Action plan to meet water-related challenges in OIC countries approved
The first meeting of OIC Water Council has approved the plan of action to address the water-related challenges in its member states.
The OIC Water Council approved a comprehensive plan of action for the implementation of activities under the OIC Water Vision.
The implementation plan calls for establishing a network of centers of excellence working in the water sector in the OIC countries to carry out necessary collaborative research activities, according to the OIC.
The meeting also called upon donor agencies, including IDB, to intensify their efforts for strengthening the research and technical capabilities of the member states for formulating necessary water policies as well as carrying out water infrastructure projects.
Ministers from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Uganda, Iran, Iraq and Turkey participated in the meeting held on November 15-16, and high officials from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Guinea, and Tunisia as well as OIC institutions IDB, ISESCO, SESRIC and COMSTECH, and other organizations namely the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) and Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM) attended the first meeting of OIC Water Council.
The meeting was held in pursuance of the decision of the 3rd Session of the Islamic Conference of Ministers responsible for Water (ICMW) held in Istanbul on May 15-16, which established the OIC Water Council with the mandate to formulate a plan of action for the implementation of OIC Water Vision.UNB
OIC Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan, in his opening remarks, highlighted the challenges posed by growing water scarcity for the sustainability, health and prosperity of the OIC member states.
He emphasised the need for increasing intra-OIC collaboration to help the OIC countries in finding solutions to the water-related challenges.
Naeem Khan assured that the OIC General Secretariat and relevant OIC institutions remain committed to working with the member states and all stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the OIC Water Vision.
Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said Bangladesh faces unique environmental challenges – abundance in water during monsoon and its scarcity during dry season.
He underlined that Bangladesh’s vulnerability is further increased by the fact that 92 percent of its surface waters originate from outside of its border, and stressed the need for integrated trans-boundary water management.
The minister presented a brief account of measures taken by the government in ensuring water security and other water related challenges in Bangladesh, particularly in the context of the country’s continued robust economic performance.
He also highlighted the critical role being played by Bangladesh at global level, with references to membership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) and Bangladesh’s chairmanship at the Delta Coalition.
Mahmud proposed a four-point formula to yield effective and fruitful collaborations among the OIC countries in the water sector, according to a message UNB received from Istanbul on Friday.
These include setting up a river basin organisation for development and management of water resources in a particular river basin region; enhancing contribution to the climate change adaptation fund for the most vulnerable OIC countries; technology transfer among the OIC nations and strengthening capacity of this particular Organisation.