Pakistan’s first national water policy – historic or mere electioneering?

In April, the chief ministers of Pakistan’s four provinces approved the country’s first national water policy – after over a decade of wrangling and consultations. With a large and growing population, and some of the least amount of water per person in the world, Pakistan already faced huge challenges – made worse by climate change, population growth, climate change, abysmal mismanagement of water and disputes between provinces and with neighbouring countries. The lack of a national policy made tackling these issues that much harder.

At this historic moment, we asked an environmental lawyer, a development leader, a water expert and a political economist to go through the long awaited National Water Policy and decode what’s written in the fine print and more significantly, what has been left out. But instead of disentangling it for us, we got mixed signals.

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