Sunday March 03, 2024

International Water Conference: ‘Clean water, proper sanitation, hygiene crucial to end malnutrition’

November 29, 2023

KARACHI: The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), joined the Hisaar Foundation for the 6th Karachi International Water Conference that was held on Monday and Tuesday. The theme of the conference was ‘Bring Water Back to Climate Discourse’.

The conference focused on water-related disasters, their fundamental role in the global climate emergency, and the need for collective action to mitigate the damaging impacts of climate change. Experts and thought leaders working on water, climate, food and livelihood security came together to discuss the challenges and ways forward.

In this still, a session of the 6th Karachi International Water Conference can be seen. —Facebook/Hisaar Foundation
In this still, a session of the 6th Karachi International Water Conference can be seen. —Facebook/Hisaar Foundation

USAID’s Water Governance for Sindh Activity, implemented by the Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS), organised a panel discussion on ‘Synergising Growth: Public-Private Partnership Redefining Municipal Services’.

The session emphasised the significance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in enhancing municipal services. The discussion explored collaboration opportunities and effective models, bringing together experts from relevant sectors to exchange insights and best practices.

“There is a pressing need for comprehensive, inclusive and transparent frameworks ensuring equitable distribution, conservation and efficient management of water resources,” said Rachel Grant, USAID regional office director, while speaking at the closing ceremony.

“Clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene are crucial to eradicating malnutrition. Our collective commitment to confronting these challenges head-on is so important for the health and well-being of our children.”

She praised the collective commitment and highlighted America’s continued commitment to fostering a resilient and thriving future for the people of Pakistan, and mentioned that the outcomes would not only bolster the Pakistani government’s efforts but also contribute to the upcoming World Water Forum and discussions at COP28 in Dubai.

She said that the critical role of safe water supply, and the demand for efficient and sustainable municipal services has reached unprecedented levels. Rapid urbanisation further underscores the importance of PPPs as an alternative avenue to meet these demands, fostering collaboration between the public sector and private enterprises, she added.

She also said the USAID, in collaboration with the Sindh government, has already pioneered successful PPPs through its education management organisations model introduced through the USAID Sindh Basic Education Programme, under which modern USAID-built schools are being managed by private sector organisations contracted by the government.

This has received positive feedback from various stakeholders, and other provinces have shown keen interest in replicating the success, she added. She pointed out that effective water governance and sustainable water resource management stand at the heart of social development.

She remarked that whether it is managing clean drinking water, water distribution for agriculture and industry or operationalising systems for effective wastewater disposal, the approach to these water-related issues would shape the foundation of societal and economic development.