The discussion will coincide with the All Cohorts Meeting (ACM) of its Fellows Network, which is a unique international network of professionals working in all areas of sustainable development.
LEAD Pakistan's objective is of threefold:
- Understand key issues in the realm of Water, Energy and Food nexus
-Layout a plan for the next 30 years to achieve our vision of Pakistan 2047
- Reinforce our roles and responsibilities in the Resilience Challenge.
Mr. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Director Asia, Climate Knowledge and Development Network (CDKN) & CEO, LEAD Pakistan, will begin the event by setting the context. Participants will then breakout into three groups: Water, Energy and Food Security to discuss issues within their groups, and the linkages amongst all three areas. Group discussions will be led and facilitated by experts in the field:
- Water Group — Expert: Dr. Khalid Mohtadullah
- Energy Group — Expert: Dr. Saeed Shafqat
- Food Security Group — Expert: Dr. Kauser Abdullah
These ideas will be further strengthened during "Future's Walk" — a tour of key slides around the walls reflecting various scenarios of the future.
After tea, participants will regroup and develop key milestones that need to be achieved over the 30 years to accomplish our vision of Pakistan 2047. The planning will encompass both sectoral and geographical development goals. This will be followed by preparatory discussion to understand and commit to our roles and responsibilities in helping Pakistan overcome the resilience challenge. The final session of the day will include recommendations by experts and reinforce the urgency of the issues at hand.
The importance of planning is understood in entirety when the goal is insight. Its imperativeness is realized when the current course and its ending point is identified. What makes planning important and difficult is the vision and expertise that are needed to foresee what 'should be' and what 'will be'.
Planning for the Year 2047, which will mark 100 years of Pakistan's existence on the world map, is something that needs to be urgently looked into now. Even though 33 years remain for Pakistan to reach this milestone, it is crucial for policy makers to understand where they are headed and where they want to be in 33 years. All this requires planning and bringing reality knocking on the doorstep of the seemingly calm and content policy makers.
Water, Energy and Food can be categorized as the building blocks of life in a socio-economic paradigm. Water and food are linked closely together; water is the most important element for growing crops. Energy is linked to both food and availability of water and is needed to carry out farming. This nexus implies that there is a need of joint planning of water, food and energy to ensure food security and to also manage the sectoral-mix of the economy. For agrarian economies like Pakistan's, this notion becomes ever so important and emphasizes the need for planning.
Shortage of water is one of the biggest problems that Pakistan will face in the decades to come. The current per capita availability of water is 1,000 cubic metres as compared to 5,600 at the time of creation of Pakistan. A growing population and depleting water resources lead us to the conclusion that Pakistan will face a severe water shortage in the times to come.
Some of the fundamental challenges regarding water security include:
- What is the measure for 'severe water shortage'?
- At the current rate, how much time do we have left till we start experiencing severe water shortages?
- What needs to happen in order to change our current trajectory?
Malnutrition and stunted growth among children are the key indicators of food security in the country. Food shortages may be due to lack of availability and/or lack of accessibility of food to the general population. The lack of access to food may also involve the inability of the households to buy food due to low income. This is linked to the shortage of food supply, which leads to an increase in prices of essential food commodities and reduces the purchasing power of low-income households as well. Similar questions arise for tackling food security in Pakistan:
- Do the indicators of malnutrition suggest that we are going in the right direction?
- Where do we see ourselves in the next 3 decades?
- What steps are needed to ensure that we change our direction to a more favourable one?
Energy requirements are an important part of this nexus that add to the complexity of the problems faced by Pakistan. With the growing population, expanding cities and industries, Pakistan needs to have the right energy mix to meet and sustain its energy needs. This leads to important questions like:
- If we continue with the current choice of energy generation, will we have enough energy to meet our future needs?
- How can implementing renewable energy lead to a change in the outcomes in terms of water and food security?
- What policies are needed to ensure that we can meet our energy needs and at the same time tackle the related issues of water and food?