ISLAMABAD:Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Friday chaired the first meeting of the Steering Committee of the Living Indus Initiative at the Ministry of Climate Change.“The Living Indus Initiative is an ambitious project that has the full support of the Federal Cabinet, and we look forward to working together with all the relevant stakeholders to fulfill this dream of ours through this Steering Committee. The Committee will guide this Initiative to recharge this lifeline of Pakistan, the Indus River, which is responsible for the livelihoods of 80% the Pakistani population,” said Minister Rehman in a news release here received.
Senator Sherry Rehman was joined by Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Minister for Industries & Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Sindh Environment, Climate Change and Coastal Development Minister Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, UN Resident Coordinator Julien Harneis, FAO Representative in Pakistan Florence Rolle, secretaries from the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, and officials from the Environment Ministries of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
The purpose of the Steering Committee is to set guidelines from all the stakeholders and formulate the way forward. The Committee discussed next steps on how financing can be unlocked for the projects under the Initiative, building teams to monitor and support implementation, and exploring communication strategies for advocacy of the Living Indus Initiative, highlighting the story of the Indus River, and urgency of this Initiative. It was also discussed how the stakeholders can share feedback by proposing additional and improving existing interventions.
Minister Rehman thanked the members for joining and said, “80% of Pakistan’s agriculture and more than three quarter of our economy resides near the Indus and Pakistan’s history, topography and culture is defined by this River. It has been sustaining life for 5000 years – but will it sustain life for the next 100 years? This is now our responsibility to work together and across the federal, provincial, and local levels to rejuvenate the Indus River, because we don’t have the luxury to wait.”
The Living Indus Initiative was launched in September 2022 with its Secretariat at the Ministry of Climate Change. It is an umbrella initiative and a call for action to lead and consolidate initiatives to restore the ecological health of the Indus within the boundaries of Pakistan.
It has a ‘living menu’ of 25 interventions, which are in line with global best practices with a focus on green infrastructure. nature-based solutions, flood-risk management, and ecosystem-based adaptation approaches to protect, conserve and restore natural, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. The initiative is being undertaken in partnership with the United Nations and FAO.