Climate sensitivity: all talk, no action
ISLAMABAD: The environment paints a worrying situation as the government makes no mention of any concrete programmes initiated by the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and its attached departments during 2015-16.
The survey highlights the country’s vulnerability to climate change-induced disasters, but it does not offer information on any serious steps taken by MoCC towards addressing these vulnerabilities.
The survey also shows that the ministry still lacks capacity to hammer out plans which are necessary for enhancing climate change resilience.
The paragraphs have been rephrased with the same inputs reported in last year’s economic survey, such as references to projects and programmes to support goals including capacity building , provision of clean drinking water, environmental management, biodiversity, air pollution control, watershed management, urban development, tourism promotion, restoration of lakes and water bodies, environmental awareness, waste management, and wetland management.
The country also still faces desertification and land degradation problems, despite the initiation of the Sustainable Land Management umbrella project.
The second phase of the SLM project is being implemented in 14 districts against an approved cost of Rs1.67 billion.
The survey shows that during the outgoing fiscal year, the government signed the Paris Agreement, established the climate change council and climate change authority — both of which are actually still at proposal level — and the climate change fund and task force on climate change, besides initiating a technology need assessment (CTCN).
To overcome air pollution, the government introduced bus-based mass transit systems in Lahore, Islamabad and Multan. According to the survey, rapid urbanisation, increased industrial activity, and the agriculture sector’s dependence on dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilisers have led to water pollution.
The survey said that around 40 per cent of diseases reported in Pakistan can be attributed to poor water quality, further illustrated by the fact that 250,000 Pakistani children die every year from diarrhoea alone.
One positive was that the country initiated afforestation and tree planting campaigns, revised the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan, signed the Nagoya Protocol, and initiated a programme for Comprehensive Reduction and Elimination of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Pakistan (POPs). A technology needs assessment committee was also set up, while the targets set for FY 2015-16 are largely the same as in previous years.