ICIMOD Staff Participates in Workshop on Water Security in South Asia at Harvard University and Speaks at Water for Food Global Conference

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Dr Aditi Mukherji, Water and Air Thematic Area Lead, attended a workshop on ‘Water Security in South Asia’ jointly organized by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, Hawaii; and the Near-East and South Asia (NESA) Centre in Washington, DC from 29 April to 3 May 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Participants in this workshop included senior diplomats, bureaucrats, national-level politicians, and renowned water scientists. There were about 35 participants drawn from 10 countries, and all eight of ICIMOD’s member countries were represented. Participants in this five-day workshop discussed various aspects of water security in South Asia and underlined the importance of cooperation around water issues. Tariq Karim, Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to India, shared ongoing discussions among Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India about the Brahmaputra and emphasized the need to shift focus from narrowly defined ‘water sharing’ to broadly defined ‘benefit sharing’. Prof. John Briscoe of Harvard University underlined the need for pragmatic and implementable solutions and cited Bhutan’s hydropower generation as a success story. Chris Holmes, Chief Water Advisor of USAID, talked about the need for better information sharing among countries and gave the example of the SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative of ICIMOD as a successful example of information gathering and sharing. 

Dr Mukherji was also invited on a panel titled ‘Research in Action’ at Water for Food Global Conference, organized by Robert B Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska in the USA. This panel was moderated by Jeff Raikes, the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Discussions veered around the challenges of using research outputs to influence policy. Panelists from India, South Africa, and Brazil shared their insights.