UNESCO and SAWCRI Encourages Community Participation and Training for Better Watershed Management

Islamabad 1-2 May 2018: A two-day international workshop on "Collective Community Action for Eco-Watershed Mitigation to Floods and Drought" was jointly organized by UNESCO and Soil and Water Conservation Research Institute (SAWCRI), in Islamabad. The workshop was part of UNESCO's "Strategic Strengthening of Flood Warning and Management Capacity of Pakistan - Phase II" Project, which was launched in March 2015 in cooperation with the Government of Japan.

The workshop was attended by scientists, academicians, policy makers, and relevant Government of Pakistan officials, and experts from Japan, Indonesia, and Portugal.

The event was opened by H.E. Mr. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Pakistan. In his remarks, he commended UNESCO's role in strengthening flood early warning capacity of Pakistan, and also appreciated technical advancement made by all the partner agencies.

Key deliberations took place in two groups to discuss 'interactive knowledge sharing and expectations from the participants' and 'interactive co-design of collective community learning facilities'. The discussions were around the following areas;

- Knowledge sharing on IWMR experience in Europe
- IWRM needed to mitigate climate change impact and shift from rural to urban areas
- Role of integrative approach including all stakeholders for Green Urban Ecology and Green Urban Infrastructure development

Participants worked in three groups to design flood and drought resilient school plans/facilities (structural and non-structural requirements) with relevant organizations, professionals and farmers using nature based solution to combat the drought and flood. The discussion was on GROUP A: Risk and preparation needed for schools in area susceptible to be affected by flood through timeline, GROUP B: Roles of different stakeholders to establish school-centered community disaster risk reduction and GROUP C: How games like Ecofunopoly can be customized for Pakistan and utilized for community awareness raising.

The participants of the workshop learned about different aspects of flood and drought management in particular;

- How to read flood hazard map, and to take appropriate actions on it according to different scenarios.
- Scenario based planning for schools in disaster prone area.
- Participatory approach for school-centered community disaster risk reduction techniques.

 Press clipping: Dawn