Int'l webinar on water and sustainable economic development held

KATHMANDU: United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Japan and the School of Engineering, Pokhara University, Nepal jointly organised an International Webinar on ‘Water and Sustainable Economic Development - Findings and Lessons from Case Studies in Asia’ on Friday.

More than 100 participants from various academic institutions, government and non-government agencies of different countries participated in the webinar.

The webinar discussed water challenges and policy-relevant tools for sustainable development in Asia. Case studies on Kaski, Nepal and Bali, Indonesia were also presented. The webinar consisted of opening remarks, technical presentations, Q&A and Panelist’s comment sessions.

Beginning with the introduction of ‘Water for Sustainable Development Project’, Dr Kensuke Fukushi, Academic Programme Officer at UNU-IAS and Professor at the University of Tokyo, remarked the role of water for development and prosperity.

Prof Dr Hari Krishna Shrestha (Principal, Nepal Engineering College, Pokhara University), with a case study of Hewa river basin in Eastern Nepal, emphasised out on need of capacity development and involvement of local government in addressing the problems of inadequate data for effective water resources analysis. He also pointed out on the development of portable data and sharing portals.

Likewise, Koful Shreshta, Senior Divisional Engineer at Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development, Lumbini Province made technical presentations on ‘Water and Economic Development in Nepal’;  Dr Rajib Pokhrel, Associate Professor at School of Engineering, Pokhara University, on ‘Environmental Challenges Arising from Economic Growth in Pokhara’; Dr Geetha Mohan and Dr Saroj Chapagain, Research Fellows at UNU-IAS on ‘Impacts of Economic Activities on Environmental Resources and Policy Options in Nepal’ considering Water resources perspective and Water pollution perspective respectively; and Dr I Made Sudarma, Udayana University, Indonesia, on ‘Challenges of Sustainable Water Management in Bali Province, Indonesia’.

A range of questions including water right, clean water accessibility, data adequacy, sedimentation and land use issues were raised and addressed for effective water resources management and sustainable development.

Following the question and answer session, valuable comments on different aspects of water and environment management were made by five panelists: Ambika Amatya (Lead Group Nepal, Lalitpur), Pradeep Jha (Community Development Center, Rautahat), Dr RC Lamichhane (City Planning Commission, Pokhara), Dr Binaya Raj Shivakoti (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan) and Dr Rajan Bhattarai (Water Resources Research and Development Center, Government of Nepal).

Madhav Dev Acharya, Senior Divisional Engineering Geologist at Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, Nepal, said that the webinar was very useful for the water managers and policymakers and wrapped up the webinar.

Emi Yoshinaga, Programme Coordinator at UNU-IAS Water for Sustainable Development (WSD) project, played the role of Master of Ceremony for the webinar.

Dr Binaya Kumar Mishra, Professor at School of Engineering, Pokhara University moderated the Q & A and panel discussion session.