Ministry of Water Resources11-April, 2013 14:08 IST
Harish Rawat Stresses Upon Sound Land and Water Resources Management for Survival of 1.6 Billion of the South Asia Population Through “Integrated Water Resources Management” (Iwrm)”.

Says Empowerment and Support to Women in the Water Sector is of Paramount Importance

Union Water Resources Minister Shri Harish Rawat has stressed upon working towards sound land and water resources management for survival of 1.6 billion of the South Asia population through “Integrated Water Resources Management” (IWRM)”. Shri Rawat was chairing a seminar on “Different Capacities, Different Roles – Empowering South Asian Women for Climate Change Adaptation” organised during the current course of 2nd India Water Week here in New Delhi today. He said for this empowerment and support to women in the water sector is of paramount importance.

The Minister congratulated the Global Water Partnership (GWP) - South Asia, India Water Partnership and WAPCOS Ltd. to take-up this important subject during India Water Week-2013. This clearly indicates the global recognition of women, who, as highlighted in the Dublin and Rio principles playa central role in provision, management and safeguarding of the precious water resources. The inclusion of women as a strong effective positive force in water management is supportedby the principles of equity and social justice, has also been emphasised in our National Water Policy of 2012 regarding use and allocation of water, Shri Rawat opined.

He said over the decades, we have seen increasing industrialization, urbanization and rapid demographic changes has put tremendous pressure on per capita water availability. South Asian Region, a Region which faces some of the highest global population pressures, having 23.5% of the world population, also suffers from the highest water stress levels.

Also, this has resulted in unprecedented stress on South Asia’s natural resources and eco-systems, causing sustained degradation of forests, soils, wetlands, rivers and aquifers. Climate change adds another level of risk, which may bring the prospect of more extreme and unpredictable floods and droughts to those parts of the region, that are already struggling to cope with the climate uncertainties. Much misery is caused to families and communities due to water stress, and it is important that we have a special focus on empowerment, especially for the women who carry the greater part of the burden, the minister added.

It is widely recognized that the South Asia region is expected to suffer more from the devastating effect of climate change. In this scenario, the women in particular are going to be most affected. We also realise the impact of this stress on family and children’s well being. Any change in seasons and climatic conditions affects water quantity, quality and its accessibility. In turn, this further increases the women’s workload. Therefore empowerment and support to women in the water sector is of paramount importance.

Shri Rawat said in South Asia, inasmuch we share a common problem, we can work collectively towards a common solution. Hence there is need to work towards sound land and water resources management for survival of 1.6 billion of the South Asia population through “Integrated Water Resources Management” (IWRM)”.

Shri Rawat referred to the National Water Policy 2012, raising consciousness and capacity building requires that all stakeholders should be well informed and aware of the issues as well as the workable solutions. Building awareness is the first critical step towards a solution. He said for this we need to enhance our knowledge base on the subject.

The Minister noted that Global Water Partnership (GWP), an organization having 13 Regional Water Partnerships, 80 Country Water Partnerships and more than 2500 partner organizations in 161 countries of the World, is supporting India Water Week as a “Knowledge Partner”,putting due emphasis on collaborative work with all partners, especially the women. He also complimented the Global Water Partnership for their important role and noble endeavour inknowledge enrichment of the stakeholders.

He said it is also a matter of great opportunity for the Ministry of Water Resources that GWP-South Asia, India Water Partnership and WAPCOS Ltd. have invited water experts, academicians, researchers andcivil societiesto share their experiences and solutions, on how South Asian women can organize themselves to build resilience, adapt to climate change and support national and community efforts.

Shri Rawat further said that treating women as partners, not passive recipients of aid is a beginning. The idea is to empower women to work together with men on decision making and planning processes atcommunity, local, national and international level. I also feel that there is no single size that fits all solution. Countries and communities will need to work out solutions, that suit their local conditions, contexts and cultures,he further added.

The mimister congratulated the India Water Partnership, GWP-South Asia and WAPCOS Ltd. for bringing a diverse group for highlighting the efforts and challenges,faced by South Asian women to build their resilience, and call on all partners to empower women, and harness their strengths to play a major role in water resource management.

The other speakers included Mr. G. Mohan Kumar, Special Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. R.K. Gupta, President, India Water Partnership, Mr.SomNathPoudel, Officiating Chair, Nepal Water Partnership, Ms.Kusum Athukorala, Chair Sri Lanka Water Partnership, Mr. Lam Dorji, Chair, Bhutan Water Partnership, Dr. K. AzharulHaq, Vice-President, Bangladesh Water Partnership and Dr.VeenaKhanduri, Executive Secretary, India Water Partnership.

******


ST/-
(Release ID :94615)