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Participants discuss the chapter’s strategic roadmap, greater integration into national frameworks, and adoption of gender-inclusive approach.
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The first Upper Indus Basin Network – Pakistan Chapter (UIBN–PC) meeting was held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 30–31 January 2020, preceded by the consultation meeting on the UIBN’s gender resource group on 29 January.
The gender resource group invited women professionals from over 25 government and civil society organizations to discuss ways of integrating gender perspectives into the UIBN’s and the larger Indus network’s policies and processes. During the UIBN–PC meeting, the gender resource group’s members were integrated into the technical working groups (TWGs) to focus on the cryosphere, air pollution, surface and groundwater hydrology, and hazard management.
The UIBN–PC meeting brought together over 100 researchers, scientists, and government officials to discuss climate change impacts on water resources in Pakistan and the entire Upper Indus basin. In addition, a theory of change for the country chapter was deliberated on to create a strategic roadmap for the chapter.
The participants discussed possibilities of the UIBN–PC serving as a think tank for the government to advise on issues of climate change, water management, and disaster risk reduction. The recognition and encouragement of such a network by the government officials present at the meeting was one of the key highlights of the meeting. Ahmad Kamal, Chairman of the Federal Flood Commission (FFC), voiced the possibility of integrating the UIBN–PC in the national water policy implementation framework, and also for the country chapter to act as an advisory forum for the FFC on issues related to water and disaster management. In agreement with this viewpoint, Shozab Abbas, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that the UIBN’s expertise and knowledge has great potential to steer Pakistan out of water crisis. In addition, the UIBN Strategic Committee discussed the network’s sustainability and suggested exploring avenues for housing the UIBN–PC in the ministry or an institutional partner to invite stronger ownership from key government stakeholders.
Wrapping up the event, the participants emphasized their commitment to collective action against climate change threats and towards the enhancement of joint scientific knowledge. They also agreed that the establishment of the gender resource group has created space for discussion and implementation of gender-inclusive research and has expanded the scope of experience and knowledge sharing among women practitioners, planners, and decision makers even outside of the UIBN’s sphere.
The meeting attracted the attention of Pakistan’s mainstream media, with over five national newspapers covering the meeting and its importance, including the following:
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