Australia Pakistan Forum - "Pakistan's Natural Disasters -Nature's Anomalies or
the Tragedy of the Commons?"
(Exclusive Report to Sada-e-Watan by:Javed Butt Canberra)
The Australia Pakistan Forum
in collaboration with Faculty of Arts and Design University of Canberra has
organized a Public seminar on “Pakistan’s Natural Disasters –Nature’s Anomalies
or the Tragedy of the Commons?” by Professor DR. Shahbaz Khan. Professor Dr
Shahbaz Khan is currently Chief of Water and Sustainable Development Section at
UNESCO Division of Water Sciences based at Paris. His key leadership and
management areas at UNESCO include capacity building and policy advice through
coordination of programs such as Water Education for Sustainable Development,
Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy (HELP), Ecohydrology and Water and
Energy Nexus. He was previously Research Leader/Director of Irrigated Systems
and Rural Water Use at CSIRO Australia and Professor of Hydrology and Director
of International Centre of Water at the Charles Sturt University, Australia. His
academic qualification include Masters and PhD degrees in Civil and Water
Resources Engineering from the University of Birmingham, Masters in
Environmental Economic from the Imperial College London and Master of
International Environmental Law from the Macquarie University, Australia. He has
been a recipient of the major Australian and international awards including the
2007 Peter Cullen Land and Water Eureka Prize, 2007 CSIRO Medal for research
achievements, 2008 and 2009 International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage
(ICID) best paper awards and 2009 UNESCO’s team award for managing hydrohazards.
He is currently leading the UNESCO Flood Forecasting and Management Project in
Pakistan and has been the UN Expert of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Task
Force for Water Security, which has developed a water sector improvement
strategy and investment plan.
In recent years recurring hydrological extremes (floods and droughts), earthquakes, tsunamis and related geo-hazards in Pakistan are of growing concern for the global, regional and Pakistani stakeholders. A number of conspiracy theories such as the use of weather control technology, nuclear tests under oceans and politically motivated breaches of flood protection works are rife among public. This presentation has provided the necessary scientific analysis to build a rational understanding of natural disasters in Pakistan. The background provided during the presentation was aimed at understanding, predicting and managing potential impacts of land-use, population, climate change and increased frequency of related geo-hazards such as landslides on national and regional freshwater resources of Pakistan.
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