Union of Journalists to Highlight the Social Face of FATA through the AGAHI Initiative

FATA has significant development needs;

  • Per capita income in the region is just $250 per year
  • 60 percent of FATA’s 4-5 million residents live below the poverty line
  • Female literacy in the FATA is 3 percent
  • Widespread Unemployment
  • Weak rule of law
  • Difficult terrain limits access to markets, health services, industrial activities

AGAHI in collaboration with the Tribal Union of Journalists aims to identify and build the capacity of the journalists on social issues and economic opportunities encouraging diversity and pluralism of the Media in FATA and FR.

And with these facts in place effective assistance to Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas still remains a challenge for DC, let alone the drone strategy.

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Water Matters

Population Growth: Economy, Agriculture and Energy

According to the Water Security Risk Index, released by Maplecroft[1], Pakistan has the least secure supplies of water and is in the extreme risk category.

The world’s sixth most and second most populous Muslim country; Pakistan’s population is projected to swell up to over 330 million in year 2050, as indicated by the population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat[2].

Today, as the country faces unprecedented security threats, dwindling economy, natural hazards and political instability; many analysts still believe that the country has promising market opportunities in future. The availability of water will become a much higher priority in business decisions and investment endeavors.

One of the country’s most urgent challenges is how to manage the nation’s precious water resources to meet growing human, economic, and environmental needs. Pakistan remains in the high-risk category with respect to water availability. The availability of clean water has dropped from 1950s: 5,000 cubic meters to less than 1,500 cubic meters per person today[3], primarily due to the rapid growth in population. And yet we remain dependent on only three hydrological units, two of which are rapidly silting from the Himalayas[4].

As the population increases the pressure on the existing water resources will intensify. The shift will have an adverse impact on employment, economic development, healthcare systems, food security, urban management, chronic diseases, biodiversity, communal and social harmony etc etc.

The existing water and sanitation infrastructure in the cities is inadequate to cope with the increasing urbanization, which is putting a majority of the population at risk and causing serious damage to the environment. Water-related disasters such as floods, tropical storms, and heavy rainfalls only add toll to the human suffering.

Pakistan has already been through two of the gravest natural hazards this year so far; the Attabad crisis and the recent floods. Causes: Glacial melt and for the latter the debate is still among the monsoon patterns, heavy rainfall, climate change, dams and deforestation. Which ever case it is, as of now 20 million people are homeless, lives have been lost, as desperation and hunger persists.

It has been estimated by resource experts that continued growth in population will reduce per-capita freshwater availability by 70 per cent by 2070 and Pakistan will be a water scarce society[5]. The increase in demand for water will adversely affect the groundwater resources, as over 70 percent of it is allocated already to Pakistan’s irrigation and other agricultural needs; one million tubewells across the country are satisfying short-term needs but leading to unsustainable use of groundwater and declining water levels. This cannot continue.

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has recently recommended to the Government of Pakistan to create Water Regulatory Authority, which will consist of representatives from the federal and provincial governments. The purpose of the authority is to regulate optimum water use and balance in different basins under enabling legislation[6].

According to studies conducted on Water Management, Pakistan also loses almost two-thirds of its supply to leaks and poor transmission in its canal system due to poor infrastructure and the inefficient water management.

Pakistan already has one of the highest child mortality rates in Asia[7]; an estimated 250,000 deaths occur each year due to water-borne diseases[8]. According to the national water report, less than one in four rural households is connected to a tap; many others simply rely on inferior sources.

Inter-provincial conflicts over water also complicate water management: the construction of large dams or other infrastructure is slow and costly and can take up to 10 years; many fear that new needed dams will not be built quickly enough to reduce water problems anytime soon.

In an online interview, President, Pacific Institute and Member US Academy of Sciences, Dr. Peter H. Gleick also the author of ‘bottled and sold’ narrows down Pakistan’s precarious water situation, to few basic solutions, according to Dr. Gleick there is a need for building appropriate water-infrastructure, while also protecting downstream usage and rights on sharing. He says the relevant political institutions have a crucial role to play in effectively managing the possible internal conflicts arising out of water-sharing; but most of all, he says to eradicate the imbalance from within the society authorities will need to focus on providing people access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation.

According to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon “As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. This is not an issue of rich or poor, north or south. All regions are experiencing the problem of water stress. There is still enough water for all of us – but only so long as we keep it clean use it more wisely and share it fairly. Governments must engage and lead, ant he private sector also has a role to play in this effort”

In contrast to the technical approach; the Government of Pakistan will need to bring a more focused media attention in addressing and covering matters related to attaining the required benchmark for water conservation and management. An effort that engages media, public-private sector, academia and the non-governmental organizations focused on raising awareness within Pakistani society of water’s value and the need to place a price on its usage.  Pakistan’s public sectors respond to everyday water needs of average citizens in urban, peri-urban and rural settings, whether for drinking, irrigation, industrial, religious, or other use.  This platform along with a variety of interventions will build a national dialogue on water enabling multiple stakeholders in effectively creating content most relevant to the Pakistani society.

One of Pakistan’s targets in achieving millennium development goals is to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015. However, it is believed that Pakistan is far from achieving this target. The members of the United Nations are meeting this month in New York to discuss the progress on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the 65th UN Summit.

 

(First appeared on the back-page of Finance and Review section of The News.)

Water Facts

scarcity By 2025, it is expected that 3.4 billion people will be living in countries defined as water-scarce food It takes about 3,000 litres of water to produce our daily food ration, about 1,000 times what we need for drinking purposes

environment Water-related disasters such as tsunamis, floods and droughts are the second most frequent and devastating natural disasters after windstorms disaster prevention Between 1991 and 2000,over 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters, of which 90 per cent were water-related events

energy Hydropower supplies at least 50 per cent of electricity production in 66 countries, and 19 per cent in 24 countries. Worldwide, small hydropower development is expected to grow by a further 60 per cent by 2010

transboundarywaterissues One hundred and forty-five nations have territory within a transboundary basin, and 21 lie entirely within one. In the last half century, approximately 200 treaties have been signed concerning transboundary water basins

culture In nearly all the world’s major religions, water is attributed important symbolic and ceremonial properties

sanitation One dollar invested in water supply and sanitation can provide an economic return of up to 34 times, depending on the region

pollution In developing countries, more than 90 per cent of sewage and 70 per cent of industrial wastewater is dumped untreated into surface water

agriculture Irrigation increases yields of most crops by 100 to 400 per cent. Over the next 30 years, 70 per cent of gains in cereal production will come from irrigated land.

Clean Water, Sanitation Basic Human Right


Almost 900 people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation.

Studies have indicated that about 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year and 443 million school days are lost because of water- and sanitation-related diseases.

According to General Assembly’s declaration, safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a fundamental human right.

The Assembly resolution received 122 votes in favour and zero votes against, while 41 countries abstained from voting.

The representative of Pakistan voted in favour of the resolution to help ensure access to clean water and good sanitation for all people, emphasizing that the situation of developing countries should be taken into account in implementation.

The United Nations called on its Member States and international organizations to offer funding, technology and other resources to help poorer countries scale up their efforts to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for everyone.

Among the series of targets set within the Millennium Development Goals; halving the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water and halving the number who do not have basic sanitation is also included as one of the prime targets to be achieved by 2015. Measure to be taken;

  • guarantee the right to water;
  • decentralise the responsibility for water;
  • develop know-how at the local level;
  • increase and improve financing;
  • evaluate and monitor water resources.

The representative of Pakistan voted in favour of the resolution to help ensure access to clean water and good sanitation for all people, emphasizing that the situation of developing countries should be taken into account in implementation.

Meanwhile, floods along with the lack of sewage and proper evacuation of grey water in Pakistan have always remained one of the major threats to the environment and health.

Vote on Human Right to Water

The draft resolution on the human right to water and sanitation (document A/64/L.63/REV.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to none against, with 41 abstentions, as follows:

[http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/ga10967.doc.htm]

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Greece, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Zambia.

Absent:  Albania, Belize, Cameroon, Chad, Fiji, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan.

Global Water Footprint Map

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