Up to the task? Provinces found wanting on climate change policy
The provinces have notified, after much delay owing to their own shortcomings, the respective implementation committees to go ahead with the national climate change policy.
In the first meeting of the policy’s implementation committee, held on April 23 and attended by various ministries, provincial representatives, climate change experts and development partners, several decisions were taken to implement the country’s first-ever climate change policy, approved in 2012.
The policy was formulated by the Ministry of Climate Change, and was given the go-ahead by all the provinces, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Provinces also nominated focal persons to deal with climate change issues in their respective jurisdictions. The federal units also announced the establishment of climate change units in their respective planning and development departments.
At the meeting, the implementation committee decided that provinces would nominate climate change focal persons for future correspondence. The implementation committee was also notified of reporting actions taken in priority areas. It was also decided that provinces, relevant ministries and divisions would submit short, medium and long-terms plans for climate change.
The ministry’s forest wing and provincial forest departments also presented the ‘nationally appropriate mitigation actions’, as per the implementation committee’s directions.
Though all these measures have now been taken; they were not done so as per the schedules given to the provinces. As per the schedule, the provinces and line ministries were to notify their implementation committees within two weeks; whereas they took close to four months to make the notifications.
Moreover, in the beginning of May, the provincial governments were to submit their project concepts notes related to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund (GCF). However the climate change ministry was unable to receive an encouraging response from the provinces regarding the submission of proposals for GCF grants.
It may be noted that the GCF works within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world in order to assist in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
Officials have said that one of the reasons for the delay in submitting the proposals was a lack of capacity of the provincial environmental departments to outline projects. According to an official, the ministry received more than 60 proposals by the provinces, of which 50 submitted projects were rejected for not fulfilling GCF criteria.
An official in the ministry told The Express Tribune that the provinces do not have the capacity or expertise, and that the ministry was also lacking in technical know-how regarding GCF criteria to support provincial departments.
The official also said only one $33 million project for glacial lake outburst floods had been submitted to the GCF board. Two more projects were planned for submission by the end of July, but no new project could be finalised for the GCF board thus far.