United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


ItemT u4r -n Sintqa tPemoleitnictasl aCnodm Inmteitrmacetnivt ein Dtois Acuctsisoinons:
Mr. Chairman,

Honourable Ministers, distinguished delegates,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
2. It is indeed a great opportunity for me to express my views on this
very relevant agenda of the human concern, on which our existence so
critically depends. Mr. Chairman since I am taking the floor f or the first
time, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your
election and hope that having you in chair this meeting will achieve
maximum objectives.
3. At the outset, I may clarify that Pakistan is fully committed and is
actively engaged in making arrangements and sparing no efforts to
implement the WSSD Plan of Implementation.
4. Mr. Chairman, as far as our specific situation of water is concerned,
Pakistan falls in the arid and semi-arid region where most of the area is
drought prone and heading fast to be bracketed as a water deficit region.
As fresh water is becoming a scarce commodity in relation to its demand,
the issue is gaining importance as most of the developing world is
suffering from water shortage at large scale. It is an area which has
unfortunately not attracted due attention at the national and international
5. In Pakistan water has and will remain a critical source for sustained
economic development and human sustenance. Our irrigation network is
the largest infrastructure enterprise. Irrigated agriculture provides 90% of
food and fiber requirements while "Barani" (rain fed) area contributes the
remaining 10%. The irrigated area in Pakistan has increased from 8.4 Mha
in 1947 to 18.78 Mha in year 2004 owing to construction of a large number
of irrigation networks and huge number of tube-wells. As a result, Pakistan
now owns the largest contiguous irrigated area in the world. The Indus
Basin System has 3 super dams, 19 river barrages, 12 inter-link canals,
45 vast canal commands, and over 700,000 tube wells mostly owned by
individual farmers, besides nearly 18,000 kms of drainage network to
dispose of effluent.
6. At present, Mr. Chairman, irrigation accounts for 93% of the water
currently utilized in Pakistan. The rest is used for supplies to urban and
rural populations and industry. By year 2025, the population will increase
by 50%, leading to phenomenal increase in demand for water. To optimize
the development of both surface and groundwater, and to get more crop
per drop, a realistic National Water Policy (NWP) has been prepared. This
policy is expected to contribute to food security and poverty reduction by
fostering sustainable increases in the productivity of water through optimal
supply and better management.
7. Nonetheless, the future requirements of water both for irrigation
and domestic consumption are posing daunting challenges to our
planners. The most critical of these is the uneven precipitation in the
country where flood situation in the monsoon and drought situation in
autumn and winter cause damage to agriculture and infrastructure. Nearly
81% of river flows and 65% of precipitation occur during the three
monsoon months, leaving the other nine months almost dry. The quantity
and quality of groundwater varies significantly with location. The
Government is actively planning and implementing small and medium
sized water reservoirs to meet the requirement of irrigation water.
8. Besides, decrease in per capita availability of fresh water, the
problem of water pollution is also intensifying. Management of fresh water
resources, their equitable distribution for human consumption, industry
and agriculture is being given the highest priority in the context of resource
management. The disposal of sewage, industrial waste and agro-chemical
run off continue to pose serious threat to the quality of water. The
Government is keen to promote public private partnership for waste
treatments and to deal with the disposal of sewage and solid waste, both
municipal and industrial.
9. In order to purify water from organic and inorganic chemicals, the
Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) launched
"National Water Quality Monitoring Program" in the country on 17 th March,
2001. The program aimed at undertaking water quality monitoring in 21
major cities, six rivers and 10 storage reservoirs and lakes.
10. Mindful of the fact that some people in major cities and towns are
exposed to hazards of drinking unsafe water, the Government is initiating,
large scale schemes to address the problem of unsafe drinking water. As
a response, a crash program by the title of Prime Minister's Clean Water
Program has been launched. The proposed project intends to provide
water purification system combining many different types of water filters
and ultraviolet light disinfection units into complete turn-key drinking water
system t hat p rovide a n aturally p ure a nd safe drinking water solution i n
different cities of Pakistan. The development objective of which is to
provide water purification plants of 2000 gallons/hour capacity in different
cities of Pakistan consisting of various stages including pre-filtration
works, filtration, purification and ultra-violet disinfection.

In total 501
purification plants shall be installed in the country.
11. Regarding sanitation Mr. Chairman, the situation has much
improved b ut s till n of the i deal o ne. F ive t o t en percent oft he poorest
urban households can not afford sanitation. They include residents in
temporary dwelling units where neither owners nor dwellers find it
worthwhile to install latrines.
12. Mr. Chairman the water borne diseases are assuming alarming
proportion i n developing countries, particularly i n the South Asia region.
Availability of safe drinking water of the WHO standards, in insufficient
quantity and the disposal of domestic waste through the assured
sanitation system is the dire need of the time. Hepatitis B and C is
threatening the life and health of the people.
13. To meet the Government of Pakistan's obligation under the Dhaka
Declaration, 23rd October, 2003, ( a regional initiative ) the Ministry of
Environment will organize the 2"d South Asian Conference on Sanitation
(SACOSAN-2005) in November 2005, in Islamabad. The objectives of the
Conference are (i) to review SACOSAN-2003 decisions, (ii) to increase
outreach of sanitation agenda, (iii) to facilitate development of countryspecific
as well as regional frameworks for sanitation, (iv) to share
experiences and lessons learnt at the regional level in implementing the
Dhaka Declaration, (v) to reiterate political commitment at all level in each
country to facilitate sanitation agenda in the region, and (vi)
develop/review planning framework to achieving the Millennium
Development Goal's targets in each country.
14. SACOSAN - 2005 is likely to be attended by more than 400
national and international delegates, including state dignitaries from the
South Asian Countries and representatives of various national and
international organizations.
15. The process of urbanization has taxed the already inadequate civic
amenities and services to a considerable extent. The inadequate shelter to
the urban poor continues to be one of Pakistan's most immediate and
pressing problems as it is estimated that people living in informal squatter
settlements or katchi abadis, range from 35-40% of the total urban
population. The Government is fully aware of the problems associated
with rapid urbanization and has adopted various long and short term policy
measures and development programmes to cope with housing and human
settlement problems. The Government has formulated a set of National
Policy guidelines on Katchi Abadis (squatter settlements) Urban Renewal
and Slums Up-gradation, on the recognition that katchi abadis are an
integral part of the urban fabric. In keeping with these objectives the
Government has initiated concrete steps for the provision of affordable
housing to the poor in order to avoid the emergence of new slums and
katchi abadis. The key focus of the policy is towards upgrading katchi
abadis at their existing locations as well as grant of ownership rights,
besides voluntary resettlement of residents of those katchi abadis the land
of which is needed for operational purposes. For this purpose resettlement
plans are being finalized in consultation with the communities
16. Having said all this, Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw your
attention to our commitment in addressing the critical environment issues.
While living within our own resources it is very difficult for us to effectively
implement and comply with the obligations of the multilateral
environmental agreements already ratified by the Government of Pakistan.
Implementation of all these initiatives would require generous technical
and financial assistance. I look forward to the generous support of the
international community to enable us achieve the sustainable
development objectives and commitment made by Pakistan towards the
environmental conservation and management. More important Mr.
Chairman, in this context is the capacity building of our institutions,
organizations and individuals, for which we depend to large extent on the
assistance of developed countries and the international organizations.