Efforts being made to overcome risks posed by climate change
ISLAMABAD: The Secretary of the federal climate change ministry, Arif Ahmed Khan, stressed on the need for global efforts to boost climate resilience of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
He was speaking at World Water Week (WWW), organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) held each year in the Swedish capital since 1991. This year’s theme was ‘Water for Development’.
In order to understand the impact of climate change on the WASH sector, he said, it was important to analyse the risks and conduct an economic analysis of the costs and benefits of adaptation options.
He said that climate change was one of the gravest unfolding challenges of today. It poses “a risk to our existence, sustainability of livelihoods and socio-economic sectors, particularly agriculture, water and health”.
About the effects of climate change on water, Mr Khan said the global water cycle was being directly affected by climate change. He said water scarcity would go from bad to worse. This underlined the need for water harvesting, conservation and judicious application at all levels.
“Despite facing floods continuously since 2010, we are proud to say that Pakistan is among the 95 countries of the world, which have achieved the sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG),” he said. “Now, 64 per cent of the country’s population has access to sanitation compared to 24 per cent in 1990.”
He added that Unicef had placed Pakistan among the 77 countries which had met their drinking water and the sanitation MDG targets. Mr Khan said that a number of policy measures had been taken by the ministry to boost the country’s resilience in various socio-economic sectors, including the WASH sector.
These include implementation of the national climate change policy (NCCP) in collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure that climate change mainstreamed in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to set the country on the path of climate resilient and low-carbon development.
He welcomed the launch of a strategic framework launched on the sidelines of the global water conference and expressed the hope it would be a guiding roadmap on how the WASH sector could be made to adapt effectively to the climate change challenges at the global level.