High Level Parliamentarians/Legislators Dialogue on Water Policy for the Indian Himalayan Region held on 25th September 2019 in Bengaluru.
About a dozen MPs/State Ministers and MLAs from the different hill states of the Indian Himalayan Region participated at the High Panel Parliamentarians/Legislators Dialogue on Water Policy for the Indian Himalayan Region held on 25th September 2019 at the ongoing Water Future Conference: Towards a Sustainable Water Future, Bengaluru. It was organized by Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) and supported by Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP)
The high level roundtable conference was attended by MPs, MLAs and representatives from Uttarakhand, Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and members of IMI, World Bank, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, United Nations University (UNU) and officials from national and international institutes of excellence including Future Earth and Global Water Futures.
The members raised several critical areas of concern with regard to water source, water quality, management, increasing water scarcity and rapid decline in freshwater biodiversity. Two critical areas of melting of glaciers and reviving springs were discussed at length as is the impact of tourism sector in increasing water stress in the region.
Member of Parliament from Tura and member, Parliamentary Standing Committee for Water Resources, Ms Agatha Sangma highlighted the rising conflicts due to scarcity of water in many rainfed areas. She urged for reduction in ecological footprints and for polluting companies to take responsibility of the mess they have created.
The discussion highlighted the need for a comprehensive water policy for the states of the Indian Himalayan Region and explored areas of strengthening research, action and policy directions. Acknowledging the need for a sustained, integrated effort to addressing key water issues of the region, a proposal was made to establish a Mountain Solutions Programme which will include a Water Solutions Lab for the region.
The meeting concluded with the chair, Mr PD Rai, former MP (Sikkim), emphasizing the need for more interactive platforms between the scientific community, policymakers and communities to arrive at better solutions in building towards a water secure future.
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