Call for steps to cope with climate change impact
THATTA: Speakers at a workshop held here on Thursday laid stress on building capacity of government officials and educating them as to how they could integrate climate change adaptation measures, initiatives and guidelines into official plans and budgetary considerations.
The workshop on “Mainstreaming climate adaptation into development planning at district level” was organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Pakistan, (WWF-Pakistan) under its project for Building Capacity on Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Areas of Pakistan (CCAP) here at Makli on Thursday.
Farrukh Zaman, policy officer for CCAP project, highlighted lack of funding and said that as the intensity and frequency of climate change impact had increased, adaptation to it had become an imperative step for the government to ensure national development.
Khuda Bux Behrani, district officer of the social welfare department, said that lack of awareness and weak regulatory and policy frameworks were major barriers to incorporating climate adaptation into development planning.
The climate adaptation was increasingly becoming part of national development plans, budgets and policies in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and India but Pakistan lagged behind many such countries in incorporating climate change considerations into its planning due to limited budgetary allocations for the environment sector, he added.
Tahir Abbasi, site coordinator for CCAP, stressed the need to frame adaptation as a development issue in order to ensure that climate adaptation became part of long term government plans and large flows of public funds were directed towards it as development programs were often prioritised over exclusive adaptation interventions.
Sindh University Thatta campus pro vice chancellor, Dr Sarfaraz H. Solangi, told the workshop that more than 100 square kilometres of agricultural land had been adversely affected by salinity and waterlogging in the district.
In order to mitigate such losses in future, it was important that climate adaptation measure were effectively incorporated into official development plans so that resilience to climate change in coastal areas remained intact in the long run, he said.
Two climate adaptation plans of union councils were shared with district officials during the workshop who provided their input on the plans which had already been approved by the district government and endorsed their applicability and implementation.
The organisers announced towards the end of the workshop that a similar provincial level workshop would be held in Karachi next month for the officials of provincial and federal governments.
Imtiaz Ali Bhutto, deputy director agriculture; Shafaat Ali Abro, deputy director fisheries; Dr Zahoor Memon, district health officer Thatta and others also spoke at the workshop.