World Water Day 2016 - "Water and Jobs" Commemorated

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The World Water Day is observed annually on 22nd March all over the world on a specific theme with the objective to learn more about theme related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. The theme for the year 2016 was "Water and Jobs".

ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) in collaboration with other stakeholders viz., World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO, National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), and Riphah International University organized an Awareness Seminar on March 30, 2016 focusing on the theme 'Better Water Better Jobs' at PCRWR, Islamabad. Scientists, students and representatives of general public mainly farming community attended the seminar.

The seminar was conducted in two sessions; Inaugural and Technical. In the inaugural session, Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) Mr. Fazal Abbas Maken was the Chief Guest while, President ECOSF Dr. Manzoor Soomro,  Chairman PCRWR Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Vice Chancellor Ripha International University Dr. Anees,  ICARDA Country Manager for Pakistan Dr. Abdul Majeed and Chairman of Indus River System Authority (IRSA)  were among the dignitaries present.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Fazal Abbas Maken, Secretary MoST said that water is key element for socio-economic development of a country. "Today, almost half of the world's workers i.e., about 1.5 billion people work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs one way or the other depend on water and to ensure its safe delivery. He further added that the theme in 2016 is focusing on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers' lives and livelihoods, and even transform societies and economies". He also emphasized on the conservation of water from household to farm level.

President ECOSF Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro in his speech said that water as everybody knows is life and in arid zone it becomes more important. He informed the audience that the World Water Development Report 2016 has been published by the UN; which shows that out of over 3 billion workforce in the world, 78% jobs are water related and around 42% jobs are heavily dependent on water. He proposed that in collaboration with International Labour Organization (ILO) a study may be conducted by the PCRWR or a university which could bring out the near exact figures so that further need for capacity building in water sector could be derived and undertaken by the Government. He also mentioned about the recent collaboration developed by  ECOSF between PCRWR, UNSESCO/SASTIW/UNESCO Water Chair at the University of Tehran- Iran during the "International Water Summit" 2-3 March in Iran. Later on Dr. Soomro appreciated the ICARDA Country Manager for his efforts in arid areas of Pakistan and requested him for extending collaboration in other ECO countries as well.

Country Manager ICARDA, Dr. Abdul Majid said that it is good to involve the youth and specially the community people in the water activities. He said that Pakistan is lucky to have enough water resources but with passage of time it is going to become the water scarce country. therefore it is important to adopt the water management strategies.  He also highlighted the role of ICARDA in improving community based water services and provision of water related jobs. Earlier, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, PCRWR elaborated the importance of water in the light of Quran and Sunnah.

Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Riphah International University in his Keynote speech said that water issues were not only related to science, engineering, or economics; rather those were also founded on values, ethics, and the equal contributions of different cultures. "Our problems are indigenous, therefore the solutions cannot be imported", he further added.

Later on, in the technical session, Prof Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro President ECOSF spoke on "Role of Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) for awareness of children and water conservation".  Wherein he talked about the importance of IBSE at schools as the most important basis for development of nations and the science for sustainable development for all. He also emphasized that children are the future and their awareness on importance of water, its quality, quantity and management must be raised at all levels especially the schools using IBSE techniques. Dr. Rashid Aftab, Director, Riphah International University also gave a presentation on "Water as Blue Economy"; while Mr. Karamat Ali from Pakistan Water Partnership (PWP) delivered a presentation on "Water and Youth".

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