At the event at the UN headquarters in New York, more than 250 members of parliament, speakers, advisers, and related officials from 60 countries are taking part.

Speaking at the annual UN Parliamentary Hearing, Pakistani parliamentarians called for increased international cooperation to address the growing water crisis.

They noted that the effects of climate change on water availability were becoming more pronounced, causing water scarcity in some areas and flooding in others.

The hearing, organised jointly by the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and titled “Water for People and Planet: Stop the waste, change the game, invest in the future,” began on Monday.

According to UN representatives, the hearing will offer a parliamentary contribution to the UN Water Conference, which will take place in New York from March 22–24, 2023.

The delegation from Pakistan’s parliament is being led by Zahid Akram Durrani, who also serves as the National Assembly’s deputy speaker. Other members of the delegation include Senators Sana Jamali, Naseema Ehsan, Farooq Hamid Naek, Muhammad Abdul Qadir, and Faisal Saleem Rahman, as well as Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi.

At the event at the UN headquarters in New York, more than 250 members of parliament, speakers, advisers, and related officials from 60 countries are taking part.

The Pakistani delegate, Deputy Speaker Durrani, stated during the hearing that inadequate investments in water and sanitation infrastructure as well as a lack of transboundary water cooperation were to blame for the water scarcity brought on by climate change.

While globally water stress levels remained safe at 18.6% in 2019, South Asia recorded high levels of water stress at over 75%, according to Durrani, the urgency of these challenges varied across regions.

Considering that Pakistan is one of the ten most water-scarce nations in the world, he said, the need for improved water cooperation has become more urgent in recent years as a result of climate change’s growing impact on water availability, which causes water scarcity in some areas and flooding in others.

Without a doubt, the management of risks associated with famine, disease epidemics, migration, inequalities within and between countries, political instability, and natural disasters will increasingly depend on water, according to the Pakistani delegate.

“Finance, technology transfer, and improved international cooperation are three essential requirements in our view to overcome these challenges,” Durrani continued. On the sidelines of the hearing, Durrani also spoke with Csaba Korosi, President of the UN General Assembly.

Senator Sana Jamali called for providing financial resources and technology transfers to developing countries to ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Senator Abdulkam Qadir said that water and climate change are inextricably linked.

In this regard, he emphasised the necessity of stepping up investments to effectively adapt energy production, flood protection, water storage, and irrigation schemes, as well as water supply and sanitation services, in advance of climate impacts.

Senator Qadir called for prioritizing nature-based adaptation, utilizing innovative technologies to prepare communities, water and agriculture service providers, and governments for extreme events, mobilizing financing for water resource management, adopting climate-smart agriculture, and exploring, protecting, and sustainably using groundwater to meet the needs of a growing population.

According to Senator Qadir, all of these actions necessitated that the nations develop resilience to climate change and growing water crisis. He asserted that in order to implement those measures, developing countries urgently require financial support, technology transfer, and improved international cooperation.

As a result, Senator Qadir urged the realization of long-standing commitments, including the mobilization of $100 billion in yearly climate finance by developed nations.

Furthermore, he added, “by 2025, developed countries must collectively double the amount of climate finance they provide to developing countries for adaptation from 2019 levels.”