6th Karachi International Water Conference spread over two days, organized by Hisaar Foundation in association and collaboration with Infra Zamin and other partners opened successfully here, earlier today. Attended by a large number of people from different walks of life, it proved to be a significant forum addressing critical issues surrounding water crises and climate discourse. With fifteen insightful sessions, the conference facilitated enriching discussions, detailed presentations, and engaging dialogues with a diverse lineup of speakers and panelists from both Pakistan and the international community.
What’s more, the occasion also marked the launch of Undertow a book of selected photographs by Maazim Kamil with some eye-catching photographs from the book exhibited in an attractive display.
The conference commenced with an opening address by Simi Kamal, chairperson Hisaar Foundation. This was followed by an Opening Plenary: Water Matters in Climate Change, an impactful parliamentary-style debate spearheaded by Simi Kamal and framed by a keynote address from Dr Adil Najam, featuring renowned personalities including Dr Igna Mata Jacob.
Framing the Water and Climate Change Discourse was led by Dr Adil Najam, President WWF International and Dean Emeritus, Boston University.
After a tea break the second session opened by addressing the intersection of water and finance, delving into “Why Water Matters for Finance: Investing in the Water Economy.” Keynote speakers, including Boo Hock Khoo and a panel comprising Emilio Cattaneo, Maheen Rahman, Amir Shehzad, Kazim Saeed, Francois Onimus, and Adnan Asdar, emphasized the importance of investing in Pakistan’s water economy.
Post-lunch, in the third session, three discussions took place simultaneously in three different rooms. “For Whom Does Water Matter: Justice Denied,” shed light on establishing water justice in an environment with skewed land rights. Chaired by Rabiya Javeri Agha, with a keynote presentation by Dr Barbara Schreiner, the session’s panelists included Muhammad Arfan, Rabel Akhund, Nazeer Ahmed Memon Essani, Shahab Usto and Fiza Qureshi. The session on “Water Matters in Health & Nutrition: Links that are not Obvious” explored the hidden links between water quality and human health. Keynote speakers Dr Ghazala Mansuri and Dr Kulsum Ahmed were joined by panelists Dr Zulfiqar Umrani, Sheikh Ali Hussain, and Dr Huma Baqai. The third emphasized nature-based solutions in “Watershed Management Matters: Nature Based Solutions from Source to Sea” featuring panelists from ICIMOD, IWMI, Hisaar Foundation, and PHWI, moderated by Afia Salam & Dr Humaira Jahanzeb.
The closing sessions for the day included “Women Matter in Water: Examples of Action” with panelists Zahra Ali, Mahnaz Rahman, Dr Lubna Ghazal, Nayab Raza, and Rana Ansar. Simultaneously, sessions took place on ‘Water Quality Matters: Circular Economy’ and on ‘Water Disasters Matter’.