SDC launches Climate Change Centre at UAP
Ms Stephanie Burri, Country Director of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), has formally launched the establishment of the Climate Change Centre, set up in 2014 in the precinct of the University of Agriculture, Peshawar.
The centre was set up with an urge to support farmers and other concerned in finding adaptation solutions to rising climate change in the agriculture sector. In the last two years, the centre gradually took present shape and status with several activities on ground.
Vice-Chancellor of the University Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Swati thanked the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Swiss Intercooperation for providing financial and technical support for the centre. He said agriculture was highly sensitive to the effects of climate change. “These changes are affecting crops, farming systems as well as farmers’ livelihoods.
Farmers need proper advice based on sound research on how to deal with the impact of climate change on crops. Therefore, the University has established the Centre to deal with these challenges”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Stephanie Burri praised the University and Centre’s effort for achieving meaningful progress within a short period of time and exploring meaningful solutions for poor farmers. She said the Centre has immense potential for regional linkages to support and learn from other countries.
She also indicated strong potential for Pak-Swiss linkages among universities to acquire further competence in the field of climate change adaptation.
The Director of the Climate Change Centre Dr Jawad Ali said that supported by the SDC funded Livelihoods Programme Hindukush of Swiss Intercooperation, the Centre within a short period has conducted highly needed research. The studies conducted so far include tolerance to heat and water stress in a number Wheat and Maize varieties, climate change and its impact on farming systems based on farmers’ knowledge and climate scenario for the next few decades for several districts.
He further said that the Centre is supporting several PhD studies on climate change to train young scientists on climate change issues. And that the Centre has established vital linkages with national and international research institutions.
Dr Arjumand Nizami, Country Director Swiss Intercooperation said that the purpose of the establishment of the Climate Change Centre is to fill an institutional gap within public sector to address climate change adaptation in a systematic manner. However this is just a start and the Center needs to acquire further competences in order to support farmers, private sector and policy makers taking decisions related to investment in adaptation to climate change in the agriculture sector.
Professor Dr Muhammad Afzal, Professor Dr Muhammad Akmal, Professor Dr Jamal Khan, Professor Dr Inam and Syed Nadeem Bukhari also spoke on the efforts of the center.
These experts emphasised that within Pakistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to fragile ecologies in diverse agro-ecological landscape. This challenge is further aggravated by the fact that the poverty is also widespread in the province.Changes in temperatures and uncertain hydrological patterns are expected to affect food security and access to water.