Monday, 23 May, 2022

‘There’s still scope for cooperation on Teesta water allocation’

Experts at a conference on water said there is still opportunity for cooperation on Teesta River water allocation and it cannot be resulted in a zero-sum game.

They said this while delivering speech on the last day of the virtual 7th International Water Conference titled ‘Teesta River Basin: Overcoming the Challenges’ organised by ActionAid Bangladesh.

International affairs expert Dr Imtiaz Ahmed said it is time to come out from engineering perspective in river water governance. 

“The solution should come keeping in mind the human and nature-based perspective,” said Dr Imtiaz, also Professor of Department of International Relations of Dhaka University.

Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said people live with river, but they were not included in river related discourse.

The idea for establishing a Water Museum in Kalapara, Patuakhali came from the inclusion of community people in the discourse and the first-ever community-based Water Museum in South Asia was established in 2014 by ActionAid Bangladesh, she said.

The Water Museum now become a hub for idea generation, voice of river-based grassroots people, educational platform, and networking with global water museums, she added. 

Dr Eriberto Eulisse, executive director of the Global Network of Water Museums, said Teesta River is a symbol of changes like other rivers. Cooperation and good practices are needed to resolve any kind of water related resources dispute.

Former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said it is needed to be more interaction between the international stakeholders, people and the political leaders. Narratives also should be different considering the climate change.

Dr Shashwata Bhattacharjee, head, Bangla Department Kaunia College, said if the river dies, the community people life centered on the river also dies. If that community people life is detached from the river-centered livelihood , then the thousand-year-old cherished culture is also ruined.

Ajaya Dixit, advisor, ISET-Nepal ; Dr Sara Ahmed, adjunct professor, Centre for Water Research, IISER-Pune (Indian Institute for Science Education and Research), founder-director, Living Waters Museum, Shamim Arfeen, executive director, AOSED, took part in the conference.