In the federal capital, foreign diplomats, government officials, and development sector representatives gathered for the book launch of “Afghanistan-Pakistan Shared Waters: State of the Basins.” This comprehensive book addresses the management of shared water resources in transboundary river basins between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Funded by the USAID-Pakistan Mission through the Water Management for Enhanced Productivity (WMfEP) program, this publication aims to enhance productivity by improving water management practices.
Remarkably, this book emerges as the first of its kind after the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in August 2021. Its creation represents a challenging co-production journey that brought together experts from both Afghanistan and Pakistan, fostering a collaborative initiative within the shared river basins of Kabul, Kurram, and Gomal.
Dr. Azeem Ali Shah, the lead author and editor, underscores the intricacies of transboundary water management and its impact on water governance and resource management. He emphasizes that the development of hydraulic infrastructure on shared rivers can endanger downstream nations’ socio-economic well-being, resulting in trust deficits and conflicts.
To address these challenges, Dr. Shah stresses the need for nations to collaboratively develop plans and actions that promote judicious water resource development, ensuring shared benefits for all riparian countries, especially those downstream.
Dr. Mark Smith, Director General of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in managing transboundary water resources, particularly in regions where neighboring countries rely on shared rivers for their livelihoods and economic development.
He highlights that Afghanistan’s surface water resources are shared with downstream neighboring countries like Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, accounting for 90% of the country’s resources. Notably, Afghanistan and Pakistan share nine rivers, with over 43 million people residing in these basins, despite the absence of a water management agreement or cooperation.
Dr. Smith concludes that this book is the first to comprehensively cover water resources management and development in the major transboundary river basins shared between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is a testament to the hope that cooperation between these two nations remains a viable option for the future.