Government urged to take effective steps for climate change policy
The government was urged on Tuesday to take effectives steps at policy level for dealing with climate change-induced challenges. The speakers expressed these view while addressing the participants of the 4th Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science Conference (CCAPS), organized by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) under the Himalayan Adaptation Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) research project here at a local hotel.
Raheela Saad, Member National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) speaking on the occasion said that policy level decision should be taken for dealing with climate change-induced challenges. She also said that efforts should be made to raise awareness among students at school level about climate change, besides raising awareness among general public.
Shafqat Kakakhel, former ambassador and Chairperson Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Board of Governors, said that Pakistan is an agriculture country and agriculture depends on irrigation water. Main sources of irrigation water are glaciers and monsoon rains, he said, adding that both sources of water are vulnerable to climate change.
Kakakhel said that political leadership needs to take tangible steps to cope with the challenges posed by climate change. Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan, member Food Security and Climate Change, Planning Commission of Pakistan, said that present government has taken different steps for dealing with the challenges of climate change and is very conscious about climate change adaptation.
Chairman PARC, Dr Yusuf Zafar said that the conference would offer open debates and scientific deliberations on important and interconnected themes regarding adaptation to climate change. Dr Muhammad Shafique, Deputy Secretary for Ministry of National Food Security and Research, said that climate change has emerged as one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. Increasing global temperatures, reduced and erratic rainfall patterns and hydro-meteorological disasters, such as floods and droughts, have increased the vulnerability of developing countries such as Pakistan.
Dr David Molden, Director General (DG) International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), highlighted that agriculture and food security in Pakistan is also highly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to higher dependence on vulnerable natural resources such as water. The Indus River is highly dependent on glacial melt water hence it is very sensitive to climate change impacts.
“Climate change is a global phenomenon with no borders and there is need to deal with its impacts collectively through innovative solutions. We need to put in efforts to inform the policymakers with scientific evidences,” he said, adding that in addition to climatic changes, some socioeconomic changes such as population growth, urbanization, and social and gender inequality are also adding to the vulnerability of the HKH communities.
Romina Khurshid Alam, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Climate Change said that climate change is no more a speculation and the people who disagree are living in a world of self-denial. She expressed concern over the uncertain and manifold impacts of climate change that have engulfed the country.
She said that Pakistan is among the world’s top seven countries highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Nearly half of the population in Pakistan is insecure with respect to food and water. Pakistan is at number 17 in the global list of the countries facing water crisis, she said.