Managing Monsoon in Pakistan’s Cities

The Consortium for Development Policy Research held a session of Lahore Policy Exchange on “Managing Monsoon in Pakistan’s Cities” on Friday, 4th October from 3:30pm to 5:00pm at 19-A FCC Scheme Maratab Ali Road, Gulberg IV, Lahore. As the years march on, it is becoming increasingly clear that the cities of Pakistan cannot meet the service delivery needs of its citizens. Whether it is housing, waste management, sanitation, or transportation, our cities have been unable to provide the necessary environment for healthy living and economic growth. The situation is exacerbated at the time of monsoon when life in cities such as Lahore, and most recently in Karachi as well, came to a virtual standstill because of flooded streets and overburdened drainage systems. In addition to affecting the daily livelihood of people, many people die as a result of drowning, electrocution, and spread of viral illnesses as well. What is important now is for us to have an open and frank discussion on why we are where we are and what we need to do in the future. Moreover, with the effects of climate change becoming increasingly apparent, it is crucial that we develop systems that are effective, as well as resilient. The discussion highlighted the various ways to improve the overall management of this recurring issue. The following panelists were invited : Mr. Ahmed Rafay Alam, Environmental Lawyer and Activist, moderated the session and provided regulatory and legal insight into the issue. Dr. Fozia Parveen, Post-doctoral Fellow and Adjunct Faculty at LUMS, gave her expert views for preventative measures in preparing cities’ infrastructure against monsoon. Mr. Zahid Aziz, Managing Director at the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), discussed the efforts the government is making to mitigate the impact of monsoon in Punjab’s cities and the constraints the government is operating under.