HomeLatest NewsWater scarcity leads to conflicts, Pakistan warns at UNSC

Water scarcity leads to conflicts, Pakistan warns at UNSC

Pakistan ready to listen to India's concerns on Indus Waters Treaty

UNITED NATIONS: In a UN Security Council debate on climate and water scarcity, Pakistan has once again emphasised the need for strict adherence to the Indus Water Treaty.

“Increasing water demand, coupled with climate change impacts, creates the potential for trans-boundary water disputes in several parts of the world,” warned Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram while addressing the council.

“Pakistan attaches high priority to the strict implementation of the Indus Water Treaty and aims to reinvigorate the Indus River basin,” he said.

The Indus Water Treaty is a 1960 water-sharing agreement between Pakistan and India, facilitated by the World Bank. It allocates the waters of the Indus River system between the two countries.

Ambassador Akram pointed out that the Indus basin was the largest contiguous irrigation system globally, providing food security to over 225 million people. To reinvigorate this water body, Pakistan has launched the multi-dimensional Living Indus project.

Talking about melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern territories, he stated that those were the largest store of water, apart from the Northern and Southern ice caps.

“Extreme temperatures are melting these glaciers at an alarming rate, and this, together with heavier monsoons, leads to massive floods, like the epic floods which devastated Pakistan in 2022, causing damage over $30 billion,” he warned.

Conflicts on the rise

Ambassador Akram then warned the international community that scarcity and climate-induced disasters could lead to inter-state and intra-state conflicts.

The UNSC is currently holding a high-level debate on the impact of climate and food insecurity on the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Pakistani envoy urged the UNSC to play a more significant role by officially endorsing pledges made on climate change and sustainable development, converting them into obligatory commitments for member nations.

Ambassador Akram also emphasised the rising disputes over water at various levels, exploitation of agricultural and animal pastures by terrorist groups, and the increasing friction between neighbouring coastal countries over fisheries and fishing rights.

Emphasising the interconnectedness of climate change and conflicts, the ambassador noted that “climate change and food insecurity are enlarging and exacerbating inter-state and intra-state conflicts”.

He warned that disputes over water — at the state, sub-national, and local-community levels – were rising, and competing claims to agricultural and animal pastures were being exploited by terrorist groups and criminal gangs.

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