KATHMANDU: Relevant stakeholders have suggested that the world make water security a common agenda to achieve sustainable development, build climate productivity and strengthen opportunities for livelihood.
They also suggested that the issue of water security be upheld as a common agenda in multilateral discussion forums that focus on the transformative future for water security regarding the challenges seen in the water sector in terms of climate change, rural-urban transformation, and socio-economic context in Nepal.
The multilateral discussion was organized under the leadership of the International Water Management Institution (IWMI), which has taken an initiative ‘Transformative Future for Water Security’ to strengthen the response against the challenges seen in the water sector in Nepal.
Climate change, food production, energy production, and economic development were discussed in the multilateral discussion, where diverse stakeholders emphasized on collective efforts for science-based solutions that are necessary to end the water insecurity situation. It was organized with the support of the government’s Department of Water Resources and Irrigation, EC-Model, UNESCO Nepal, Water Resources Research and Development Centre, Wind Power Nepal, WaterAid Nepal, and the Youth Alliance for Environment (YAE).
Dr Mark Smith, director general of IWMI said to make the ‘Transformative Future for Water Security’ initiative successful, there should be joint efforts among youth, policymakers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, the community, investors, etc.
“The challenge of water security in Nepal has increased, and for this, the government, private sector, international partners, and research organizations should form a common agenda and take initiatives,” said Tikaram Baral, Deputy Director General of the Department of Water Resources and Irrigation. Kushal Gurung, Chief Executive Officer of Wind Power Nepal agreed with the view of Baral and said that the private sector is also ready to invest in and conduct research for water security.
In the discussion, the stakeholders stressed the need to: take the issue of water security to the grassroots level so that the people understand it; create integrated data; conduct a media campaign; coordinate and collaborate among all agencies and emphasize studies and research. Similarly, the stakeholders also emphasized on increasing the participation of the private sector; building a common understanding among stakeholders along with capacity building, among others.
Policy and governance, knowledge and innovation, finance and investment, water security practices and capacity building, and intergenerational equality were also discussed at the forum.
According to Dr Manohara Khadka, the country representative of IWMI, Nepal will raise its voice for water security at the upcoming World Conference and UN Water Conference in 2023 in line with the conclusion drawn at the program.
An integrated and sustainable programme for water security: Dr Lohani
Dr. Bindu Lohani, former Vice President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), speaking as a special speaker in the discussion, suggested that business be promoted in an innovative way and investments be increased, and the government as well as private sector increase innovation and research.
Lohani also suggested that the government prioritize integrating, and sustaining its relationships with water supply, climate change, energy, and food production; promote integrated water management; emphasize water management to address increasing urbanization; move water management from a linear to a circular economy to make the best use of information technology in the water sector.
“From increasing access to water for urban, economic, and environmental water security, the government should deliver the commitments it has made in the national and international arenas to advance water security, emphasizing climate change-friendly water management,” said Lohani.