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UNESCO-SAWCRI Training Workshop on “Collective Community Actions for Eco-Watershed Mitigation to Flood and Drought”, Islamabad, May 1-2, 2018

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Soil & Water Conservation Research Institute (SAWCRI) Chakwal jointly organized a training workshop on “Collective Community Actions for Eco-Watershed Mitigation to Flood and Drought” in collaboration with International Centre for Water Hazard Risk Management (ICHARM), Japan on 1st & 2nd May 2018.

At the opening session of the workshop, H.E. Mr. Takashi Kuai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Pakistan commended UNESCO’s role in strengthening flood early warning capacity of Pakistan, and also appreciated technical advancement made by all the partner agencies. In his remarks, he said water related disasters cover about 80% of the total disasters and Japan is one of the countries which frequently suffer from such disasters – and then Japan share the experience learned on how to mitigate with these disasters with other countries – including Pakistan.

Dr. Shahbaz Khan, Director, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in his welcome remarks thanked the Japanese Ambassador and Government of Japan for extending generous financial and technical support for the Project. He mentioned that UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program (IHP) is one of the largest intergovernmental program in the world, which has more than 160 countries as part of IHP. Before this project started, there were lots of technical gaps in the flood early warning system in upper Indus catchment and as well as there were not many trained professionals for GIS/RS based flood modeling, he added.

Dr. Abid Mehmood, Director General (Research), Punjab Agriculture Department, expressed gratitude to UNESCO, and in particular to Dr. Shahbaz Khan for building capacity of SAWCRI in the fields of watershed management and eco-hydrology. He said that watershed management technique being used by SAWCRI to save the water from origin, hence reducing the runoff, will have manifold benefits, not only in DRR but also to get good yield from harvests.

Mr. Yasuhiro TOJO, Chief Representative of JICA said that climate change is recognized as one of the most serious challenge being faced by humans. According to Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is one of the ten countries most affected by extreme weather events during 1995-2014.

Speaking at this occasion, Mr. Ahmad Kamal, Chairman Federal Flood Commission, recalled the mission of experts from UNESCO in the aftermath of 2010 flood, and signing of the project between UNESCO and Government of Pakistan afterwards – he stated that now we are harvesting fruits of this 7 years long project, and commended efforts of UNESCO to strengthen the flood management system of Pakistan.

Dr. Yusuf Zafar, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) much admired the efforts of SAWCRI and UNESCO, and showed faith in Pakistani professionals to do wonders in the watershed management and agriculture disciplines. He hoped that the project will contribute to foster floods and droughts management capacities of the country.

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