Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) held a workshop with organizations involved in the ‘Adapting to Salinity in the Southern Indus Basin (ASSIB)’ project to identify opportunities for collaboration in Pakistan as part of its Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CARE) for South Asia project.
ASSIB project, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), aims to develop and investigate adaptation options and strategies for people managing and living in salinity-affected agricultural landscapes in the southern Indus Basin.
The workshop, held at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, helped share information about the two projects’ methods for creating and disseminating farming best practice guidelines.
Mr. Irfan Maqbool, Director at ADPC and Project Director of CARE for South Asia , stated there is a good linkage between the two projects and there are opportunities to build off each other’s work. Mr. Maqbool mentioned that technical discussions are being organized in Pakistan through the CARE for South Asia project where it would be beneficial to build off ASSIB’s research.
‘If we are introducing best practices for farmers, then I think we can and we should influence policy through these local-level practices,’ he said. ‘On behalf of ADPC, we would be very happy to continue these discussions and work together,’ he added.
Dr. Michael Mitchell, Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University and ASSIB Project Leader, mentioned that the workshop provides a good opportunity to learn from each other’s project activities and how they complement each other in Pakistan.
‘ADPC has some strengths in how it delivers its programs through the Government agencies, whereas our project is exploring how we can potentially go beyond that to extend the development of practice guidelines with communities,’ he explained.
The workshop consisted of panel discussions on rural research theory into practice, recommended best practice adaptation options for communities in salinity-affected landscapes, sharing additional experiences and understandings on adaptive capacities, and different approaches to capacity development and training materials.
Dr. Senaka Basnayake, Director at ADPC, and Dr. Niladri Gupta, Senior Water Resources Management Specialist at ADPC, provided an overview of the CARE for South Asia project and adaptive water resource management strategies in Sindh, Pakistan.
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), suggested that all policy decisions and capacity assessments should be based on scientific-based evidence. Dr. Ashraf also mentioned that capacity-building is a continuous process that should include many stakeholders.
‘Assessments should start from farming communities to agriculture service quarter to professionals and to policy-makers,’ he proposed, adding that ‘We can take the common points from the presentations and build on our future strategies.’
Engr. Faizan Ul Hasan, Secretary of PCRWR, shared lessons from the SUN-SATELLITE model for agricultural water management in the country.
Key findings from the workshop include that all participants are seeking innovative practices and recognize the important roles that policy, science and practitioners play in their respective projects. It was suggested that there should also be more engagement and learning opportunities between researchers and farmers, collaborative approaches between fieldwork and lab work, and initiatives must be tailored to the context and needs of communities.
The workshop was organized as part of ADPC’s CARE for South Asia project supported by the World Bank.