Experts term water crisis & population growth as a threat to development


While addressing the two-day 1st international conference on “Non-traditional Security Paradigm in Pakistan: Options and Challenges” organized by Sindh University, the speakers termed water crisis, climate change, poor economic status of Pakistan and population growth a huge threat to development and progress.

They said that water & rivers should be regarded as a public good that impacts the livelihood of people and it should not be securitized or over-securitized. Dean faculty of social sciences Prof. Dr. Zareen Abbasi said that the challenge was how to adjust doctrines, concepts and force structures to a changing environment.

“Our greatest vulnerability today is trans-national, sub-conventional threats and recurring natural disasters which usually require multinational cooperation to manage”, she added.

She further said that the current global security agenda, which affected several countries of the region simultaneously, also demanded a collaborative approach. “There is therefore, a need to explore and develop ways and means to cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally in various areas, including intelligence and information sharing, capacity building, training programmes, consequence management, sharing experience on legal aspects and even developing an institutionalized mechanism on regional basis for dealing with non-traditional security threats,” she maintained.

Talking on climate change, the coordinator of the conference Dr. Imran Sandano said that climate change was among the most serious security threats faced by Pakistan that had potential to completely collapse the country.

He said that Pakistan was the 7th most vulnerable country to climate change, although it stood at 135 among the countries contributing to global carbon emission. As such, he said, climate change acted as a major non-traditional security threat to Pakistan.

He ranked the water crisis as the second serious non-traditional security threat Pakistan is confronting. “Pakistan is an agrarian country and its economy and livelihood of many people mostly depends on agriculture. It contributes 18.5 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs 38.5 percent people to the national labour force and is total 70 per cent of the export”, he said.

Another scholar Dr. Ravichandran Moorthy from Malaysia said that sources had been repeatedly exploited for economic ends, usually through sustainable means, resulting in significant damage to the River basin’s overall natural capital.

Based on field research conducted in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, he said, the presentation investigated the issues of water security and environmental issues and their relevance to Pakistan.  Dr Moorthy recommended that water negotiation should be between water agencies with technical experts of Pakistan and India in order to resolve the issue peacefully.

He said that the political and the military interventions must be kept at bay during the negotiations of water agencies by embracing international environmental and conflict management standards and international norms in inter-state water dialogue.

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